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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

SCC and Sikeston squads set for third meeting in nearly 40 years

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 ~ Updated 5:57 PM

Scott County Central's Bobby Hatchett attempts to drive past Sikeston's Juqualin Wiggins (left) and Janeil Hatchett (right) in last year's game. All three players return for this year's match-up. Last year Sikeston defeated Scott Central 86-85. David Jenkins, Staff
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Just two points separate the Scott County Central Braves and the Sikeston Bulldogs in their previous two games against one another -- a 68-67 overtime win for Scott Central in 1971 and, arguably one of the best games in Southeast Missouri history, an 86-85 win for Sikeston just last year.

With their third meeting in nearly 40 years set for tonight at the Show Me Center, what could possibly be in store?

"People was talking and kind of got this game going," Scott Central head coach Kenyon Wright said. "They wanted to see it again and it ought to be a good atmosphere. Our kids are excited to play and I'm sure they (Sikeston) are excited to play too."

Pressure from fans and the message boards was yet again a factor in alternating their respective schedules into possibly seeing another epic like last season. And who could blame them?

"Last year was such a great atmosphere and a good game from start to finish," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "This year will be two good teams that will compete hard. We're really looking forward to it."

Last year's contest pitted the small school favorites against the, although significantly larger, 'underdog' Bulldogs. Seniors like Michael Porter and Cal Lane for Sikeston versus SCC seniors Drew Thomas, Randy Timmons and Desmin Williams -- along with a few lower classmen -- were the star-power that lifted that game into unseen heights at the local high school level. Over 7,100 fans packed the Show Me Center for the Sikeston victory.

"There were quite a few seniors involved last year that turned out to be great high school basketball players," Holifield said. "This year, both teams have several kids that played in that game. From an experience perspective that had to be great situation for those kids to be in."

Two of those in particular that are returning for the rematch are Scott Central's Bobby Hatchett and Otto Porter.

Both Hatchett and Porter have carried the Braves to their 17-2 record. They lead Scott Central, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1, in scoring and to say they have been a handful for other teams would be an understatement.

"Bobby's as good as any guard in the state and Otto is as good as any post-player in the state," said Holifield. "We've definitely got our work cut out for us. They are two great players."

Although Hatchett and Porter have been the anchor for the Braves, Holifield believes the cast around them has the ability to be the difference maker for the rematch.

"Year-in and year-out it seems like they always have balance throughout their lineup and this year is no different," Holifield said. "The times I've seen them play their supporting cast does a wonderful job too. It's a situation where you can't let those other players beat you who are very capable. That's what makes them such a great team."

With the focus probably drawn more towards Hatchett and Porter, players like Trey Johnson, Dominique Porter, Calvin Porter and Bryan Freed are the one's that Wright said have to step up.

"The last few games they haven't stepped up and taken over that other scoring role," Wright said. "Hopefully, this last week-and-a-half has shown our kids that somebody needs to step up and take over a little bit more of the scoring. Whenever they focus on those two (Porter and Hatchett), they need to step up and hit some shots when it's time."

Sikeston may be on the opposite end of the depth spectrum.

With nearly seven players hovering around the 10 points per game line, the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 2 in Class 4, have a significant depth advantage and seem to rarely miss a beat when substitutions are made.

"They've got some seniors that have played big roles in the past couple of years," Wright said. "Juqualin Wiggins and Eli Jackson have played big roles in my opinion and they have some younger kids behind them that are stepping into their roles. They're just a good, solid basketball team all around. They don't have just one player that jumps above the rest of them. They just play so well together and they're well coached."

Wiggins and Jackson, both seniors who played a big part in last year's victory, lead the Bulldogs in scoring. Wiggins leads the team with 13.4 points per game while Jackson adds 11.6. Will Holifield adds 11.4 points per game with 51 percent shooting from 3-point range, Janeil Hatchett adds 10.2 and Darryl Howard chips in with 8.8 a game and is the defensive specialist with 81 steals on the season.

"They have five go-to-guys and any of those guys can score," Wright said. "It gives them more weapons. That could definitely be an advantage or you can look at it like if you get in a game like last year and you don't have a go-to-guy either.

"You just try to sustain it," Wright said about their depth. "We're used to playing five or six kids most of the time but I've got some kids on the bench that can step in and play. They're not going to be as quick or as flashy as some of the guys they have but I've got some kids that are ready to play."

Sikeston and Scott Central come into the rematch with a few eerily similar stats.

The Bulldogs are 16-1 while SCC is 17-2. The Braves average 82.3 points per game as a team while Sikeston averages 79.3. They both emphasize a defensive priority as the full-court press and simply putting pressure on the ball allows each team to get a majority of their points.

They also share a few flaws as well. Both are not great shooting teams either from the field or the free throw line. They also share a loss to the Notre Dame Bulldogs.

Whether the Bulldogs win back-to-back games or the Braves avenge last season's loss, it should be a great game and a great atmosphere for the rematch.

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