(Photo by Chris Moore, Staff)
CHAFFEE - The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs lost in the semifinals of the Lady Devils Invitational Tournament to the Kelly Hawks 56-36 on Thursday night at Chaffee.
Sikeston was its own worst enemy against the Lady Hawks by committing 25 turnovers in the game and going 6-for-23 from the free-throw line.
"We had 23 free chances to put points on the board and we didn't convert," said Sikeston head coach Homer Jackson. "We just gave away free points."
The Lady Bulldogs jumped out quickly on Kelly with a 6-0 run early and led 9-3 with two minutes to play in the first quarter. Sikeston was paced by senior Latoya Gipson who had six points in the first, as the Lady Bulldogs enjoyed a 11-7 lead after one quarter of action.
Despite the lead entering the second quarter, Sikeston had chances in the first quarter to extend the lead from the charity stripe, but failed to connect.
The Lady Bulldogs went 1-for-7 from the line and Gipson was 0-for-4.
Kelly turned up the pressure on Sikeston in the second, ending the quarter on a 13-2 run. Sikeston scored only two points in the last four minutes of the second quarter and committed nine turnovers for the quarter. Kelly led 28-18 heading into halftime. Debra Hall, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, led the charge for the Lady Hawks in the second quarter scoring 10 points.
Even though Sikeston trailed by 10 points at the break, the Lady Bulldogs were getting good looks at the basket. However, the good looks did not correlate on the scoreboard. Sikeston went 4-for-15 from the free-throw line in the first half and were outscored 21-7 in the second quarter.
"We were aggressive on the offensive end which is a good sign for us," said Jackson, "but we had problems finishing the play. At times we had problems with Kelly's pressure and they got to us. It is early in the season and hopefully we will learn from our mistakes."
Sikeston opened up the second half on a 5-0 run and cut the Kelly lead to 28-23 with five minutes to play in the third quarter. The Lady Hawks responded with crisp passing and solid cuts in the lane and built the lead back to 10 points, 40-30, after three quarters of action.
"Sikeston is a physical and athletic team and they use their size very well," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter. "We had to play patient as a team and play hard for four quarters. The girls are learning what it takes to play varsity basketball."
Senior Brittany Ponder took over for Kelly in the fourth quarter. The senior point guard had seven points in the final frame and got the Lady Hawks going early in the fourth with solid cuts through the lane for easy baskets. Behind Ponder, Kelly sprinted out to a 45-30 lead a minute into the fourth and never looked back.
"I thought the girls made some good passes and we got some good looks tonight," said McQuerter. "I give credit to Sikeston, they competed hard throughout and it was a good battle."
Jackson believes his young team is getting better and will put it all together as the season passes.
"We are a young team and the girls are learning how to play the game," said Jackson. "We made some foolish fouls out there tonight 30 feet away from the basket, but we are learning and we will improve."
Hall led Kelly with 14 points and eight rebounds. Ponder scored 13 points with three assists and three rebounds. Junior Sarah Ruff had a nice game with six points, six rebounds and a team-leading five assists.
Freshman Londyn Backfisch came off the bench for the Lady Hawks and contributed with nine points (seven in the second half) and six rebounds.
Gipson led Sikeston with a monster game of 23 points and 19 rebounds (11 offensive). The only thing that could slow Gipson down was her foul shooting.
On the night, Gipson went 3-for-15 from the foul line.
"Gipson is one of the top players in the area," said McQuerter. "She is very athletic and gets on the boards. I believe she has a bright future down the road."
Sikeston (1-2) will face Scott County Central in the third place game on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Kelly (3-0) meets the Delta Lady Bobcats in the finals at 4:30 p.m.
PORTAGEVILLE -- The Portageville Lady Bulldogs made quick work of the Kennett Lady Indians on Thursday night, winning 66-35 in a Bootheel Conference matchup.
Portageville (7-0, 2-0 Bootheel Conference) led 17-12 after one quarter and blew the game open in the second quarter after a 23-5 run to lead 40-17 at halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs out-scored Kennett 18-9 in the third quarter to lead 58
-26 heading into the final frame where the running clock was enforced due to the mercy rule.
Portageville was led by Kellye Penn's 17 points and 10 rebounds. Hannah Rone and Lauren Kellams each scored 12 points while Jeleea Drake added 11 points.
Kennett was led by Greenway's 13 points.
"I think our girls played really well," said Portageville coach Eric Ellerbrook. "They pushed the ball up the court and played really good defense. They're steadily improving every game."
Portageville will host Campbell on Monday at 6 p.m.
In the junior varsity game, Portageville defeated Kennett 50-39. Courtney Chamberlain and Desiree Buchanan each scored 12 points. Drake added 10 points.
Portageville's J.V. team is now 4-0 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.