(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs' win total reached double figures on Wednesday evening, the same day that the first prep ranking came out with the Bulldogs ranked fourth amongst all Class 4 teams. Sikeston's 10th win of the season came at the hands of the visiting Blytheville Chickasaws by a final score of 73-59.
Although the Bulldogs managed a double-digit victory, the score wasn't indicative of how close the game was down the stretch.
Sikeston mounted a four point lead after one, 19-15, as six Bulldogs made their presence known offensively.
Blytheville, who has spent several games this season without Chandrick Mitchell, came out with matched intensity against the home team. Mitchell returned this season as the only member on the squad with varsity experience from a season ago.
Sikeston opened their lead up in the second quarter, outscoring the Chickasaws 26-16. Senior Juqualin Wiggins busted out offensively in the second, scoring 11 points for the Bulldogs while sophomore guard Terry Jamison added seven on two field goals and a 3-pointer.
As the third quarter began, the 45-31 lead that Sikeston carried into half, grew for a moment, but Blytheville charged back and pulled within nine as the quarter came to a close, 55-46.
Both clubs squandered multiple opportunities at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, and in the end the Bulldogs came out on top by outscoring the Chickasaws 18-13 to earn the win, improving their record to 10-1 on the year.
Both Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield and Blytheville head coach David Hixon called the game 'physical.'
"They were really aggressive," said Holifield of the Chickasaws. "We knew they would be. They came in and were very physical.
"At times I thought we played well, especially in the second quarter and we were fortunate to hang on and get the win."
Hixon said he was proud of how his kids fought against the Bulldogs.
"They were so physical," Hixon said of Sikeston. "They got to the line a whole bunch. I'm not for sure how many they made, but my kids got in there and hung in there.
"We felt like if we just kept it close enough in the fourth quarter and got a break here or there, that something good would happen. I think we missed a few free throws when we could've chipped away and could've got it close enough to make it interesting."
The two clubs combined to go 27-of-59 from the charity stripe in the contest.
"We'll work at it and get better," said Holifield of Sikeston's free throw shooting. "It just takes concentration, focus and mechanics. It's a point of emphasis where we'll continue to work on trying to get better at it."
Wiggins led all scorers with 21 points on the night while tacking on 15 rebounds, 10 defensive. Eli Jackson and Jamison finished with 11 points apiece for the Bulldogs while both Darryl Howard and Corey Porter chipped in eight points apiece.
Howard and Janeil Hatchett combined for nine of the Bulldogs 14 steals in the contest.
Danny Lee led Blytheville (2-7) in scoring with 12 points while Jimmy Aldridge added 10.
Sikeston still has two games to play before their week is completed, beginning with a road contest against Scott City on Friday, followed by a home game against Henry County, Tenn. on Saturday.
"We're on the road against Scott City Friday night and we need to go there and play well," said Holifield. "Then, we get Henry County on Saturday and from everybody I've talked to, they're very complimentary of them. I know they'll be a tough team."
BLYTHEVILLE (59) -- Ke'Andre Diamond 2, Jimmy Aldridge 10, Brandon Thompson 4, Charles Henderson 4, Marques Walker 9, Devione Sherman 6, Kyle Walker 4, Danny Lee 12, Chandrick Mitchell 8. FG 23, FT 10-12, F 20. (3-pointers -- Walker 2, Sherman 1. Fouled out -- Thompson, Mitchell)
SIKESTON (73) -- Juqualin Wiggins 21, Eli Jackson 11, Darryl Howard 8, Janeil Hatchett 5, Martez Evans 2, Terry Jamison 11, Will Holifield 7, Corey Porter 8. FG 27, FT 17-39, F 17. (3-pointers -- Jamison 1, Holifield 1. Fouled out -- none)
In junior varsity action, the Bulldogs won in impressive fashion, 65-32. Sikeston carried a 20-point lead into the break, 38-18, and kept rolling for the duration of the contest.
Keldon Warfield and Eldridge Gibson each had big games for the home team as Warfield scored 16 and pulled down 11 rebounds while Gibson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Caleb McGee was the only other Bulldog in double figures as he finished with 10.
The Chickasaws were led by Jimmy Aldridge who scored 10 in the loss.
BLYTHEVILLE (32) -- Ke'Andre Diamond 2, Jimmy Aldridge 10, Stroughen 3, Raymond Golphin 2, Devione Sherman 3, Moore 4, Greg McKillon 2, Miles Hooks 4, Coleman 2. FG 13, FT 2-4, F 14. (3-pointers -- Aldridge 2, Stroughen 1, Sherman 1. Fouled out -- none)
SIKESTON (65) -- Vashawn Ruffin 6, David Foster 1, Caleb McGee 10, Terry Jamison 8, Eldridge Gibson 15, Keldon Warfield 16, Kil'Ron Coleman 9. FG 26, FT 10-17, F 11. (3-pointers -- Ruffin 1, McGee 1, Coleman 1. Fouled out -- none)