BLOOMFIELD -- Dexter climbed closer to the .500 mark for the season with an 84-71 Stoddard County Activities Association win over the Bloomfield Wildcats here Tuesday night.
For the Bearcats, the road to parity has been all uphill after opening the season 0-6. Since then Dexter has won five against one loss, winning four straight for a 5-7 season slate.
Senior Eric Rinehart scored a game-high 26 points to lead a trio of Bearcats in double figures. Junior Drew Satterfield pounded the ball inside for 19 points, while senior Aaron Jackson knocked down 12, seven in the first quarter as Dexter took control of the game.
"I thought our offense was pretty good tonight scoring wise," Dexter coach Eric Sitze said. "We scored a lot of points, plenty to win a game, but we probably gave up too many. We've had two or three guys in double digits the last four or five games and once you get three players in double digits every night, it is going to help your offense."
Dexter set the tone early as Rinehart scored off the opening tip-off, and the Bearcats' full-court press began to force Bloomfield turnovers.
Dexter raced to a 19-6 lead, mostly off Bloomfield mistakes, before the Wildcats settled down and cut the margin to 21-13 after the first eight minutes of play.
"Dexter came out and really played hard early and got up eight, 10 points, and really that was the difference when in came right down to it," Bloomfield coach Brain Hukel commented.
From that point on, Hukel's Wildcats battled Dexter on fairly even terms.
"We were without our point guard tonight," Hukel pointed out. "(Tony) Garnett was injured in practice yesterday and was unable to play, but I was pleased with Cody Smith who came in an did a good job.
"But it changed some things for us, people playing in different spots, so there was a little bit of confusion at times that cost us," Hukel continued.
"But the effort was good. I was pleased with the overall effort. They (the team) continue to play hard and didn't quit, and that's very important for our guys to continue to play hard."
Bloomfield's effort paid off with four players scoring in double figures, led by Kyle Williamson's 15. Chris Battle was good for 14 points, while Jon Monroe and Dillon Rickman chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Bloomfield's best run at Dexter came late in the second period when an old fashion 3-point play by Battles cut the deficit to 35-29.
"I don't know if we got a little comfortable when we got the lead or what," Sitze said. "They made a little run at us and got close to us, but we hung in there and didn't quit, we just kept playing hard."
Dexter was never able to pull away from Bloomfield in the second half, but maintained a comfortable double digit lead for the remainder of the game.
"I thought we played harder tonight," Sitze said of his team's effort. "If we had played like we did over at Woodland, we would have been in trouble.
"The intensity was there tonight," he added. "I would have liked to have held them to fewer points, but we did a better job tonight. If we had laid down tonight, we wouldn't have been in the game."