SCOTT CITY -- The tenacious Portageville Bulldogs scratched and clawed their way to a 73-66 overtime road win over the Scott City Rams on Tuesday.
"I can't say enough about Coach (Jim) Bidewell and his team," said Scott City coach Lance Amick. "Year in and year out, he's going to put a team out there that plays defense, rebounds and is passionate about winning."
That "passion to win," which probably separates this Portageville team from others of equal or even better talent, was evident throughout the game.
Scott City (9-13), looking to make a statement on Senior Night, pounded the ball inside to its big men early and often as they ran out to a 21-13 first-
quarter lead, then extended the margin to 17 at 33-16 about midway of the second period.
The Rams' 6-foot-5 post Alex King led the offense with 10 of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter.
"We dug ourselves a hole, or maybe Scott City dug a hole for us," said Bidewell. "They came out and took it to us on the inside and we didn't have an answer for it."
But, the Bulldogs struck with a 15-2 run to close the second quarter and pull within four at 35-31 at the half.
Strong defensive work by Portageville junior Marcus Greene helped hold the taller Rams in check. The 6-2 Greene blocked five shots, misdirected several others and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.
Said Bidewell, "Marcus (Greene) was our inside (game) tonight. He's not as big as a lot of them, but he battles with the best of them. He's going to give you 100 percent inside that paint and without him, we're very average."
Junior guard Trey Mosby led the offensive charge with seven of his game-
high 25 points during the comeback run.
"Our kids kind of got slapped in the face and they decided to come back and fight rather than cower down," Bidewell said. "I think it was just a matter of not giving up. We grinded our way back. Lord knows, I didn't make any great calls from the bench, so the kids just responded because they expect to win. "Winning is 90 percent mental and we've been fortunate to have that mentality lately. When you do that, sometimes you overachieve."
The Rams took charge again early in the third quarter, going ahead 43-33, but back came the resilient Bulldogs to close the gap to one at 45-44 with 2:
35 to go in the quarter.
Then, with Jordan Bidewell scoring the Bulldogs' last seven points, the quarter ended with the score deadlocked at 51.
"Jordan had one of his better halves -- 12 points in the second half -- pressuring and getting some steals," said Bidewell.
The game seesawed early in the fourth quarter. At the 3:03 mark, Portageville led 60-58.
Mosby's third 3-pointer lifted the Bulldogs to a 63-58 advantage with 1:45 to go.
A King putback launched a 6-1 Scott City run, culminated by Andy Stephens' banker with 38 seconds left in regulation, to tie at 64. Each team had an opportunity to break the tie but both possessions ended in turnovers.
Mosby's three-quarter court fling at the buzzer was online but banked a bit hard off the backboard and crawled over the front rim sending the contest into overtime.
Portageville went up 66-64 on Mosby's two free throws, then extended the lead to 68-64 on an ensuing Mosby basket.
Meanwhile, the Rams went stone cold from the field, missing 4-of-4 2s and 6-of-6 from 3-point range.
"We fought so hard to get back in it in the fourth quarter--we just couldn't get over the hump," said Amick. "We've shown throughout the year that we can play with anybody, on any level. We just have trouble putting games away."
Patrick Morton's two free throws, a Bidewell field goal and a final free throw by Tony Brown closed the scoring for the Bulldogs as Scott City finally lit the scoreboard in overtime with a last-second bucket.
Behind Mosby's 25, the Bulldogs had four others in double digits. Bidewell, Brown and Morton finished with 12 apiece and Greene added 10.
Scott City, in addition to King's 21, got double-figure scoring from Rynn Eskew with 11 and Ethan Watkins with 10.
The Bulldogs held a 6-3 advantage in 3-pointers.
Streaking Portageville (16-7) won its 12th in its last 14 outings.
"I'm really proud of our kids since we came back after the Christmas break," said Bidewell. "I have nothing but positive remarks for them right now. Our seniors -- Bidewell, Morton and (Corey) Chamberlain -- have done a great job with their leadership and the juniors have done a good job of making sure that they go out with some success."
Portageville, the No. 3 seed, faces No. 6 Caruthersville in its Class 3, District 1 Tournament opener at Malden on Monday at 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs opened the sweep with a 61-54 junior varsity win.
D.J. Birdwell led the scoring with 14 points, while Bruce Mathis and Devin Bobo added 11 and 10, respectively.
Travis Scherer's 17 points and 16 from Jay Simmons paced the Rams.