(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs got the 3rd Annual SEMO Conference tournament kicked off in grand fashion on Monday night as they dominated the Cape Central Tigers in their opening round match-up 74-30.
"I thought we came out with good energy," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "We were working hard. It's going to take a little time. We're just going to get better with time I think. I was proud of our effort tonight."
The No. 1 seeded Bulldogs started out the night with a 17-1 run which enabled them to outscore the No. 8 seeded Tigers 25-9 after the first quarter of play.
Sikeston's Cal Lane and all-stater Michael Porter each brought the home crowd at the Field House to their feet with a couple of dunks by Porter and an alley-oop pass to Lane from Juqualin Wiggins to close out quarter number one.
From that point on, Sikeston never looked back.
The Bulldogs hounding defense proved to be the difference early in the ball game as Cape Central gave up 17 turnovers that Sikeston often capitalized on.
The Tigers were allowed only four points throughout the entire second quarter from the Bulldogs as they were able to put up 21 in the period.
"We have a lot of young guys out there that are just learning and they're getting better," Holifield said. "We just have to keep on working on our weaknesses. We showed signs of improvement tonight."
Sikeston also was helped by the hot shooting from behind the arc in the first half as well. Darrell Howard shot three 3-pointers and made three 3-pointers in the first half along with Will Holifield who connected for two of his own. Niquavious Dixon also drained one as well. The Bulldogs were 6-for-8 from the 3-point line in the first half alone.
Howard led all scorers with 17 points and also had three steals. Porter was right behind Howard with 16, while Lane added 12 points and Eli Jackson chipped in 10.
Wiggins earned a double-double with his passing and rebounding abilities against the Tigers by having 14 assists and 10 rebounds to go along with his two points from the free throw line.
Cape Central's Zack Boerboom led the Tigers with 10 points while Rick Russell added eight points and seven rebounds.
Sikeston (3-1) will renew their rivalry with the No. 4 seed Notre Dame Bulldogs on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the semi-final round.