A few quick alternating possessions and just like that Sikeston saw their lead begin to snowball. A 10-9 lead then became 17-9, and with just over five minutes left in the second quarter it grew to 27-13. By halftime the Bulldogs led 38-20.
The main reason that Sikeston gained their 18 point lead was the rate that they produced points off of steals in the backcourt. Big contributers to the stellar defense and point production were Daryl Howard and Eli Jackson. Howard had just two steals but his pressure set-up four steals by Eli Jackson. Howard said that his squad turned up the pressure when they needed to in the first half.
The second half fared no better for the Eagles as they played the turnover game once again in the third quarter. Sikeston then jumped out to a 45-29 lead as the fourth quarter began, where they pulled ahead and outscored NMCC 19-15 en route to the 64-44 championship victory.
The game didn't end without a little bit of excitement however, as all-stater Michael Porter threw down a big dunk with 1:29 left to get the crowd roused up and on their feet in excitement. Porter pointed to the Bleacher Bums while hanging on the rim and the officials quickly handed out a technical foul, sending Porter to the bench as he fouled out of the game. Porter said that he wasn't trying to be cocky to the opposing team or be disrespectful, but wanted to leave his mark on Sikeston basketball for a long time to come.
"I was looking at that trophy and it was my last year, my last chance, (and I thought) let's get it," said Porter. "That's my motto for this year. No disrespect to the other teams or anything, but my last year I wanted to go out with a bang, and we did, we won it. It's the first time Sikeston's brought this home in three years."
Porter finished the game with a game-high 23 points and added eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. He also drew two charges while on defense in the paint.
Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said that he was glad his team pulled out the victory and that he thought they put together an overall solid game.
"We played well at times I thought," said Holifield. "We came out with good energy and got the lead, and I thought we played well in the first half to build a nice lead."
When asked about his point guard, Juqualin Wiggins, and how he handled the pressure up front from NMCC's guards, Holifield said that Wiggins provided his team an opportunity to get the victory.
"I think he did a great job," said Holifield of Wiggins. "They (NMCC) were very aggressive and they really get up in you and work hard. They do some good things and they were on us a little bit, but I thought we did a real nice job."
NMCC head coach Travis Day said that his squad just couldn't pull out a victory after committing so many turnovers.
"We had too many turnovers and just didn't give ourselves an opportunity (to win)," said Day. "When you turn it over like that against a good team then you just put yourself in a downfall."
Day said that the defensive pressure and full court press was expected coming into Friday's contest against the Bulldogs.
"I knew they (Sikeston) were going to give it (the press) to us," Day said. "(It was probably) just because they watched us turn it over against Poplar Bluff. I knew they were going to get in that 2-3 zone and pack it in a little bit. I think it was us turning it over more than it was their press."
Friday's meeting between the two teams won't be the last time they'll see each other this season however, as Day and the Eagles are circling February 17 on the calendar for their rematch with the Bulldogs. As for the remainder of the week, NMCC will square off with Notre Dame on Tuesday and Doniphan on Friday.
Another factor in the loss for NMCC (4-2) was the fact that the Bulldogs held the Eagles' two big men, Kony Ealy and Josh Minner, to a combined 23 points in the game. Ealy scored 12 on just two field goals (8-for-13 at the free throw line) while Minner added 11.
As for Sikeston's offense, Cal Lane was next in line behind Porter with 17 points and he recorded a game-high 14 rebounds. The Bulldogs had 31 total rebounds in the win.
This week Sikeston (5-1) will travel to Ste. Genevieve on Monday and will host Perryville Tuesday and Notre Dame on Friday.
"It'll be a tough week," said Holifield. "Everybody's good and they all come out ready to play us."
Poplar Bluff 55, Notre Dame 46
In the second contest of the evening, the Notre Dame Bulldogs fell to the Poplar Bluff Mules by a final score of 55-46. Notre Dame actually controlled the scoreboard at the break as they led the Mules 30-26.
The second half was the difference maker as the Bulldogs gave up their lead quickly in the third quarter and Poplar Bluff seized the opportunity to provide the come-from-behind win. The Mules outscored Notre Dame 15-5 in the third quarter and 14-11 in the fourth to pull-out the third place prize in the tournament.
Riley Raulston led the way for Poplar Bluff with 16 points including four 3-pointers. Chris Kilgore added 13 in the win.
Austin Greer had 23 points in the Notre Dame loss.
Jackson 55, Cape Central 43
In the consolation game of the tournament the Jackson Indians defeated the Cape Central Tigers 55-43. Cape Central's only bright spot was the second quarter where they outscored Jackson 9-7.
The Indians outscored the Tigers 14-7, 17-11 and 17-16 in the other three quarters as they took home the consolation prize.
Marcus Harris provided most of the offense for Jackson with 17 points while Andrew Shrum added nine.
Josh Harris scored 18 for Cape Central in the loss.