The Bulldogs won on a night that the school honored head coach Jim Bidewell for being inducted into the Missouri Coaches Hall of Fame.
Portageville outscored the Eagles 30-17 in the first half with solid man-to-
man defense and some tight play from NMCC.
"We had a lot of nervous energy early in the game," said NMCC head coach Travis Day. "It was a big game and we had a packed house. The guys played nervous and we dug ourselves a big hole in the first half."
The Bulldogs held the Eagles to only four points in the first quarter, as the Eagles shot 2-for-14 from the floor good for 20 percent. Lance Price scored all four points in the first for NMCC.
Sophomore D.J. Birdwell jump started Portageville off the bench with a quick 3-pointer and a two-point field goal in the first quarter. The Bulldogs led 12-4 after one quarter.
NMCC fell behind even further early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run and led 19-4 with 3:55 to play in the first half.
"The kids were ready to play tonight," said Bidewell. "We haven't played a good home game in awhile. We were ready to show the home fans that we can play some quality basketball."
The Eagles got a boost from Dijuan Waters off the bench late in the second quarter. Waters got an offensive rebound and scored the putback right before time expired in the half.
The Bulldogs led 30-17 going in at halftime.
In the third quarter, Portageville got solid bench production to maintain a sizable lead. NMCC cut into the lead at the buzzer on a long 3-pointer by Leslie Williams. Heading into the fourth quarter, Portageville led 46-31.
"Our bench gave us a good effort tonight," said Bidewell. "We got into a little foul trouble and got some kids hurt, but we didn't miss a beat once our bench players got in there. The game was kind of sloppy in spells. Coach Day has his team playing hard and they are tough to beat. We almost let them right back in the game because we stopped rebounding late. Better days are ahead for coach Day and his bunch."
The Bulldogs increased their lead to start the fourth with a 5-0 run to lead 51-31 with 6:50 left in the game.
Senior Marcus Greene went to work in the paint for Portageville in the fourth. Greene had eight points in the quarter, as the Bulldogs continued to win the battle in the paint.
"I think we kind of guarded flat-footed in the paint," said Day. "They just jumped over us and scored with ease at times. Portageville is a good team, but I feel like we gave them a lot that we could have prevented. We played a lot better in the second half compared to the first. We played like we do in practice. We started to attack the basket and play some defense. The guys just couldn't recover from the early hole we dug for ourselves in the first half."
NMCC could never get the deficit under 10 points in the fourth quarter, even though they outscored Portageville 16-10 after the early Bulldog run in the quarter.
Price was the only Eagle to score in double figures with a game-high 19 points, with five rebounds and three steals. Waters had eight and Williams netted seven points off the bench. Justin Beasley led the Eagles with eight rebounds and chipped in six points.
The Eagles did have 10 steals as a team, forcing Portageville to commit 16 turnovers for the game.
Greene led a balanced Portageville attack with 18 points and five rebounds. Freshman Kony Ealy had a good all-around game with 10 points, a game-
high 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
Senior Trey Mosby had a quite, but effective nine points and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs' bench outscored NMCC's 17-15 with Birdwell, Leonard Boyd, T.J. Smith, Byron White and Terrale Jones all making contributions.
Portageville outrebounded the Eagles 36-28 and dished out 11 assists as a team, compared to three for NMCC.
These two teams will meet again in the first round of Class 3, District 1 which will be held at NMCC.
"This is the truth," said Bidewell, "if they beat us in the first round, don't call it an upset. Not to say we are not going to try and win, we definitely are, but we cannot take them lightly at their place."
In the junior varsity contest, NMCC improved to 17-3 with a 59-36 victory over Portageville.
NMCC (4-18) travels to Kennett to battle the Indians for their last regular season game on Tuesday.
Portageville (16-6) hosts Scott City for their last game of the year on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Richland 82, Woodland 59
ESSEX -- The Richland Rebels got 31 points from Cameron Whittaker and used a strong third quarter to pull away from the Woodland Cardinal Friday night in an 82-59 victory.
The Rebels (10-11) led 21-19 after one period of play and just 39-35 at the half, but outscored Woodland 26-7 in the third to set up the win.
"We were right there with them," said Woodland coach David Mirly, whose team falls to 7-13 on the year. "Our defense was getting stops and getting defensive rebounds, but they switched their defense to a half-court trap and we didn't handle it very well.
"And we had no answer for Cameron Whittaker."
Whittaker was joined in double figures by Tommy Stafford (12 points) and Drew Thornton (11), while Seth Gaines hit five 3-pointers and finished with 27 points in the losing effort.
Chad Gaines and Caleb Lee added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Cardinals.
In junior varsity action, Woodland improved to 13-7 overall and 4-2 in conference play with a 53-48 decision over the Rebels.
Josh Hahn and Kyle Reynolds scored nine points each in the win and Logan McCarty added 10.
Richland was led by Hakeem Whittaker's 12 points and Jon McGarity's 10.
Both teams are in action Tuesday, with Richland hosting Puxico and Woodland playing at Oran.