Sikeston led 10-9 after one quarter but Delta turned up the defensive pressure to win 61-31 but the victory was overshadowed by the Lady Bobcats' Taylor Smith scoring her 1,000th point late in the fourth quarter.
Smith came into the game needing 15 points to reach the milestone and Sikeston was determined to make the senior earn her points, especially in the second half. Sitting on eight points at halftime and needing seven to reach 1,000, the Lady Bulldogs employed a defense that often times saw two girls guarding Smith.
"We wanted to honor her getting 1,000 points but we didn't want to just lay down and give it to her," said Sikeston coach Homer Jackson. "We wanted to challenge her and not play bush league basketball and make her earn it because she is a very good basketball player."
The Lady Bulldog defense visibly bothered Smith, but the senior was able to keep her composure and hit the front end of a two-shot free throw late in the fourth quarter to earn the milestone. After the second free throw the game was stopped and Smith was presented a basketball and congratulated by her coaches and teammates.
"I had two people on me the whole fourth quarter and I was getting frustrated but I got it eventually," said Smith, a three-year starter for the Lady Bobcats. "I was nervous the whole game though. I told myself not to be but there was just that pressure that I had to get it and I'm thankful I did."
"(Coach Jackson) did a nice job," said Delta coach Mark Verticchio. "Competition is good and I give Coach Jackson nothing but credit. He did a nice job. All he told me was that he wanted to make her earn it and our fans may not have liked it but there is nothing wrong with that."
Unfortunately for Sikeston while the Lady Bulldogs were focusing on Smith, the rest of the Lady Bobcats were finding open shots and hitting them.
"They put two on Taylor and I told the girls that I wish every team we played the rest of the year would have been here because when they did that, the lead went from nine to 25 because the other girls picked up the scoring," Verticchio said. "That's what we need to do."
It looked early as if Delta was going to have much more to worry about than Smith's milestone as Sikeston lead 10-9 after one quarter and only trailed 21-20 midway through the second quarter. However, Delta picked up their defense and finished the quarter on a 12-4 run, taking a 33-24 advantage into halftime.
Rebounding helped the Lady Bulldogs stay in the game in the first half as Sikeston outrebounded Delta 19-13 and finished the game with a 35-31 rebounding edge.
"I thought we did a very good job (rebounding)," Jackson said. "We've been practicing boxing out. The goal was when the ball was in the air begin your box out then because we've been waiting until the ball hit the rim."
Delta turned up the defensive intensity in the second half, forcing 14 Sikeston turnovers in the third quarter alone outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 17-1 in the quarter and turning a nine-point halftime lead into a 50-25 advantage. For the game Sikeston turned the ball over 37 times.
"The second half it was all downhill," Jackson said. "(Delta's) defense was getting their hands on the ball more and then when we did get it, we turned the basketball over and it's hard to win when that happens."
Verticchio said defense was a topic he addressed at halftime.
"They got jumped at halftime a little bit about the lack of defense," Verticchio said. "We won two tournaments in a row, our tournament and then our conference tournament, and we've got a little big headed since then."
The turnovers continued for Sikeston in the fourth quarter as Delta outscored the Lady Bulldogs 11-6 in the final quarter.
Delta (11-4) was led in scoring by freshman Machela VanGennip's 22 points while Smith added 15. Smith added eight rebounds while VanGennip and Kendra Burnett pulled down seven apiece.
Asia Liggins led Sikeston with 14 points and 19 rebounds. Taneshia Pulley added nine points and five rebounds.
Delta won the two-quarter junior varsity game 13-11.
Delta will be back in action Thursday when they take on Chaffee while Sikeston (3-9) will travel to New Madrid County Central.
DELTA (61) -- Ashley Glaus 4, Taylor Smith 15, Katie Brucker 4, Kendra Burnett 6, Machela VanGennip 22, Tori Burton 2, Samantha Bartels 5, Courtney Burton 3. FG 23, FT 9-16, F 6. (3-pointers: Smith 3, VanGennip 1, Bartels 1, Burton 1. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (31) -- Keyonna Blissett 4, Asia Liggins 14, Jerrrica Taylor 2, Taneshia Pulley 9, Jani Ivory 2. FG 14, FT 3-7, F 14. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)