(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs were looking to continue their winning ways on Monday evening, as they invited the Jackson Lady Indians.
Sikeston began play with the first basket, but over the course of the first quarter would trade leads back-and-forth with Jackson, eventually giving the Lady Indians the edge 13-10 after one.
In the second quarter, Jackson's Kelci Keith hit her fourth 3-pointer of the half, giving the Lady Indians and even bigger lead, but the Lady Bulldogs came charging back.
Gray-El began heating up inside the paint, scoring eight points in the second quarter, alongside teammate Amber Minner who put in for four of her own, giving Sikeston a 26-20 lead going into the break.
"This was the first time, (in my two years coaching) we've ever been ahead of Jackson at halftime," said Sikeston head coach Homer Jackson. "It was a well-
earned six points too, three baskets."
In the second half, however, the tides turned, as Jackson outscored Sikeston 28-3, cruising to the victory 48-29.
Lady Indians' Ashten Howard connected for three 3-pointers, while Cody Goodpasture racked up all 15 of her points in the second half on six field goals and two free-throws. Howard finished with 13 points, while Keith finished with 14.
"Fatigue and turnovers got us in the second half," said Jackson. "We're not very deep and our starters have to play a ton of minutes. With other teams we're able to get away with it, but with this team (Jackson) they're very conditioned."
Minner, who had battled sickness throughout the game, finished with nine points for the Lady Bulldogs, while Gray-El finished as the leading scorer for the home team with 14 points.
"We had a hard time stopping (Gray-El) early," said Jackson head coach Sam Sides. "We're not very big and we just let her catch it too many times. We finally picked up our intensity and got her out of the game a little bit."
"We hit some shots too," he added. "When you hit a few outside shots it makes it a lot easier. We finally hit a few."
Up next for Jackson (11-8) is the Cape Central Lady Tigers tonight, while Sikeston (6-14) will head to Charleston Thursday to face the Lady Bluejays.
There will be no junior varsity action against Charleston, leaving varsity action to begin at 6 p.m.