(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
POPLAR BLUFF--The opening round of the 21st Poplar Bluff Showdown began for the Sikeston Bulldogs on Thursday night, as they fell to the Harrison Hoyas of Kennesaw, Ga., by a score of 85-70.
The Hoyas began their scoring run from the opening tip as they put up seven points before the Bulldogs got on the board. A Michael Porter dunk for Sikeston lit an early spark that eventually saw the Bulldogs get to within one point of the lead, but Harrison's offense would be too much for Sikeston to overcome throughout the remainder of the game.
"I thought we played a really good basketball team tonight," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "We did not play very well. They had a lot to do with it, but I wasn't pleased with our intensity, as far as that goes."
The Bulldogs trailed by just four after the first quarter, as the Hoyas' Gerald Smith scored 12 of his team's 19 points, including two 3-pointers.
Throughout the second quarter, Smith would keep the hot hand, as he rattled off nine points in the second, and eventually finished with a game-high 28 points.
At the end of the first half, Sikeston trailed by 15 points, 45-30.
Through two quarters of play, Porter only had five points for the Bulldogs, as Matt Ritch led the squad in scoring at the break with 12 points. Ritch finished the night with 18.
Although Porter put up 18 points in the second half, Harrison's defense was too much pressure for Sikeston to break free to start a rally.
The Bulldogs only outscored the Hoyas in the fourth quarter, as Harrison cruised to victory 85-70.
"You can't take anything away from Harrison," Holifield said. "They're a very good basketball team."
Sikeston now falls to the loser's bracket, where they will face Maplewood-
Richmond Heights, while the Hoyas advance to the championship bracket, where they will face Liberty Tech Magnet.
Holifield said that his club will have to be ready for the speedy Maplewood Blue Devils.
"They're very quick," Holifield said. "They get up and down the floor. They've got a great guard, so they'll be a handful to beat."
"We'll have to come out and play with more intensity and energy and effort than we did tonight," he added.
Sikeston will square off with Maplewood today at 4 p.m., while Harrison will go up against Liberty Tech at 5:30 p.m.