In the first game, fifth-seeded Dexter pulled a mild upset of No. 4 seed Perryville, 55-50. In the second game, third-seeded Fredericktown held true, defeating pesky sixth seed Ste. Genevieve, 45-36.
Dexter (12-14) moves on to play top-seeded Notre Dame at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Fredericktown (15-8) will play second-seeded Sikeston immediately after at 7:30 p.m.
In the early game, Dexter trailed through most of the first half as Perryville led 14-13 after one quarter and 31-25 heading into halftime.
But the Bearcats came out of the locker room at halftime like a team possessed, starting the third quarter with a 17-4 run to take the lead for good.
Although the Pirates (16-10) stayed within striking distance the rest of the way, they never could overcome the big run by Dexter.
"We didn't have the defensive intensity that wins us games," said Dexter coach Chris Trimmer. "We were playing a little bit timid because of their 16-9 record and we were a little bit lethargic. We had to readdress what we were trying to accomplish out here. We just tried to light a fire under them."
Dexter took control of the game with a full-court press that Perryville simply couldn't solve.
"We worked on (the press) and we knew that's what they were going to do," said Perryville coach Joel Roth. "We had four or five practices to work on it. We didn't meet passes. Everything you tell your kids to do, they didn't do. We didn't pass fake, they got deflections. We told them they back-tipped from behind and we got back-tipped from behind. Pretty much everything you can do wrong against a press, we did wrong."
Dexter took a 42-39 lead into the fourth quarter, where they maintained at least a four-point lead the rest of the way.
"Perryville plays in the Jefferson County Conference and they don't see that kind of press or that kind of trap," said Trimmer. "Usually you'll see some 2-3 zone or a little 1-2-2 zone. Most of those teams don't press. I've watched them four times and all four times I watched them I thought one of their weaknesses was ball-handling. I was just happy we created so many turnovers."
But even with the rash of turnovers, Dexter had trouble sealing the game as they missed six of nine free throws in the fourth quarter.
"We were trying to give the game back to them at the end of the game," said Trimmer. "We would not be 12-14 right now if we could just hit 60 percent from the free throw line. All year long we've missed free throws and it's cost us in big games. It's just psychological. You've got to become mentally tough."
Perryville couldn't take advantage, though, as they couldn't connect on any 3-pointers, except one, which came in the first quarter.
Dexter, meanwhile, drained six from downtown.
"They made us play at a faster pace than my kids like to play at," said Roth. "That's about all it came down to."
Kevin Hart and Logan Swindle each led the Bearcats with 14 points. Logan Carwile added 11 points.
Perryville was led by Rick Dunn and Tyler Bauwens with 14 points apiece. Mike Fritsche chipped in with 12 points.
In the nightcap, the Blackcats broke a 9-9 first quarter tie and led the rest of the way.
They took a 14-9 lead after one quarter and led 26-20 at halftime.
The Blackcats took a 33-27 lead into the fourth quarter and managed to hang on for the tough victory.
Mike Crowell, a 6-foot-5 junior, led Fredericktown with 25 points. Dustin Bess added 11 points.
Ste. Genevieve (13-14), was led by Eric Schrader's 10 points. Kory Faulkner added nine points for the Dragons.