(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- In game two of the SEMO Conference Tournament Wednesday night, the New Madrid County Central Eagles were able to win the turnover battle to edge out the Dexter Bearcats, 51-44.
Most of the night was a defensive struggle between the two teams. Both Dexter and NMCC had trouble moving the ball without committing a turnover.
"We played better," Eagles head coach Travis Day said. "But, we still make the unforced turnovers. We're taking too many possessions away from ourselves and those possessions turn into easy baskets for our opponents."
Day went on to say, that he believed that his Eagles defensive play was the key to winning this game.
Dexter head coach Rob Nichols said that the three consecutive games they played this week was hard for his team to handle.
"It was one of those nights," Nichols said. "I think we were a little bit tired, that's three games in three nights and then to go up against a big physical basketball team like that you really need your legs underneath you and I'm not sure we had them."
From the tip-off it seemed like both teams were going to have a hard time getting any rhythm in their favor. The first quarter score totaled to a combined 15 points, eight for NMCC and seven for the Bearcats.
Going into halftime, NMCC led Dexter 23-20.
The Eagles defense began to pick up the pace at the start of the second half. They held Dexter to five points in the third quarter, building a lead of 36-25 going into the fourth.
The Bearcats attempted to make a run in the fourth quarter, actually cutting the lead to five points with 41 seconds remaining. But, that was as close as they would get to the Eagles lead.
Sophomore Koney Ealy performed well enough for the Eagles to record a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Ealy also had four blocks and was 6-12 from the free throw line.
"You know with Koney, I always tell him 'Son, when you don't think, your a good athlete'," Day said. "Just like those turnovers he had; thinking got him. When he doesn't think and just plays basketball, the kid's got a great future.'"
Josh Minner also helped the Eagles out with 11 points and five rebounds.
Dexter was led by Logan Carwile with 12 points and was 4-6 from the charity stripe. David Hessling added 11 and Bobby Rawson scored six points and had six rebounds and three steals.
NMCC's win advanced them to the fifth place game in the SEMO Conference Tournament, against the Poplar Bluff Mules. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday. Dexter will host Caruthersville in their next game on Monday. Kennett 67, Caruthersville 36
The Kennett Indians overcame a sluggish start to blow out Caruthersville 67-
Down 11-10 after a quarter, Kennett used a strong pressure defense to force numerous Tiger turnovers and outscored Caruthersville 30-10 in the second quarter, putting the game away.
Jarvis Finley scored 15 for the Indians (1-2) while Jimmy Gooden chipped in 12.
Caruthersville (0-2) was led by Caleb Moss who finished with 8.
The Poplar Bluff Mules used a quick start to build a big lead on the Tigers and held on for a 51-46 lead.
The Mules built a 36-15 halftime lead but Cape Central kept chipping away, getting back to 50-44 with 15 seconds remaining. However, Poplar Bluff held on for the win.
Poplar Bluff (1-2) was led in scoring by Jay Raulston's 19 and Jordan Chaligoj with 11.
Cape Central (1-4) were led by Garrett Pannier's 13.