The junior got the Sikeston offense going in the first quarter, pumping in 11 points on his way to a game-high 27 in the Bulldogs' 87-58 win over the rival Bluejays.
"I had to get the hungry mindset," Hatchett said of his first quarter. "We were still upset for the Notre Dame loss, but we have to come out fighting."
Due to a scheduling error that saw the Bulldogs omitted from the Poplar Bluff Showdown, Sikeston hadn't played since their 66-61 loss to Notre Dame on Dec. 18 and the rust showed early. The Bulldogs committed several turnovers that the Bluejays turned into points on their way to a 9-0 start.
"We knew our situation," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield of the slow start. "We were a little sloppy, a little sluggish. We were standing but our kids responded, came out and worked hard and were able to move the ball."
Hatchett quickly got the Bulldogs back on track. Making his first start of the season for the injured Niquavious Dixon, Hatchett hit a three-pointer with 5:22 left in the first quarter to end the Bulldogs' scoring drought. After a Charleston basket gave the Bluejays a 11-3 lead, Sikeston went on a 10-0 run tying the game at 11-11 on a traditional three-point play from Hatchett with 3:27 left in the first quarter. Darryl Howard then put the Bulldogs on top for the first time 13-11 with a basket at 3:13.
Charleston took a 15-13 lead on a Deonte Jones basket but after a Corey Porter bucket, Hatchett put the Bulldogs on top for good 17-15 with 1:08 remaining in the first. Sikeston extended the lead to 19-15 at the end of the quarter and would never trail again.
"We played as well as we could that first quarter but we couldn't sustain it," said Charleston coach Danny Farmer. "They were too strong and too athletic for us."
Sikeston continued to build on their advantage in the second quarter, leading by as many as 18 late in the half, 41-23. The Bluejays finished the half on a 11-4 run, stopped briefly by a disturbance in the stands with 16.2 seconds remaining in the second quarter that sent both teams to the locker room for a short while. (See sidebar)
Charleston continued to close in on the Bulldogs in the third quarter, slicing the lead to 45-40 after back-to-back dunks by Jones. But once again Sikeston responded as Will Holifield hit a three-pointer to stop the bleeding followed by a Hatchett basket to put the Bulldogs back up 50-40.
"We had been working on the dribble weave and I came around, Corey (Porter) set a good pick and I was able to get open and knock it down," Will Holifield said of his three-pointer.
After a Charleston basket made the score 50-42, Sikeston put the game away with a 20-4 run to finish the quarter.
"We couldn't sustain it," Farmer said of Charleston's third quarter comeback. "(Sikeston) got to hitting the boards and everything and for us to keep up we needed to shoot the ball better. We just didn't have the offensive punch to keep up with them."
Sikeston was led by Hatchett's 27 points but he did more than just score. The junior also finished with six assists and five rebounds.
"He had a great game and did a great job in a leadership role tonight," Gregg Holifield said. "He has the capabilities of being an outstanding player and I was very proud of his effort."
The Bulldogs placed four players in double figures on the night with Juqualin Wiggins scoring 16 points while Will Holifield and Terry Jamison added 10 apiece. Wiggins added eight rebounds and four steals and Howard finished the night with seven points and seven steals.
"We played as a team," Hatchett said. "We moved the ball and we got it where it needed to go and got open looks. We got points in transition. We just played a good game."
Charleston (5-8) was led by Jones' 21 points as Devonte Johnson added 10.
The Bluejays will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to NMCC while Sikeston (8-1) will have several games next week, starting off with Fredericktown at home Tuesday night. The Bulldogs will host Blytheville on Wednesday night before traveling to Scott City on Friday and returning home on Saturday afternoon to take on Henry County, Tenn.
"We need to play," Gregg Holifield said. "We have a bunch of games coming up so hopefully we can get some consistency."
Notes: At halftime, the Sikeston cheerleaders received their state championship rings and the Sikeston Bums made a donation to the American Cancer Society.
Sikeston rolled to a 74-40 win in the junior varsity game Friday night to improve to 9-0 on the season.
The Bulldogs were led in scoring by Eldridge Gibson's 14 points. Gibson was 7-of-7 from the floor and also had four rebounds and four steals. Caleb McGee finished with 13 points and seven steals and Keldon Warfield finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
CHARLESTON (58) -- Damonte Farmer 3, Ryan Parham 8, Jerry Carter 2, Gregory Tucker 4, Claude Armstrong 2, Deonte Jones 21, Demarques McKeller 2, Devonte Johnson 10, Fabreizio Wright 6. FG 26, FT 2-4, F 17. (3-pointers: Jones 3. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (87) -- Juqualin Wiggins 16, Eli Jackson 8, Darryl Howard 7, Janeil Hatchett 27, Martez Evans 2, Terry Jamison 10, Will Holifield 10, Eldridge Gibson 2, Corey Porter 5. FG 34, FT 15-24, F 13. (3-pointers: Holifield 2, Howard 1, Hatchett 1. Fouled out: none).