DEXTER -- The New Madrid County Central Lady Eagles fell 77-30 to the Dexter Lady Bearcats in a SEMO Conference matchup at Dexter on Thursday.
Freshman Shameka Williams again provided the bulk of the scoring for the Eagles with a game-high 22 points.
"This young lady's been playing her heart out and this was another good showing for her," said NMCC coach Lance Tollison, whose Eagles fell to 2-4, 0-2 in the conference.
Dexter coach Gavin Miller also praised the talented first-year player.
"She's going to be a fine ballplayer," said Miller. "As a freshman, she is already an outstanding player. I wouldn't kick her off my team, that's for sure."
While Williams almost singlehandedly represented the Eagles' firepower, the much deeper Bearcats got double-figure scoring from three -- Amanda Dooley with 17, Ashlee Taylor with 13 and Hailee Finch with 11 -- and five to eight points from five others.
Dexter's press was effective in the first half, creating 19 Eagle turnovers.
"Again we didn't handle the press well at times and, not to make excuses, but my second-team all-region player, Heavenly Wren, didn't dress tonight," said Tollison. "She's a leader and that showed."
The Bearcats (3-1, 1-0) led 22-8 after the first quarter, 44-14 at the half.
"I didn't think they'd shoot that well outside, so we went to a 2-3 zone trying to pack it in on them," said Tollison, of the Eagles' first-half defensive scheme. "But they shot the ball very well."
Dexter, fundamentally sound and clearly superior in every facet of the game, rode Dooley's 11 straight points to open the second half as the lead escalated to 65-26 going into the final quarter with the mercy clock running.
The 5-11 junior showed her versatility, hitting a shot from 3-point range, a couple of mid-range jumpers, then posting up for several inside baskets.
"We're playing well, but we've got a long way to go," said Miller. "When I look at our district and our conference with Doniphan, Jackson, Poplar Bluff, Cape Notre Dame, Cape Central and Sikeston, we've got to get better. Then let's add Fredericktown and Perryville as district teams and it's not easy. But this is not a 100-meter dash, it's a marathon and you want to peak at the right time and you want to get better and better and better all year long and, hopefully, have something ready for that February run."
Tollison, searching for a positive, said, "We were just outplayed, but I thought we came back out and did a little better job with them in the second half."
Dexter's junior varsity defeated NMCC 45-33. Tameka Williams led the Eagles with 24 and Kaitlyn Phillips topped the Bearcats with 12.
The snowed-out girls consolation round of the Farmington Tournament will resume at Dexter on Saturday.
The Lady Bearcats and Cape Central tip off on Saturday at 3 p.m. Poplar Bluff and Notre Dame meet on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The two losers play for seventh place on Wednesday at 4 p.m., then the two winners play for fifth place at 5:
It gets no easier for the Lady Eagles who host the undefeated Doniphan Donnettes on Monday.