METROPOLIS, Ill. -- For the second straight night, the Sikeston Bulldogs lost in the final seconds at the 23rd Annual Superman Classic.
The Bulldogs lost to host school Massac County 57-53 on Friday night and then on Saturday fell 61-59 to Murphysboro (Ill.) when Julian Beard's halfcourt 3-point shot rimmed off at the buzzer in the third place game.
The Bulldogs (9-5) led by as much as 16 points in the game but couldn't hold on after Murphysboro heated up from the field in the third and fourth quarters.
"Murphysboro came out and shot the ball extremely well in the second half," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "I thought we played really well for two and a half quarters then they got on fire and shot an unbelievable percentage. They could shoot it and they could beat you off the dribble so they were very difficult to defend."
Murphysboro (11-8) hit eight 3-pointers in the game with six of those coming in the second half. In fact, the Red Devils didn't miss a 3-point shot in the second half.
Murphysboro took its first lead since the opening minute of the game on a driving layup by Maurice Brown, who had a game-high 28 points, to make it 54-52.
Sikeston tied it at 54-54 on a Rod Moore shot, but Murphysboro's Jebray Moore hit two free throws to take the lead for good.
They led 60-56 on two Brown free throws with 47 seconds left.
Kash Bratcher made a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to cut the lead to 60
Then Jarrin Agnew hit 1-of-2 free throws to give Murphysboro a 61-59 lead with 15 seconds left.
Sikeston worked for a potential game-tying or game-winning shot, but as Bratcher received the pass and was ready to shoot a 3-pointer, Moore was whistled for an illegal screen with six seconds left.
"We got a tough break there at the end," said Holifield. "We were running a triple-staggered screen and they called an illegal pick just as soon as Kash caught the ball and was ready to shoot. You just have to battle through those things. You're going to get calls like that sometimes on the road."
Sikeston was forced to foul again.
Brown went to the free throw line with five seconds left for two shots.
He missed both free throws, leaving the door open for the Bulldogs.
Beard got the rebound and pushed the ball just across halfcourt before launching a shot.
The shot was on target but it hit the front of the rim, bounced off the backboard, and fell to the floor.
The Bulldogs dominated most of the game.
They led 18-4 at one point in the first quarter but Agnew made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to breathe some life into the Red Devils.
Sikeston continued to push the lead even further, leading by as much as 26
-11 midway through the second quarter.
But Murphysboro managed to trim the lead to 33-22 by halftime.
The Bulldogs continued to pull away in the third quarter, leading by as much as 47-31 with 4:10 left in the period.
But that's when Murphysboro caught fire, finishing the period on a 12-2 run.
Brown made a 3-pointer and then Ryan Wright connected on three consecutive treys to close the quarter and cutting the Bulldog lead to 49-43.
The Bulldogs scored to open the fourth quarter to lead by as much as eight points, but Murphysboro's shooting display was still in full swing.
Brown scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Wright finished with 12 points, all on 3-pointers.
Sikeston was led by Moore's 23 points, but he only had three in the fourth quarter.
He also had seven rebounds and three assists.
Bratcher had a season-high 20 points, going 3-of-5 from downtown.
Isaac Porter had six points with six rebounds and five assists.
Blake Taylor came off the bench to record four assists.
Beard had just two points, but had three assists and two steals.
Moore and Beard were both selected to the all-tournament team.
"I thought both of them played real well," said Holifield. "I thought as a team we played pretty well. We just didn't cover their shooters as well as we should've. They had nice tournaments. They did a good job against three outstanding teams. I was proud of our team effort and how hard the kids battled."
Sikeston will travel to play SEMO Conference rival Jackson on Tuesday at 6 p.m.