CAPE GIRARDEAU - The Sikeston junior varsity basketball team captured first place in the Notre Dame JV Tournament on Friday with a 67-60 win against Charleston.
It's the first time Sikeston's jayvee team has won the tournament in a number of years, something that pleased coach Brian James.
"Since I've been the junior varsity coach, I've had two or three second place finishes, but this is the first championship we've had in the tournament that I can remember," said James.
"I think they won one in the early '80s. That was one of our preseason goals, to do the best we could this week and put ourselves in a position to win this tournament. We set the goal and achieved it. It's very gratifying."
The Bulldogs completed their opening week 4-0 as they also defeated Blytheville in a regular season game on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs, who were already a player short with third leading scorer Rodriguez Moore out with a family obligation, fell behind 13-0 at the start of the game.
The Bulldogs responded to cut the lead to 17-10 at the end of one. The Bulldogs continued to cut into the lead, eventually taking a 25-24 edge at the half.
Like they did at the start of the game, Charleston came out on fire in the third quarter.
The Bluejays took a 38-27 lead behind the hot shooting of 6-foot-3 freshman Justin Clark, who scored 15 of his game-high 27 points in the third quarter.
"We got a slow start each half and we didn't play like we're capable of playing," said James. "But we really played hard other than those spurts. We had four games in five days and we've kind of had to learn on the fly this week. I'm really proud of the boys. I think they've done a lot of improving this week."
But again, Sikeston responded with a 13-2 run to cut the lead to 45-40 by the end of the quarter.
The Bulldogs then opened the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run and they never relinquished the lead from there.
"I think the difference in the game was when we decided to crash the boards and really turn up the defensive pressure," said James.
"That's when we made our final push. We found their shooters a little bit and started forcing some turnovers."
Sikeston was led by Trey Spence with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Kash Bratcher followed up with 17 points, four rebounds and five assists. Joe Lincoln had 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Julian Beard chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds. Jeremy Conley had six rebounds and Joel Nabors added five boards.
Tavis Hamilton added nine points for Charleston.
Sikeston won't play again until Friday when they play at Dexter at 6 p.m. prior to the varsity matchup.