(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
BLOOMFIELD--Day one of the 51st Annual Bloomfield Christmas Tournament took place on Wednesday, as No. 1 Hayti, No. 2 Bernie, No. 3 Doniphan, No. 4 Bloomfield, No. 12 Puxico, No. 11 South Pemiscot, No. 7 Malden and No. 9 Portageville all advanced to the winner's bracket with victories.
In the final game of the evening, the Richland Rebels started off a little sluggish, having to crawl back into the game, and the Portageville Bulldogs held on for the victory 53-50.
The Bulldogs started out with a 12-2 lead early in the first quarter, but the Rebels battled back with the aid of Mikey Latham's two three pointers, to cut the lead to eight points, 18-10 after one quarter of play.
Latham hit three 3-pointers in the game, finishing with 13 points, but fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Richland outscored the Bulldogs 12-6 in the second quarter, and at the break, the score was 24-22 in favor of Portageville.
Latham had 11 points in the first half to lead all scorers before the second half began.
"We're struggling," Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell said. "They went to a zone and we didn't adapt real well."
Portageville could only put up 13 points in the third quarter, to the Rebels' 17, and after three quarters of play, momentum looked to be heading towards Richland's side.
But, a battle of scoring between the Rebels' Drew Thornton and the Bulldogs' Bryon Wright heated up, with Wright prevailing in the end, and the Portageville squad took control late in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win 53-50.
"The kids fought," Bidewell said. "They didn't give up. We've improved but we still have a lot of room for improvement."
Wright led in scoring for the Bulldogs with 11 points. Portageville had nine players score in the game.
"We knew it was going to be hard coming in here to beat Portageville twice," Richland head coach Casey Knight said. "We beat them earlier this season, but we came out and didn't take care of the ball well (tonight). This may be a good eye-opener for us, losing to a really talented team."
Portageville will face Hayti today at 4 p.m., while Richland falls to the loser's bracket, where they will face East Carter today at 2 p.m.
Bidewell said that his squad will have to rebound for all four quarters, and try to keep Hayti off of the glass in order to win today's game.
Knight said that his team will have to bounce back from the loss and come out ready to play against East Carter. He added that last season, they lost in the opening round and battled back to win the consolation tournament.
The top-seeded Hayti Indians had little problem with No. 16 East Carter County in the first game of the day 85-45. William Cooper led the Indians with 19 points while Jamestic Gooden had 16 and George Hamilton 10.
East Carter was led by Dustin Frazier with 18.
The No. 2 Bernie Mules ran past No. 15 Greenville 90-50. The Mules jumped out to a 48-25 lead at the half and cruised the rest of the way.
Zach Curry led Bernie with 24 points while Quinton Stevens had 16, Jake Welch 12, Silas Dill 13 and Jake Owens 10.
The No. 14 seed East Prairie Eagles fell behind early and never recovered, losing to the third seeded Doniphan Dons 69-35. Trailing 21-5 after one quarter, the Eagles could not get any offense going and lost going away.
East Prairie was led by Tony Jones with 17 points.
Doniphan's Charles Wilson led all scorers with 27 while Tyler Collins pitched in 22 and Chandler Wilson 13.
The host Bloomfield Wildcats escaped an upset attempt from No.13 seed Van Buren 67-57. Corey Smith scored 16 to lead Bloomfield while Jacob McNeil added 14, Blake Harris 13 and Kyle Williamson 12.
Jack Heiberg led Van Buren with 20 points. Tyler Freeze added 13 and Kyle Burke 10.
The No. 12 seed Puxico Indians posted the first upset of the day, dropping the No. 5 seed Dexter Bearcats 73-64.
Both teams were hot from outside as they combined to connect with 19 3-
pointers. However, free throws proved to be the difference as the Indians hit 15-of-18 and Dexter just 3-of-13.
Puxico was led in scoring by John Smith, who finished with a game-high 24. Matt Allison ended with 20 and J Hon 15, all on 3-pointers.
Dexter (2-7) was led by junior Drew Kelley's 19, including four 3-pointers. Kevin Hart and Eric Windham scored 12 and 10 respectively.
The No. 11 seed South Pemiscot Bulldogs continued the upset-trend, holding on to knock off Twin Rivers 64-62.
Maurichio Clay led the Bulldogs with 22 points. McIntyre and Kaleb Canoy each scored 13 and Preston Wilbourn pitched in 11.
Twin Rivers was led by Dylan Stockton's 18. Kenny Johnson and Jordan Fowler each put in 11.
The No. 10 seed Kennett Indians led 36-33 at the half, but an 18-6 run to start the second half put Malden up heading into the fourth quarter.
Malden was led in scoring by Leonard Burton with 18. Nick Perkins and Andy Matthews added 13 and 12 respectively.