The Lady Bearcats opened the game on a 11-0 run on their way to a 66-41 win over Naylor in the semifinals of the Lady Royals Classic.
"It was real disappointing how we came out," said Naylor coach Gene Deckard. "We came out nervous and we passed up some shots that we saw in the third quarter that we are capable of hitting."
Both teams were plagued by foul trouble in the first half as the two teams combined for 22 first half fouls. Naylor was impacted the most from the physical play as Courtney Sullivan and Cheyenne Hollowell both had four fouls at the break.
"This is definitely the most physical team we've played all year," said Dexter coach Chad Allen. "We were a little ragged. We got in foul trouble early and that is one of our weaknesses is if we get in foul trouble it can cause us some problems. We didn't lose our composure, we still fought hard until the end and ended up pulling this game out."
While several of Dexter's starters were forced to the bench in the first half with foul trouble, the Lady Bearcats bench stepped in and provided valuable minutes.
Naylor tried to make a game of it in the second half as Holly Deckard hit two 3-pointers to start the third quarter, cutting Dexter's lead to 37-21. However, Dexter's Kaitlyn Heil answered with a 3-pointer of her own and Naylor could never get closer than 18 points the rest of the game.
"I thought we played them tit-for-tat in the second half," Deckard said. "If we would have come out ready to play in the first half, we felt it would have been like a 10-point ballgame or even better."
Naylor (5-1) stayed in the ballgame by utilizing a swarming 1-3-1 defense that seemed to confuse the Lady Bearcats at times.
"We didn't score against the 1-3-1 very well," Allen said. "We did hit some 3s but we didn't get very much at all inside so I thought they did a very good job defensively. We just kept on plugging away until we ended up extending the lead a little more."
Dexter ended up hitting seven 3-pointers in the game and were 17-of-29 from the free throw line.
"Both halves we ended up going to the free throw line more than (Naylor) did, but definitely didn't execute when we got to the line," Allen said.
Dexter was led by Heil's 23 points. The senior also added eight rebounds and five steals while Ashlee Taylor scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Point guard Jill Temples scored 10 points while dishing out five assists and Abbie Warren also chipped in 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
Deckard pumped in 16 points for the Lady Eagles while pulling down 10 rebounds.
Dexter (11-0) took on Portageville Saturday night in the championship game as the Lady Bearcats were going for their third-straight title. Results can be found in Monday's edition of the Standard Democrat.