"It was early in the game and it wasn't over for us," he said. "We knew we could get back in the game. That was that fighting mentality -- don't give up."
Sikeston (16-1) eventually came crawling back and would hand the Mules their second loss to the Bulldogs this season in a 73-54 victory.
"We came out flat in the first quarter," Hatchett said. "You can charge that to being a week off. They're a rebounding team, they're big and you know they're going to play hard every game."
Poplar Bluff senior Greg Coble was the spark that ignited the Mules' first quarter surge. He scored six of their first eight points to open the game as Sikeston had trouble finding their shot and holding on to the ball. Sikeston committed six turnovers in the first three minutes of the opening quarter.
"I knew we would spurt, we just hadn't played in 10 days and I think it showed a little bit," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said about the first few minutes. "We came out, not really flat, but our timing wasn't there."
The Bulldogs were ice cold from the field from the start. They hit 5-of-12 in the first quarter and was 1-of-4 from the free throw line as well. Poplar Bluff, however, hit their first six shots and were 7-of-11 from the field. But, it all changed with one basket. Sikeston ended the Mules' 12-0 run after Hatchett scored a bucket with 4:45 left to play in the quarter.
Hatchett's bucket, which he was fouled on, gave the Bulldogs life again. From that point, they outscored the Mules (16-4) 12-5 and found themselves down by just five points at the end of the quarter. By the end of the second quarter, the score was tied at 31 apiece and Sikeston had just added one turnover to their total of six to begin the game. Poplar Bluff's total rose to 13 at the half.
"We got a couple steals and a little momentum going," said Hatchett.
The momentum that got the Bulldogs into a tie game at halftime was halted again by Coble. Coble sank four consecutive jumpers from the high-post to go on a personal 8-2 run. He finished with a game-high 18 points as Sikeston was trying to limit the post presence of seniors Jay Raulston and Eljie Johnson who burned the Bulldogs in their first contest with a combined 42 points. Raulston had 30 of those himself.
"He was killing us," Holifield said about Coble. "Our emphasis was to try and take Jay and Eljie away inside. You have to pick your poison and tonight he really played well."
Coble's last jumper gave the Mules a 39-33 lead which would be the last time they would hold one. A steal and a bucket by Eli Jackson followed by an up-an-under layup by Hatchett gave the Bulldogs a 40-39 lead with 3:15 left in the third quarter. Sikeston finished the third with a 20-3 run.
"From that point on we had great energy," said Holifield. "Eli stepped up and created a ton of turnovers. Janeil, Darryl Howard and Terry Jamison on the front of the press were putting good pressure on the basketball which is our key.
"I was really proud of Janeil's effort. I thought he played great there for a spurt."
Jackson and Hatchett scored 17 of the Bulldog's 22 third quarter points. Hatchett had nine while Jackson had eight. Sikeston obtained a 53-42 advantage heading into the final eight minutes and was never challenged again.
"I'll be honest," Poplar Bluff head coach Lamont Frazier said, "this one hurt. This one hurt the players. This one hurt the coaches. Because, we're a better team in the end than what showed. But, Sikeston is a good team. Don't take anything away from them."
Just like the third quarter, Jackson and Hatchett led the Bulldogs in the scoring column with 16 points apiece in the end. Jamison added 12 off the bench.
Jordan Marler had 14 for the Mules as Raulston and Johnson were held to six and two respectively.
This is Sikeston's seventh win over the Mules in their last eight games between each other.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Portageville.
POPLAR BLUFF (54) -- Greg Coble 18, Zach McAnulty 2, Lee Abraham 6, Jay Raulston 6, Jordan Marler 15, Nick Shrum 2, Jake White 5. FG 22 FT 4-10 F 18. (3-pointers: Abraham 1, Marler 4, White 1. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (73) -- Juqualin Wiggins 7, Eli Jackson 16, Darryl Howard 8, Janeil Hatchett 16, Terry Jamison 12, Will Holifield 9, Corey Porter 5. FG 29 FT 11-22 F 17. (3-pointers: Hatchett 2, Jamison 1, Holifield 1. Fouled out: none.)
Poplar Bluff 34
The Sikeston junior varsity remains unbeaten this season as they took care of the Poplar Bluff Mules 66-34.
A seven-point lead by the Bulldogs after the first quarter quickly ballooned to a 41-12 lead at halftime.
Eldridge Gibson led the Bulldogs with 14 points in the win while Vashawn Ruffin added 12. Caleb McGee added one point but also contributed six steals and six assists while Markeith Bratcher grabbed eight rebounds and chipped in three points.
POPLAR BLUFF (34) -- D'marcus Patterson 6, Ike Anders 12, Joey Bloodworth 4, David King 2, Logan Keeney 2. FG 15 FT 3-14 F 16. (3-pointers: Anders. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (66) -- Tyler Anderson 6, Markeith Bratcher 3, Vashawn Ruffin 12, David Foster 1, Caleb McGee 1, Quentin Washington 3, Jacob Wilson 3, Terry Jamison 4, Lucas Napier 4, Eldridge Gibson 14, Keldon Warfield 9, Kil'Ron Coleman 6. FG 24 FT 16-23 F 19. (3-pointers: Coleman 2. Fouled out: none.)