PORTAGEVILLE -- The over-achieving Portageville Bulldogs notched their ninth straight win Friday night by downing the Malden Greenwave 51-41, and ran their season record to 13-3. The Greenwave record falls to 6-9 on the season.
The two teams got off to a very shaky start in the opening frame. Neither team could generate any offense and more than six minutes elapsed and the Bulldogs clung to 6-4 lead.
From that point the Bulldogs began to find the range. Four players got into the act for Portageville with Willie Hassell's five points leading the way. Portageville led 13-4 after one.
Hassell was whistled for his second foul at the 7:42 point of the second period and was forced to sit for the remainder of the half.
The Greenwave took full advantage of his absence on offense and defense and were able to erase the lead before half. Malden outscored the 'Dogs 11-0 in the last 2:48 of the stanza, including a Qenton Gordon buzzer-beating trifecta to give the 'Wave its biggest lead of the game 22-18.
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Portageville went on an 11-0 run of its own and regained the lead 29-22. Hassell's quickness produced two steals which resulted in easy layups to change the momentum and put the Bulldogs ahead to stay. They led by a 35-31 count after three.
Portageville outscored Malden by a 16-10 count in the final quarter on some clutch free-throw shooting. As a team the Bulldogs netted 7-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Hassell led all scorers with 17 points followed by Jimmy Larry's 12. Malden's Richard Marks led the Greenwave with a dozen.
"We gave a good team a pretty good effort tonight. We've lost a lot of close games like tonight, but we have a very young team. We run a couple of freshmen out there a lot and this is a good learning experience for them," said Malden coach Jeremy Siebert. "I'm proud of our effort. We did some good things and some bad things but hopefully, we'll learn from them."
"We came back and fought hard. We were down in the first half, in kind of a lull and got into some foul trouble. I guess we thought that all we had to do was show up to win and it didn't happen. They came back after the half and responded well and we're proud they did," said Bulldog coach Jim Bidewell.
In the jayvee contest, Portageville prevailed 73-51.
Portageville will host the Sikeston Bulldogs on Saturday, January 31 and Malden will travel to Neelyville to take on the Tigers on Friday night January 30.