Third-seeded Sikeston led 39-36 towards the end of the third quarter but the No. 2 seeded Blackcats took the lead for good with a 14-2 run that spanned into the fourth quarter to pull out the win.
"I thought their experience paid off in the end," said Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield. "They have several seniors and they handled the last four minutes better than we did. I was proud of our kids though; we competed and battled but came up short. We have a lot of these kids back next year -- hopefully it'll be a different story."
Sikeston's season ends at 6-18.
Fredericktown improves to 20-7 on the season and will play Dexter for the district championship on Friday at 6 p.m.
"Sikeston's a good basketball team and they always are," said Fredericktown head coach Micah Reutzel. "Coach Holifield and I have had a lot of good battles through the years and I always enjoy competing against him because he's such a class character and his kids play so hard."
Sikeston came out of the gates on fire behind a raucous Bulldog crowd.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-2 lead to get things started.
Fredericktown was able to battle back and tie it at 13-13 heading into the second quarter.
Sikeston led 22-17 midway through the second period but the Blackcats closed the half on an 8-0 run to lead 25-22 at halftime.
"We came out very energetic and I knew we would be," said Holifield. "We played extremely hard but the emotions kind of wore off down the stretch and we played a little bit fatigued."
The Bulldogs started the third quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 28-25 but the couldn't put the Blackcats away.
After a Kash Bratcher 3-pointer gave Sikeston a 39-36 lead, the Bulldogs couldn't hit another long ball until Marcus McCaster made two in the waning moments of the game.
Sikeston was just 7-of-27 (26 percent) from downtown.
"We couldn't let them shoot a lot of 3s because that's been their forte here lately," said Reutzel. "If they were able to knock down those 3s then we would've been in trouble. I thought we did a good job of challenging those shots and taking care of the ball."
The Blackcats have come full circle after enduring a two-win campaign in 2002 in Reutzel's first year. Now the third-year coach has directed the team to 20 wins with a chance to win the district on Friday.
"We won two games my first year with many of these same kids and we won 10 last year and thought we had a chance to win a game in districts and we didn't do it," said Reutzel. "We avenged a loss to Sikeston, but the big thing was I'm just happy for those kids that we have a chance to make the finals."
It's Fredericktown's first district title appearance since 1994.
The Blackcats were led by 6-foot-3 junior D.J. Hinkle's 21 points. Hinkle only managed eight points in the first meeting against Sikeston.
"He picked his game up and he was much more aggressive this time," said Holifield. "He was really going to work. I had heard a lot of good things about him and the first time we played them he didn't get as much done. But tonight he was ready."
Senior Micah Reutzel had 16 points and 6-4 senior Steve Wienecke had 13 points.
Sikeston was led by McCaster's 20 points. Bratcher added 13 points.
Bulldog senior Freddie Wiggins had eight points and nine rebounds in his final varsity game.
Josh Bloyd is the only other graduating senior on the team.
"Freddie and Josh Bloyd both are great guys," said Holifield. "They've been great in the program and they're hard workers. I never had one minute's problem out of either one of them and they're going to be missed."
The Bulldogs return their top four scorers for next year, including two sophomores and a freshman.
Although the team didn't win as many games as he would've liked, Holifield feels there was significant improvement in his younger players.
"We made a decision early in the year that we're going to go with youth and have a rebuilding year," said Holifield. "I was proud of our players, I saw definite improvement out of several of the younger players. Our goal and objective was to compete and try to get these guys some valuable experience. That part of it worked out well for us."
After a heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame in the district finals last February, top-seeded Dexter made sure there would be no upset this time was they steamrolled the Bulldogs on their homecourt, 80-40.
Notre Dame led 2-0 and 4-2 but that was all that would go right for the Bulldogs on this night.
Dexter (20-6) jumped up to a 15-4 lead before a Jeremy Brinkmeyer basket cut the lead to 15-7.
That's when things totally unraveled for Notre Dame.
Dexter proceeded to go on a 22-0 run that lasted until the 2:37 mark of the second quarter as the Bearcats led 37-7.
Just like that, the game was over by halftime.
Dexter's full-court zone press gave Notre Dame fits the entire night.
"Not just the press, but the intensity," said Dexter head coach Eric Sitze. "Our feet were active, we were getting out in the passing lanes and really harassing them. You have to have that intensity. I thought we played with a lot of intensity tonight. We were real active all over the place. I thought we did a good job."
Dexter led 42-16 at the half and continued to extend the lead in the third quarter, out-scoring Notre Dame 28-13. Dexter led 70-29 heading into the fourth quarter on a Josh Miller 25-footer at the buzzer.
The mercy rule kept the clock running the entire fourth quarter.
Dexter got a game-high 32 points out of 6-foot-6 center Derek Demaree.
"Besides Demaree, Scott (Admire) stepped up and scored a little bit tonight but Chris (Guethle) was in foul trouble early again," said Sitze. "We made a lot of our offense of their turnovers. I think we can have a better offensive night from a few other guys. But Derek stepped up big for us tonight and hit some pretty big shots for us. And Josh (Miller) did a good job tonight getting him the basketball down there. He was pretty unselfish tonight."
Josh Miller followed up with 14 points and Scott Admire added 13 points.
Notre Dame, which has just one senior on the team, was led by Brinkmeyer's 10 points. Bryce Willen followed up with eight points.
Notre Dame finishes its season at 6-18.