They have depth.
The Bulldogs used that depth to punish the Jackson Indians on Tuesday night with an 86-46 victory.
A total of 10 players contributed in the win with points, but possibly more important is what they contributed on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs rarely lost a step in their daunting pressure defense when someone off the bench was put on the court.
"That's our key to success," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "We have to keep pressure on the basketball. We have to continuously keep pressure on the ball and with nine kids you can do that."
Sikeston (14-1) picked off the Indians 19 times throughout the game all while using different players at certain positions in the defense. Sometimes it would be junior starters Darryl Howard and Janeil Hatchett running the front end of the press or sophomore Terry Jamison and senior Martez Evans would come off the bench to do the same thing. Most of the time it ended the same way; a steal and a bucket on the other end.
"Their pressure got to us," Jackson head coach Darrin Scott said. "We lost concentration and when you make two or three turnovers against them, that equals about eight to ten points."
Unlike the Bulldogs, Jackson was reeling in the depth department on Tuesday night. the Indians were out five players including some starters.
Junior Bobby Clark and 6-7 sophomore John Meyer shouldered the load for Jackson on the inside with 14 from Clark and 10 from Meyer. Junior Tyler Rhodes scored 12 points all from behind the arc with four 3-pointers.
"We had John Meyer and Bobby Clark playing and we couldn't take them out of the game," Scott said. "There was some stretches were they got a little fatigued on the rebounding end, especially late in the game. Sikeston is so athletic, so quick and they get up and down the floor so fast. They're just really hard to guard."
Jackson (11-8) stepped out to a 5-0 lead three minutes into the first quarter but it didn't take long for the Bulldogs to grab it. A 7-7 tie would eventually be broken after Juqualin Wiggins snatched an offensive rebound and then put it back up for the basket at the 3:34 mark in the first quarter. An 11-4 run shortly followed as Sikeston held a 20-12 lead at the quarters end.
An 18-point halftime lead by the Bulldogs ballooned to a 30-point lead by the end of the third quarter. A 3-pointer from Will Holifield capped off a 12-2 Sikeston run and gave the Bulldogs a 25-point advantage with three-and-a-half minutes left to play in the quarter.
Sikeston was up 66-36 going into the fourth quarter where the Bulldogs out-scored Jackson 20-10.
"We wanted to compete for four quarters," Scott said. "I thought the first half we competed. Once they got the lead up to 20 or something, our effort didn't drop, but our intensity and our concentration dropped a little more and that's when it became a blowout."
In addition to their defensive play, the Bulldogs got a substantial lift from their bench on offense as well. Sikeston received a hefty 30 points from their bench while the recently short-handed Jackson got five from theirs.
Corey Porter led the bench with nine points while Jamison and Evans chipped in seven and six respectively. Eldridge Gibson and Kil'Ron Coleman added five and three as well.
"Our bench is pretty solid," said Holifield. "It's someone different every time we turn around that steps up. Hopefully, we'll keep plugging away."
Hatchett led all scorers with 19 points and has recently became a viable option in the Bulldog's offense. Since the new year, Hatchett is averaging 13.4 points a game.
"He's really been playing well," Holifield said. "He keeps great pressure on the basketball defensively. Hopefully, he can continue to do so."
Both Howard and Holifield each gave Sikeston 11 points apiece.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Friday night when they host the Kelly Hawks at the Sikeston Field House.
SIKESTON (86) -- Juqualin Wiggins 9, Eli Jackson 6, Darryl Howard 11, Janeil Hatchett 19, Martez Evans 6, Terry Jamison 7, Will Holifield 11, Eldridge Gibson 5, Corey Porter 9, Kil'Ron Coleman 3. FG 37 FT 5-8 F 12. (3-pointers: Howard 1, Hatchett 1, Holifield 3, Porter 1, Coleman 1. Fouled out: none.)
JACKSON (46) -- Caleb Newcomer 2, Taylor Williams 3, Tyler Rhodes 12, Cole Pingel 3, Law Duncan 2, Bobby Clark 14, John Meyer 10. FG 18 FT 3-4 F 9. (3-pointers: Williams 1, Rhodes 4, Pingel 1, Clark 1. Fouled out: none.)
Sikeston 71, Jackson 31
JACKSON -- The Sikeston junior varsity Bulldogs improved their unbeaten record to 16 wins on Tuesday night with a 71-31 victory over the Jackson Indians.
A 16-point first quarter lead extended to a 45-17 Bulldogs advantage by halftime giving Sikeston a firm grasp on the remaining half.
Eldridge Gibson led the Bulldogs with 23 points. Keldon Warfield added 15 while Vashawn Ruffin chipped in 10.
SIKESTON (71) -- Markeith Bratcher 4, Vashawn Ruffin 10, David Foster 2, Caleb McGee 9, Terry Jamison 3, Eldridge Gibson 23, Keldon Warfield 15, Kil'Ron Coleman 5. FG 29 FT 9-15 F 8. (3-pointers: Ruffin 2, McGee 1, Coleman 1. Fouled out: none.)
JACKSON (31) -- Braxton McDowell 14, Brannon Wright 7, Garon Evans 3, Logan Green 6, L. Stephens 1. FG 12 FT 1-2 F 11. (3-pointers: McDowell 4, Wright 1, Evans 1. Fouled out: none.)