The victory in the battle of the Bulldogs gives Notre Dame (8-1, 2-0 SEMO Conference) the inside track at getting the top seed in February's Class 4, District 1 Tournament. For Sikeston, the loss leaves last season's Class 4 state runner-up searching for answers.
"They were a better team than us tonight," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "We're not worried about seeds right now, we need to work hard and get better and be the best we can be by the district tournament. I know one thing, this team will come in and they will make adjustments in their work ethic and their level will pick up."
Sikeston prefers an up-tempo game, but Notre Dame took it to another level on Friday night, consistently beating the Bulldogs down the floor for layups.
"We beat them up and down the floor, in the first half especially," said Notre Dame coach Paul Hale. "They got a little tired. We were tired too, but it seemed like we were a little more fresh than they were."
But Notre Dame started to take control of the game from there.
The visiting Bulldogs led 25-23 after one quarter and opened up a double-
digit lead early in the second quarter with a 13-0 run.
Sikeston (4-3, 1-1) never recovered from the run as Notre Dame maintained at least an eight-point lead the rest of the night.
Notre Dame led by as much as 43-28 in the second quarter, but Sikeston managed to trim the lead to 45-35 by halftime.
"We had a lot of standing and we weren't working the way we need to -- our energy and effort wasn't where it needed to be," said Holifield.
The Bulldogs held a double-figure lead through most of the third quarter -- only one time Sikeston got the lead under 10 -- as they led 69-57 heading into the final frame.
Sikeston got as close as 71-63 with 5:47 left to play, but Notre Dame rattled off six straight points to bump the lead back to 14.
"We were very sluggish, but you have to give them credit," said Holifield. "They played with great intensity, they were well-prepared. They took away so many things we wanted to do and I thought they were exceptional offensively tonight. That's a really good basketball."
Notre Dame got a huge game from sophomore Austin Greer, who scored a game-high 28 points, most coming on back-door cuts and breakaway layups.
"He's a good finisher, and he's playing out of position, but he can finish around the basket, and that's why I put him down there," Hale said.
Ryan Willen, a 6-foot-7 junior, had 20 points.
Ty Williams and John Unterreiner each had 14 points for Notre Dame.
Sikeston was led by senior Julian Beard with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Michael Porter scored 17 points with 14 rebounds. Matt Ritch scored 12 and Isaac Porter added 11.
Sikeston played without starting forward Ray Rodgers, who is out for at least three to five weeks with a broken hand.
"They were missing Rodgers -- this was the first game without him," said Hale. "We just had a good lead and we were able to hold on to it. I know Sikeston is a fine team and I guarantee you they'll be all we can handle and more come district time. I hope we can continue to play well the rest of the year, hopefully we can get that No. 1 seed. This is a big win, especially on this floor."
Even though Rodgers was out, Holifield wasn't going to use that as an excuse.
"Injuries are part of the game and you have to live through them," said Holifield. "It's one of those things that you have to have players step up and get the job done. Tonight we didn't have it. Not having Ray had nothing to do with our work habits and our effort on the floor tonight."
In addition to the defensive problems, the Bulldogs were careless with the ball on offense turning it over 20 times on the night.
Sikeston out-rebounded Notre Dame 39-30 on the night. The Bulldogs were just 3-19 from 3-point range and 30-72 (42 percent) from the field overall.
The Sikeston J.V. team improved to 4-3 on the season and 2-0 in conference play be beating previously undefeated Notre Dame 50-47.
Sikeston led 25-23 at halftime, but trailed 37-36 entering the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame led by as much as six points in the fourth quarter, but Sikeston rallied to pull out the victory.
Sophomore forward Dominic Fondon led Sikeston with 18 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Juqualin Wiggins had nine points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Notre Dame (7-1, 1-1) was led by Alex Bader's 14 points.