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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

'Dogs claw past Blackcats

Thursday, February 23, 2006

(Photo)
Sikestn's Kash Bratcher looks to pass.
SIKESTON -- The Class 4, District 1 showdown is set as both Sikeston and Notre Dame rolled in semifinal victories Wednesday night at the Sikeston Field House.

Top-seeded Sikeston pulled away from fourth-seeded Fredericktown 64-41 while No. 2 seed Notre Dame defeated third-seeded Ste. Genevieve 76-57.

Sikeston (19-6) will meet Notre Dame (22-3) for the district championship on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

In the first game Wednesday, Fredericktown came out with the intentions of slowing the game down.

The strategy worked for 2 1/2 quarters as the Blackcats trailed by just four points. But Sikeston finished the game strong and took away any drama with a big fourth quarter.

(Photo)
Sikeston's Julian Beard goes up for a layup.
"The game went almost exactly like I thought it would," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield, whose team defeated Fredericktown 62-39 in early January. "They're really well coached and they came out and tried to keep it close. They did a great job offensively of spreading us out and trying to hold the ball. I knew exactly this was what they would do because I've coached against coach (Brett) Reutzel's teams so much all the way back to when he was at Cape Central. I thought they had a great gameplan but our players stepped up."

Reutzel said before the game that his team would have to play a near-perfect game to knock off the Bulldogs. Early on, they were doing just that.

"We worked on several offenses that we wanted to try," said Reutzel. "We used several of them and the idea was to cut the possessions down and keep ourselves in the ballgame."

Fredericktown's slow-down tactic was effective during the first quarter as they held the lead for most of the period. However, the Bulldogs went on a 6

-0 run to close the quarter highlighted by Julian Beard's slam dunk which gave the team its first lead of the night.

(Photo)
Notre Dame's Ryan Willen gets the ball in the post.
Ray Rodgers' basket with three seconds left in the quarter gave Sikeston a 13-9 lead.

Sikeston continued to roll in the second quarter as they opened up a 21-9 advantage. Fredericktown finally stopped the bleeding with a Jake Clauser 3-

pointer, but when it was over the Bulldogs had gone on a 14-0 run.

The run was caused by Sikeston's pressure defense.

"We just wanted to keep as much pressure as we could on them and try to create turnovers and some easy buckets," said Holifield.

Sikeston eventually pulled away for a 30-18 halftime lead. But even still, Reutzel felt his team was in good shape.

"I thought when we were down 12 at the half we were in a very good position," said Reutzel. "We came out and went on a little run in the third quarter and got it to four. But then their physical play took over. They're quicker than we are and we had a hard time dealing with that."

But the Blackcats hung tough as they opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to cut the Bulldog lead to 30-26 with 5:50 remaining.

They still only trailed 36-30 later in the quarter, but a Kash Bratcher 3-

pointer gave the Bulldogs some momentum, sparking a quarter-ending 7-2 run to lead 44-32.

The Bulldogs put the game away early in the fourth quarter. In a 12-second stretch, Sikeston freshman Michael Porter tipped in a missed shot and then on the ensuing trip stole the ball and raced down the court for a one-handed jam while being fouled.

The Bulldogs continued to pull away from there until the final horn.

Sikeston got a balanced scoring attack led by Porter's 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Rodgers added 12 points for the Bulldogs.

"Ray really came off the bench and was aggressive offensively and defensively -- he really did a good job and picked us up," said Holifield.

Beard also chipped in with 12 points along with five rebounds and three assists. Rod Moore added nine points with five rebounds. Bratcher led the team with four assists.

Fredericktown (17-11) was led by Jerod Williams' 10 points.

Reutzel knew his team would have to play a more physical game to compete with the more athletic Bulldog team. But the game got a little too physical for his liking.

"I really felt like the physical play took us out of the ballgame," said Reutzel. "I thought the officials let us play to an extent that was certainly favorable to Sikeston. That's not to take away from their effort, that's just sheer physical play on their part. If you want to go very far in districts, you need to be physical. The level of play is much more aggressive.

"Sikeston plays hard and that's a credit to them and coach Holifield. It's a very talented group of kids and I have as much respect for coach Holifield as anybody in the area. When I coached in the SEMO Conference he was always the one I held in the highest regard and I still do."

Sikeston shot an unbelievable percentage from the field from 2-point range as they made 19-of-26 shots for a 73 percent clip. They weren't as successful from beyond the arc, making just 2-of-10, but it still gave them a solid 58 percent shooting night overall.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over 11 times.

In the nightcap, Notre Dame (22-3) raced out to a 14-2 lead as they never trailed in the contest. The Bulldogs led 21-11 after one quarter and extended it to 42-21 heading into halftime.

Ste. Genevieve (14-12) made a run in the third quarter as they began to solve the Notre Dame full-court press. The Dragons got as close as 57-47 and had a chance to trim the lead to seven, but a 3-point attempt didn't fall.

That was the last chance for Ste. Genevieve as Notre Dame took a 59-47 lead into the fourth quarter. The Dragons didn't get any closer.

Notre Dame sophomore Ryan Willen scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter. He hit four 3-pointers in the game.

Alex Ressel added 12 points for the Bulldogs.

Ste. Genevieve was led by Kyle Faulkner's 12 points and Kory Faulkner's 11 points.