(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Missing two starters and coming off of a big win over archrival Charleston Friday night, it was understandable that the Sikeston Bulldogs might come out a little sluggish against the visiting Fredericktown Blackcats Tuesday night. Fortunately, the Bulldogs put it together in the fourth quarter and put away their district foe 57-42.
"You have to give (Fredericktown) credit," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "They really played hard and did a good job. I thought we were coming off a big win Friday night and were a bit sluggish but overall they are a quality team and it is a good win."
After falling behind after one quarter 13-3, Fredericktown slowly chipped away and cut the lead to 38-34 with 3:10 left to play in the third quarter.
"(Sikeston) is a good, solid team," said Fredericktown coach Chadd Starkey. "We were doing all we could and we made a nice little run there and were in the game most of the way."
"We got turnover happy I guess," Starkey said. "We played well, I thought, for three quarters but we gave them too many layups and turned it over too much. But they're good so you have to give them credit for forcing them."
Sikeston turned the Fredericktown turnovers into a 12-1 run and cruised to the finish. For the game, the Bulldogs forced 26 Blackcat turnovers while turning the ball over 17 times themselves.
"I thought, at times, we did a pretty good job of forcing the tempo and forcing them into mistakes," said Holifield. "We were a little sluggish and out of position at times too but we've got a lot of different combinations in there right now with our injured players being out, so overall I was pleased."
Sikeston was forced to play without starters Brandon Washington (ankle) and Matt Ritch (minor surgery), but in their place several players stepped up to fill the void.
"I'm proud of the effort," Holifield said. "We had some guys step up, especially Stephen Jackson coming off the bench he really played well."
With Washington and Ritch out, players like Jackson and others are seeing significant minutes that may pay off come district time.
"We have some guys getting some valuable playing experience against some good teams so that will be a plus for us," Holifield said, adding that he still hopes Washington and Ritch get back into the lineup soon.
"We sure would like to have them back because they bring so much to our team," Holifield said. "We really had a good rotation going, so the quicker we get them back the better."
Sikeston (11-2) was led by once again by all-stater Michael Porter, who finished the game with 20 points, seven rebounds, five steals, four blocks and a season-high eight assists. Cal Lane chipped in 10 points and Juqualin Wiggins eight to go along with his 10 rebounds, four assists and five steals.
Fredericktown (8-6) was led by Mike Crowell who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jerod Williams chipped in 13.
As a team the Bulldogs outrebounded Fredericktown 31-24.
Sikeston will be back in action Friday when they host the Scott City Rams at 6 p.m.
The Sikeston junior varsity team had little trouble with Fredericktown, winning 56-24.
The Bulldogs (6-4) jumped out to a 15-6 lead after one quarter and extended the lead to 35-13 at the half and were never in danger.
Eli Jackson led the Bulldogs with 15 points while Daryl Howard and Corey Porter added 12 and 11 respectively.