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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Sikeston girls fall, 68-49

Friday, February 27, 2004

Sikeston's Allison Blurton tries to wrestle the ball away from Katie Palmer.
CAPE GIRARDEAU - For a moment in Thursday's district semifinal game against Notre Dame, it appeared the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs had what it took to slay the Class 4 giants.

But Notre Dame's two-woman wrecking crew of Sierra Ellis and Sommer McCauley proved to be too much for the Lady Bulldogs as the host school pulled away for a 68-49 victory.

Top-seeded Notre Dame advances to the Class 4, District 1 championship game where they will play Dexter at 7:45 p.m.

Sikeston's season ends at 14-13.

"Ellis and McCauley, you can't say enough about them?" said Sikeston head coach Lee Brooks. "It's hard to contain those two. But I thought they got good support from their outside shooters tonight."

Dexter's Hannah bulreson drives around Perryville's Amber Hacker.
McCauley finished with 22 points followed by Ellis' 19 points. But it was Ellis' ball-handling and ability to find teammates for wide open baskets that hurt Sikeston more than anything.

Ellis tallied seven assists in the game.

"I thought (McCauley and Ellis) played a good game," said Notre Dame head coach Jerry Grim. "Every time Sommer would catch the ball they would double or triple-team her. Sierra's job is to get the ball to who needs it."

Notre Dame came out strong and led 15-5 in the first quarter. But fourth-seeded Sikeston went on an 11-0 run to lead 16-15 on an Allison Blurton layup with 1:11 left in the first quarter.

But Notre Dame (18-8) responded with 10-0 run and they never looked back.

The Lady Bulldogs led 20-16 after one quarter and extended the lead to 31-21 at one point in the second quarter before Sikeston cut into deficit.

A Whitney McCray shot just before the halftime buzzer cut the score to 35-27.

Notre Dame was able to build a comfortable lead with a 16-10 advantage in the third quarter to lead 51-37 entering the fourth.

Sikeston got as close as 12 in the fourth quarter but couldn't get any closer.

"I have to give Notre Dame credit -- they sped the game up and got in our face and I think, as young kids will do, we started to panic a little bit," said Brooks. "We had opportunities to do what we needed to do, but we'd steal it and they'd come right back and steal it back. We missed too many easy shots and we gave them too many extra shots. We just didn't block out, period."

The Bulldogs got a big game out of Blurton, who finished with a season-high 22 points.

"She's a good player," said Grim. "She can handle the ball, she can shoot the ball and she's quick. She does a good job for them. They're a young team. Every year we've played them they've improved some. So I look for that improvement to continue."

Brooks said it wasn't just Blurton's offense, but her all-around play that he was impressed with.

"If everybody did what Allison does every night, we wouldn't be standing here talking about the end of the season," said Brooks. "She just played a total game. To me, she was the star of the tournament."

Following Blurton was sophomore Paige Silverthorn's 12 points. McCray added eight points.

Blurton, Silverthorn and McCray, all sophomores, combined for 42 of the team's 49 points.

"These are sophomore kids that have never done this before," said Brooks. "They've never been to this level. I told them in the dressing room that I'm so excited about being back here next year. Going in, I would've been happy with five games. But once I saw us play, I wouldn't have settled for five. These kids actually stepped it up to the next level. I can only imagine as juniors what they're going to step up to."

Sikeston graduates just two seniors in Mia Welch and Ebony Collins.

The second-seeded Dexter Lady Bearcats avenged an earlier loss to Perryville and reached the district finals with a convincing 72-53 victory.

Dexter jumped out to a 13-9 first quarter lead and extended the advantage to 33-21 heading into halftime.

Although third-seeded Perryville would never go away, Dexter's lead was never threatened.

"I just thought my girls played real hard tonight," said Dexter head coach Gavin Miller. "A lot of girls kind of had a revenge factor on them since they beat us early in the year. I knew if we just played hard and did smart things, then we could come out victorious tonight."

Dexter (19-7) extended the lead to 52-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lady Bearcats had a well-balanced scoring attack led by freshman Haylee Finch with 15 points.

Junior standout Rachel Blunt scored 13 points, including 9-of-10 free throw shooting with 14 rebounds and six assists.

Natalie Hayes followed up with 12 points and Taylor Nelson added 11 points.

Hannah Burleson had nine points and Charlotte Johnson had eight points.

"I like that -- that's good to see at the right time of the year," said Miller. "I didn't play Haylee Finch until about two weeks ago. She's a little out of control, but she makes up for it with her intensity on defense and she can take it to the basket."

Perryville was led by April Lorenz's 22 points. No other player reached double figures.

Now the stage is set for Dexter's girls to win their first district championship in school history. All they have to do is get by top-seeded Notre Dame, who many feel isn't quite the powerhouse they have been the last few years.

"Last year there wasn't really much of a chance," said Miller. "If we come up here and play hard tomorrow night -- don't get rattled with the press and don't make any silly turnovers, we'll just take our chances. They want to win the district championship and I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure we do that."