(Photo David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs played host to the Oran Lady Eagles Wednesday night, racking up a victory over their guest, 59-51.
The game began slowly, as Oran led after the first quarter, 8-7, despite playing nearly the entire first eight minutes without offensive threat Callie Kielhofner, who picked up two quick fouls in the first 24 seconds of action.
In the second quarter of play, both offenses picked up their scoring, as Monika Gray-El led the way for the Lady Bulldogs with seven points. Sikeston piled in 16 points in the second quarter.
For the Lady Eagles, Ellen Sikes and Cheyenne King combined for 10 of Oran's 15 second quarter points, as the game went to the break tied at 23 apiece.
In the fourth quarter, after the 19th lead change of the game, the Lady Bulldogs finally gained full control with Gray-El taking the reins, as they held on for the win, 59-51.
Gray-El finished up with a triple-double, recording 33 points, 24 rebounds and 12 blocks.
"We started out playing too fast of a pace in the first half," said Sikeston head coach Homer Jackson. "Their defense was getting their hands on the basketball. Our threat is an inside-out game."
"We made adjustments in the second half," he added. "Inside, Monika just demands attention whether she has the basketball or not."
Jackson added that the attention that Gray-El received gave Amber Minner open looks around the goal.
Minner finished as the second-leading scorer for the Lady Bulldogs with 16 points.
In the losing effort, the Lady Eagles had three players in double-figures. King finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Sikes had 12 points, while Kielhofner ended with 11 points.
"I wasn't really disappointed with the way we played tonight," said Oran head coach Adam Friga. "We had a game plan tonight, and our kids executed it. They did what I asked them to do. A couple breaks here or there, and we win the ball game."
Oran played with a short bench, as regular Taylor Tenkhoff is out for three weeks battling a knee injury.
"It's definitely hurting us right now," said Friga. "That's another defender and a good rebounder for us. She can defend a guard or a post player."
Oran falls to 8-10 with the loss, while Sikeston improves to 6-13.
Up next for Oran is the Charleston Lady Bluejays, tonight at Oran. Sikeston's next contest is on the road, tonight against the Scott City Lady Rams.