For the first half the Hawks battled the boards with the Bulldogs, but eventually in the final 16 minutes Sikeston took charge and headed south with the win.
"They played good, we played good," said Kelly forward Zach Essner after the game. "Actually I thought we played very well. We hit the boards very good in the first half, but in the second half we kind of went down. We didn't come out with the same intensity and we were just kind of dogged down a little bit."
Sikeston led by just four after the first quarter, 18-14, as Levi Felter and the Hawks pulled down both offensive and defensive rebounds. In the second quarter it appeared that the Bulldogs were going to pull away as they strung together a few baskets, including two 3-pointers by Will Holifield, but again the home team stood its ground and refused to go down easily. Heading into the break the score was Sikeston 32, Kelly 22.
In the second half, Cal Lane, Juqualin Wiggins and Darryl Howard provided most of the numbers for the Bulldogs as they spread out their points almost evenly to boost the red-and-black's offense. The trio eventually set Sikeston ahead on the scoreboard to a consistent double-figure lead that never saw single digits again. Lane put the visiting crowd on their feet with a huge dunk and Wiggins and Howard led the charge out front defensively as Kelly had no answer for the pressure.
The Hawks, however, felt as if they pounded it out for 32 minutes with another solid team in southeast Missouri and showed themselves what they're capable of in the long run.
"We weren't playing well before the ice storm," said Kelly head coach Nate Wills. "Somehow, I think we might be the only team in southeast Missouri that the ice storm unthawed. We were ice cold before this -- we lacked emotion, we lacked intensity and then the storm came, we had a little bit of a break and we got a chance to regroup and we came back and we've played two of the toughest teams (Scott Central and Sikeston) in southeast Missouri as hard as we can."
"We came out and did the best we could so I'm really proud of our effort," he added. "If we can sustain this kind of play for the rest of the year then we'll be okay come districts."
Essner reiterated what his head coach said.
"We went out and did our best," said Essner. "The score didn't show it, but we played pretty good."
Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said after the contest that his squad didn't play very well Thursday evening.
"We didn't have the intensity that we have to have," said Holifield. "But, Kelly, you've got to give them credit, they played great. Their kids worked so hard and they did a great job I thought. Their coach had them well prepared."
Sikeston's Michael Porter was held to just 10 points and eight rebounds, down from his season average, but Lane filled the void and provided 14 points while Howard and Holifield each added 12 points apiece.
Wiggins added seven points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for the Bulldogs in the win.
As for the home team, Felter led the way with a game-high 17 points while DeBrock added 14. Zach Essner finished with nine. The Hawks were 13-for-18 from the charity stripe.
Sikeston is now 14-2 on the season and will travel to Poplar Bluff tonight to take on the Mules. Kelly, now 9-9, will be on the road as well, in Delta to take on the Bobcats. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m.
Sikeston won the junior varsity game 80-22. Janeil Hatchett had 10 steals and eight assists to go along with his 13 points. Corey Porter led the way with 16 points.