Due to poor weather conditions on Thursday, the semifinal matchup between Sikeston and Kelly was postponed until Saturday.
Fans were treated to an excellent game between the two schools that featured play from two extremes. On one hand, a seasoned senior led Sikeston, as Allison Blurton had an excellent game for the Lady Bulldogs. Blurton scored 25 points, grabbed three rebounds and had three assists in the game.
While a senior led Sikeston, youth was served for Kelly, as freshmen Debra Hall was too tough to handle down low for Sikeston. Hall scored 29 points and fought for 12 rebounds. Of her 12 boards, 11 were obtained on the offensive end.
"Allison can do it every night," said Sikeston head coach Fred Johnson. "She sometimes tends to fade in the background but if she wants to, she can score like this every game. She was on tonight."
Sikeston jumped on Kelly early thanks to some early baskets from their own freshman, Keyarra Blissett. Sikeston led 16-9 after one quarter of action.
The play was ragged in the quarter as the Lady Hawks committed 10 turnovers, while the Lady Bulldogs committed nine.
"We are a young team and we have to learn that you can't turn intensity on and off," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter. "The girls are inexperienced, but they need to value the basketball. We made some bad decisions tonight."
Both squads utilized pressure defense that at times caused the teams to panic and make poor passes. Kelly used a 1-2-2 press and Sikeston went full-court man-defense.
Sikeston and Kelly played an even second quarter, with both teams scoring 18 points. Sikeston led 34-27 heading into halftime. The defensive pressure was the story in the half, as the teams committed a total of 34 turnovers; 17 apiece.
In the second half, Blurton took over for Sikeston as she scored most of her points driving hard to the basket. For Kelly, Hall could not be stopped down on the blocks. Most of her points were scored on putbacks off offensive rebounds.
The Lady Hawks went on a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter and trailed Sikeston by one point, 37-36. Kelly eventually tied the contest at 42 with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Sikeston went on a run of their own to end the third quarter, as the Lady Bulldogs outscored Kelly 11-0, fueled by two 3-pointers by Blurton and Amber Minner. The Lady Bulldogs took a nine point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 53-44.
Sikeston hit clutch free-throws down the stretch in the fourth quarter and held on for the win, 70-58.
"I am very pleased with the outcome of the game," said Johnson. "Kelly is a good team that will fight to the very end. They are one of the premiere girls' programs in the area. We hope to get the Sikeston program to that point in the near future. Big win for our girls."
Junior Latoya Gipson continued her impressive early season play, as she scored 11 points, had 11 rebounds and dished out three assists against Kelly. Blissett scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Martika Davis and Jessica McCray had the same stat line, seven points, six rebounds and two assists, for Sikeston. Minner scored eight points to round out the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs.
Brittany Ponder had a nice game for Kelly with nine points, five assists and three rebounds. Katee Moore drained two 3-pointers on her way to 10 points. Nikki Weiny did the little things for Kelly with four assists and three rebounds.
Sikeston outrebounded Kelly 35-33. While the first half featured a lot of turnovers, in the second half both teams settled down, as Kelly committed eight turnovers while Sikeston had six.
"Coach Johnson is doing an outstanding job at Sikeston," said McQuerter. "They play aggressive and Blurton just played great today. Their pressure caused us to make too many mistakes. We will learn from this loss and be a better team because of it."
Sikeston (2-2) will face No. 1 seed Delta in the tournament finals set for 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Fatigue could be a factor for Sikeston on Tuesday, as they travel to Farmington on Monday for junior varsity and varsity action.
Kelly will play in the third-place game against Oran at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The Lady Hawks also play on Monday as they travel to East Prairie.