MARBLE HILL -- Woodland's Seth Gaines scored a game-high 33 points but it wasn't nearly enough as the Dexter Bearcats posted a 75-55 SCAA Conference win over the Cardinals on their home court Friday night.
Gaines' offensive performance included three 3-pointers and 8-of-10 shooting from the foul line, but it was Dexter's depth and full-court pressure that finally took its toll on the now 4-7 (0-2 SCAA) Cardinals.
"Their depth definitely wore us out," Woodland coach David Mirly said. "We had to work so hard just to get the ball up past the halfcourt line that it may have not been their depth as much as their pressure that wore on us.
"Either way, they just wore us out," he continued. "My guys kept battling inside -- playing real big -- but they are so strong and deep we were just exhausted. It was fun just to watch the guys play."
Dexter posted its third straight win of the season and now stands at 4-7 overall, 1-0 in SCAA play and 0-5 in SEMO Conference action. The Bearcats earned the win despite their best attempts to give the game away.
The Bearcats turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter and had 22 for the game.
"We're just not where we need to be as a team... we're not a team," a perplexed Dexter coach Eric Sitze said. "We're not all on the same page. And like I told you before, until that happens, we're going to struggle.
"I told the kids tonight that I thought we played better defense the first six games of the season and we lost all of those," he continued.
"But I really felt like we played hard and got after people to start the season. "I'm not down on the kids," he pointed out. "They are doing all they can do. They are just not real talented. They can't afford to come out flat like this and then not play hard."
With Dexter's lack of cohesion on the court, and Gaines' hot hand, Woodland stayed within reach of the 'Cats throughout the game until the final three minutes of play. Dexter trailed only once in the game, that coming early in the first two minutes of play, 4-3.
"We had a lot of shots that just went in and out," Mirly said. "We jumped into a fullcourt trap four or five times, and four or five times we got a steal and couldn't convert the layup. That really made a big difference when we maybe could have gotten a run started.
"We just couldn't get over the hump, but we didn't back down," Mirly added. "In the end, they knocked down a big 3 after we had cut it to single digits late in the fourth quarter and then they got a stickback and that kind of took the wind out of our sails there at the end."
It was a 3-pointer by Dexter's Aaron Jackson (13 points) for a 64-52 lead with 3:09 remaining that finally started to put some distance between the two teams. Two free throws by sophomore Eric Windham (six points) and a nice assist from Jackson to Drew Satterfield for two of his team-high 22 points, padded the lead to 68-52 and slowed the Cardinals down with just over two minutes to play.
A trey by Chantz Barham (seven points) would prove to the last offense for the Cardinals on the night at the 1:59 mark, as Satterfield scored twice and David Hessling (10 points) beat the clock with a layup at the buzzer for the final 20-point margin of victory.
Dexter's leading scorer for the season, Eric Rinehart, finished the game with 11 points while sitting out the final 12 minutes of play. But the offensive spotlight for this game was clearly on Gaines.
"He (Gaines) does a lot for us on offense," Mirly commented.