(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Not a prolific scorer, Tyanne Townsend is sometimes an overlooked member of the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs basketball team. However, she was anything but overlooked on Senior Night Friday.
Townsend, Sikeston's lone senior, scored eight points, grabbed 14 rebounds and collected six steals while helping lead the Lady Bulldogs over Saxony Lutheran 50-38.
"Tyanne has been the catalyst that starts us and she's been the glue that holds together and that's why we chose her as our team captain," said Sikeston coach Homer Jackson. "She has tremendous leadership on the floor and is what I call a quiet leader and leads by example. When she speaks, people listen. She is a true student-athlete."
Townsend made her presence felt from the start as her defense in the Lady Bulldogs' full-court press created several Saxony Lutheran turnovers and helped Sikeston jump out to an 18-8 lead after one quarter. The senior also scored four points in the first quarter.
"I'm not a really good shooter but I'm a good defender so that is my main goal (to get steals)," Townsend said. "I like pressing a lot."
Jackson was happy to see his team come out of the gate strong after last night's draining game against Charleston where they rallied from a 20-point deficit before falling 70-60.
"I think Tyanne, being her senior night, all the girls fed into that and refueled us as far as adrenaline and being excited about the game," Jackson said. "We were down by 20 against Charleston and came back to within five and lost by five baskets. That is a good sign to play against a good team like that on the road and come back and play like this."
The Lady Bulldogs continued their stellar play in the second quarter, outscoring the Crusaders 19-6, including a 13-4 run to start the quarter, helped by six Saxony Lutheran turnovers. The Crusaders turned the ball over 13 times in the first half as Sikeston led 37-14 at halftime.
"We made bad choices in shots and decided to take the hard pass instead of the easy pass they were giving us," said Saxony Lutheran coach Tali Beaudean. "When we took the easy road it worked and we got a basket. We have a tendency to make it too hard on ourselves. We don't take what we're given and then we are in a hole that we have to crawl out of."
What looked to be a runaway for Sikeston quickly turned into a game again in the third quarter as Saxony Lutheran, behind Brooke Valleroy, made a run. Valleroy hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the half and the Crusaders went on a 13-0 run to start the quarter as Sikeston went dry from the field. Valleroy scored eight points in the quarter and finished with a team-high 13.
While the Crusaders were making their run, the Lady Bulldogs missed all 14 shots they took in the third quarter and didn't score until a Keyonna Blissett free throw with 23 seconds remaining in the third. Blissett made another free throw with 14 seconds left but Sikeston's lead had been trimmed to 39-27.
Beaudean said she told her team to step up their defense at halftime.
"I am proud of (the girls)," Beaudean said. "I told them in the locker room that is the best thing we can take from this is that they did not give up. To come back from that and not make it the worst case scenario, down by 30 with the running clock. We got back to 10 but it just wasn't quite enough."
Sikeston's Asia Liggins took over in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of her team's 11 points in the quarter, many off of offensive rebounds. While the Lady Bulldogs' shooting struggles continued, they dominated the glass, outrebounding Saxony 57-22.
"I thought Asia did a good job rebounding," Jackson said. "I thought Jerrica (Taylor) and Taneshia (Pulley) did good rebounding and we're counting on Keyonna to get the long rebound."
Liggins finished the game with a game-high 20 points and pulled down 16 rebounds as Jackson said they were working with her to be more versatile.
"We are trying to get Asia acclimated to playing the forward and the guard, like a point guard mentality, because she can rebound and start the break," Jackson said. "We are trying to get her to that level, not just for this year but for the future as well."
Sikeston also got 12 points from Keyonna Blissett while Pulley scored four points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
But the night belonged to Townsend, who played her final game on the Field House floor.
"I've been playing since the eighth grade but I think this year is the best season we've had," Townsend said. "I will have a lot of memories."
The senior said she hopes their is more memories to come as the Lady Bulldogs improved to 6-12 on the season and our playing some of their best basketball of the season.
"I definitely think we're playing better," Townsend said. "I think we could've played like this at the beginning but I think the way we are playing now we can probably win our first game of districts."
Sikeston dropped a heartbreaker to Saxony Lutheran 18-17 in a two quarter junior varsity game.
SAXONY LUTHERAN (38) -- Brooke Valleroy 13, Kelsey James 3, Regan Obermann 2, Julia Steffens 8, Angel Stone 2, Abby Hartmann 2, Natalie Mueller 8. FG 17, FT 2-7, F 18. (3-pointers: Valleroy 2. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (50) -- Tyanne Townsend 8, Keyonna Blissett 12, Darquesha Howard 2, Asia Liggins 20, Jerrica Taylor 4, Taneshia Pulley 4. FG 21, FT 8-18, F 15. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none).