Sikeston's Latoya Gipson attempted a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the waning seconds, but the shot fell short as the buzzer sounded.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-14) were behind by as much as seven points in the second half and still trailed by five with 35 seconds left, but the team stayed focused, combined with some missed free throws by Twin Rivers, to have a shot to force overtime.
Sikeston coach Homer Jackson said he drew up a play for Amber Minner to attempt the 3-point shot, but Twin Rivers double-teamed her, forcing her to pass off to Gipson at the top of the key.
Gipson had a clean look at the goal, but the shot was well short.
"In that situation you want Amber shooting the ball," said Jackson. "We designed the play for Amber, but she was covered and had to give it up. Latoya had a good look at it. Amber's unselfishness stands out to me. That's a big step for us of recognizing your teammate to bail you out."
Twin Rivers coach Jeff Walk was almost content to let Gipson take a shot, just as long as his team didn't foul.
"She had a good look," said Walk. "We just let her shoot it. She's got to make it to tie. We didn't want to foul her and her make it and then go to the line and win it with no time on the clock. The strategy was to foul as soon as they got it inbounds because we had one more foul to give. We didn't quite get that accomplished, but it worked out."
The two teams battled to a stalemate in the first quarter, tied at 11-11. Sikeston held the lead through the early part of the second quarter, but Twin Rivers responded to take a 20-17 lead at halftime.
The Lady Royals were able to get out on the fastbreak with some pin-point baseball passes Briana Johnson that led to layups.
"You've got to score some easy baskets however you can and you've got to take advantage of what the good Lord gives you," said Walk. "(Johnson) can flat throw that ball to the other end in a hurry."
Getting beat down the floor is a trend that Jackson wants to solve.
"For a while we had spurts where we did get back," said Jackson. "If we sprint back, it would discourage them from throwing the long pass. You encourage them to throw the long pass when you don't get back. We did a better job of that in the second half."
In the third quarter, Twin Rivers (13-6) led by as much as 29-22, the team's biggest lead of the night. Sikeston scored a basket before the end of the quarter to make it a five-point game.
The Lady Royals maintained control of the game through the fourth quarter, but Sikeston had one last push. Keyarra Blissett's offensive putback with 22 seconds left cut the lead to 37-34.
Twin Rivers then missed both free throws on the ensuing possession, setting up Sikeston's final chance.
"We held on and we made just enough free throws to stay ahead, and that wasn't very good," said Walk. "Sikeston's got a good ballclub. They rebound well and they've got a couple good ball-handlers. They're going to get better before the year's over with."
Gipson, Sikeston's leading scorer, struggled putting the ball in the hole. She only had five points and had numerous shots that just rimmed out.
"She's rushing just a little bit," said Jackson. "We try to give them a clock in their head. We're just rushing too much. We have to get that internal clock working and just slow down a little."
Blissett led Sikeston with 14 points while controlling the boards with 12 rebounds on the night. Minner followed up with nine points.
Johnson led Twin Rivers with 14 points.
Sikeston will play at Oran tomorrow at 6 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs won the junior varsity contest to improve to 3-12 on the season, defeating Twin Rivers 38-33.
Sikeston led 8-4 after one quarter and fell behind 18-14 at the half. But the Lady Bulldogs totally controlled the second half, out-scoring Twin Rivers 24-13 to pull out the victory.
Tasneem Ware led Sikeston with 20 points. Shelby Unger followed up with 12 points.