(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
JACKSON -- Shocked. The one word that showed the emotion on the faces of nearly every spectator in the gym Tuesday night in Jackson, as the Indians handed the visiting Sikeston Bulldogs a 76-54 loss.
The state-ranked Bulldogs came in on the heels of a six-game win streak, seeking revenge of the disappointing 74-69 loss to Jackson in the SEMO Conference Tournament.
Sikeston started out well, taking the lead early in the first quarter, but over the course of the first quarter, and into the first part of the second quarter, the Indians scored 11 unanswered points, jumping out to a commanding double-digit lead that they would not stray from through the final buzzer.
Jackson led by eight after the first quarter, 18-10, and led going into the break 46-25.
(Photo by Keith Hente, special to the Standard Democrat)
The start of the third quarter showed the typical Bulldog team, as they put on a difficult press, and scored quickly off of give-and-go and back-door type plays. Sikeston eventually rallied to cut the lead to 12 points, but that was as close as they would get. Jackson went on to outscore the Bulldogs by just one point in the second half, 30-29, holding Sikeston to just three fourth quarter points, and that would be all they would need to secure the 76-54 victory.
"I thought Jackson was outstanding in the first half," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "We didn't play very well, but to their credit, they were as good as anybody we've seen all year."
"That first half, they built a big lead on us," he added. "I thought our kids battled hard in the third quarter, and came back and tried to scratch and claw, but we just never could get quite over the hump."
The first half for Jackson featured 11-for-21 shooting from the field, while in the second half the Indians were 9-for-17.
On occasion, one of the Bulldogs' weapons, the 3-pointer, wasn't as kind Tuesday night, as they were 3-for-18 from beyond the arc, giving way to defensive rebounds on the glass by Jackson.
Despite the loss, Holifield said that Sikeston won't go home totally defeated, as he stated that the team still remains positive even after a tough loss.
"Our kids didn't quit," Holifield said. "They continued to work. We'll go from here, but we've got some work to do."
"It would've taken a tremendous effort to come in here and win tonight," he added. "They (Jackson) were on fire, and they played well together."
For the Bulldogs, Sherwin Jones led the way with 11 points, including one 3-
pointer and two assists. Teammate Juqualin Wiggins was the only other Sikeston player in double-figures, as he added 10 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
Goodman, the leading scorer for the Indians with 27 points, including three 3-pointers, is coming off of an injury that has limited availability in the recent past.
"(The doctor) had me going through some drills," Goodman said. "He said I needed confidence and strength, and I had both of those, and I was ready to play today."
"I can't explain how big this win was," he added. "We knew what we had to do to win, and it was probably one of the biggest wins we've had so far."
Leet finished with 25 points, including three 3-pointers.
Jackson head coach Darrin Scott had nothing but praise for his squad.
"I was proud of our effort," Scott said. "Our kids really came out ready to play and were focused. The second quarter was big--We shot the ball and played well."
"I didn't expect to win by 20 points," he added. "It helps playing at home, and obviously Michael (Porter) getting in foul trouble was huge."
The Indians improve to 14-6 on the season, as they invite Caruthersville into town on Friday.
Sikeston, now 13-3, welcomes in the Kelly Hawks Friday evening to the Sikeston Field House. Kelly fell to Notre Dame 97-54 on Tuesday.
Junior varsity play begins at 6 p.m. with varsity action to follow.
In junior varsity action, the Jackson Indians were also victorious, handing the Sikeston Bulldogs a 55-43 loss.
The Indians fell behind after one quarter of play, but led 22-19 at the break, and went on to outscore the Bulldogs 33-24 in the second half.
For Jackson, Bobby Clark scored 17 points, while Tyler Qualls chipped in with 10.
Sikeston was led by Eli Jackson with 10 points, while Corey Porter had nine, and Will Holifield added eight points.