(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
BENTON -- The state-ranked Kelly Lady Hawks had their way with the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night.
Tight defense and quick scoring led to a big lead after the first quarter which was all they would need as they went on to dispatch of the Lady Bulldogs 63-26.
Kelly started the game on a 10-1 run which would be double by the end of the first quarter to a 20-3 lead.
Steals and turnovers would ultimately by the doom of the young Sikeston team. The Lady Hawks stole the ball 30 times throughout the game. They would force a total of 40 turnovers overall. Londyn Backfisch swiped a team-high eight steals while Debra Hall stole the ball seven times. Backfisch also had six assists which were mostly passes to Hall underneath the basket.
"We can make the passes, it's just the decision making process. That's the next step for us."
Hall had 22 points and five steals before the half. Backfisch had eight points and six steals before the break as well. Kelly held a 37-9 lead at the half.
Hall finished with more points than Sikeston totaled. She had 29 points while Backfisch added 17.
Despite having a huge advantage in the running clock fourth quarter, Sikeston seemed to pull together and grab a few steals of their own that led to layups at the other end. The Lady Bulldogs stole the ball six times alone in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. They went on to outscore the Lady Hawks 11-7 in the final period.
"Overall, we had some bright spots," said Jackson. "It's difficult not to get down when you look at the score and your down by so many points. In spite of that, I think the girls tried to respond and tried to play each play instead of playing the score. That's another mental thing we're trying to do now, not play the score and play each play."
Sikeston was led by Keyonna Blissett and Asia Liggins who each had five points a piece. Tanesha Pulley chipped in with four points and six rebounds. Four other Sikeston players chipped in with points as well.
The Kelly Lady Hawks may have won the contest on the court, but there was another battle between the coaches that Sikeston would win.
Before the game just as a friendly competition between the two coaches, Kelly announcer Danny Tetley offered the crowd an opportunity to vote for who they thought was the best dressed coach between McQuerter and Jackson as they each donned a three-piece suit.
Jackson won the contest.
"I think that's a fallacy," Jackson said jokingly. "You could witness that."
"Let it be known that my wife thinks I'm the best dressed at the game tonight," McQuerter joked. "That's the good part about basketball. It's not about who wins or loses, it's about the girls. It's about them having a great time and it's about the coaches not taking it too seriously and thinking that the only thing that's important is who wins the game."
Kelly won the junior varsity game 54-6.
Sikeston's next game will be at the Field House against Caruthersville on Monday while Kelly's next game will be at Kelly in the Scott/Mississippi Conference tournament on Tuesday.