(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- In a game that featured more than 50 combined turnovers, the Sikeston Bulldogs improved to 5-1 Tuesday night, defeating a scrappy South Pemiscot team 72-53.
Sikeston came out sluggish from the opening tip but used an aggressive defense to force several South Pemiscot turnovers and built an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and increased their lead to 40-21 at the half.
However, South Pemiscot began to chip away at the Sikeston lead in the second half, cutting the lead to 51-41 with 1:55 left in the third quarter.
"We just came out sluggish and not playing well and our defense was poor," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said of the third quarter. "They did a good job and were patient in what they were doing. We've just got to be a better basketball team than that."
"We talk at every halftime that the most important quarter is the third quarter," Burton said. "We've been having some problems coming out and it takes us two or three minutes to establish ourselves. This time we didn't. We came out and the ball went our way a couple times, we hit some layups and got some fast breaks."
The excitement was short-lived for South Pemiscot as after a Sikeston timeout, Sherwin Jones buried a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs up 54-41, sparking a 7-2 run to end the quarter. South Pemiscot was never able to get closer the rest of the game.
"We came in to this ballgame recognizing Sikeston for who they are," Burton said. "We came into this game looking at realistic goals. We were looking at cutting our turnovers down and not getting blown out of the gym to tell you the truth. My guys battled just as hard as they could."
Turnovers turned out to be the achilles heel for South Pemiscot as Sikeston's pressure defense forced the visitors into 32 turnovers.
South Pemiscot showed their aggressiveness on the boards only being out rebounded by Sikeston 34-27.
"Anytime you have two big guys like that (Michael Porter and Dominic Fondon), and we get an over the back and we're getting some rebounds, that is a good thing for us," Burton said.
The Bulldogs were led in scoring by Porter, who finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and four blocks. Porter missed most of the second quarter after he was cut and had trouble stopping the bleeding.
"He always gives you his all and does a good job," Holifield said.
Sikeston's Matt Ritch and Jones both scored 14 points on the night. Ritch also added seven assists.
"You have to give South Pemiscot credit," Holifield said. "They came out and worked extremely hard and we were sluggish, but you have to give them credit. They took us out of what we wanted to do and we weren't as focus as we needed to be tonight."
South Pemiscot (2-4) was led by Maurichio Clay's 19 points. Caleb McIntyre and Kaleb Canoy each finished with 10.
"All-in-all we feel like we represented our school and each other well tonight through the effort we put out on the floor," Burton said.
Sikeston will travel to Notre Dame on Friday to take on their district rivals, exactly one week after a 78-45 win in a match-up of the same two teams. The junior varsity game begins at 6 p.m. with the varsity game to follow.
The Sikeston junior varsity team had a much easier time Tuesday night, jumping out to a 29-7 lead in the first quarter and cruising to a 62-26 win.
Sikeston (3-3) was led in scoring by Darryl Howard and Will Holifield who finished with 16 and 11 respectively.