(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
DEXTER -- A lopsided first quarter in favor of the Dexter Bearcats set the tone for the home teams' first Class 4, District 1 win on their new home floor.
A 14-3 run to begin the game against the No. 6 seeded Fredericktown Blackcats on Monday night put things in motion for a 73-41 win for the No. 3 seed Bearcats at the Bearcat Event Center.
Senior Brandon Stoker scored seven of the first 11 points for the Bearcats who jumped all over Fredericktown with hounding pressure. The Blackcats were forced into nine first quarter turnovers.
"Coach just told us that if we pressure them they make turnovers," Stoker said. "That's pretty much how we got all of our points at the beginning of the game, steals and layups."
Stoker scored 10 points in the first quarter, including two conventional 3-point plays to get the Bearcats moving forward. Dexter jumped out to a 22-7 first quarter lead that eventually led to a 34-19 lead at the half.
Dexter had nine steals as a team in the first half which almost all went for two points on the other end.
"We jumped out pretty early and was playing well and was playing with a lot of intensity," Dexter head coach Rob Nichols said.
The Bearcats outscored Fredericktown 20-12 in the third quarter to take a 55-31 lead heading into the final frame which led to the win.
With the late-season emergence of starters like Stoker and the play of Bryn Hester off of the bench, the Bearcats are starting to get more scoring from other places than the hands of junior Alan Flannigan.
The 6-5 post-man has been the leading scorer for the Bearcats all season and is beginning to like the fact that teammates of his are starting to find their stroke.
"It's fantastic having other guys step up and take some of the scoring load," Flannigan said. "Brandon has had a lot of confidence and has been shooting the ball real well. Bryn has stepped up and knocked down shots for us also.
"That stretches defenses and opens up the inside. Which, as a big guy, I like."
Stoker, who finished with 15 points, also knows the importance of players like himself and role players taking some of that pressure off of Flannigan.
"It's helps him," said Stoker. "If we step up and score 10 or 15 points a game, it opens him up and he can get his points."
Flannigan took that philosophy and turned it into a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds. Senior Jon Bowman added 12 points that included three 3-pointers and six steals.
"We've got a lot of guys that have really improved over the course of the season," said Nichols. "All of those guys have scored well at times this year. Those guys are capable of scoring they just had to learn to believe that they could."
This may be happening just at the right time for the Bearcats as the win over the Blackcats puts them in a match-up against the No. 2 seeded Sikeston Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
"They beat us pretty bad earlier in the year, but you know, I think it's a winnable game," Flannigan said. "We've said all week that we just have to go in believing that we can do it."
A big factor heading into their game against the Bulldogs will be taking care of the ball. Something they showed signs of doing against Fredericktown. In every quarter but the fourth, the Bearcats committed just three turnovers a quarter. They had four in the final eight minutes.
"That's our key. Especially Wednesday night," said Stoker. "We've got a chance if we don't turnover the ball."
"We have to handle the ball well," he said. "I think we did that for the most part tonight (Monday). There were spots where we didn't but overall, if we handle the ball and handle their (Sikeston's) pressure we'll be alright."
Dexter (15-11) will face Sikeston (18-3) on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.
FREDERICKTOWN (41) -- Luke Cureton 3, Keith Jackson 5, Coley Gray 2, Eddie Harris 2, Ryan Gifford 11, Codee Stamp 8, Brock Mills 4, Tyler Hagy 6. FG 19 FT 1-4 F 17. (3-pointers: Jackson 1, Gifford 1. Fouled out: none.)
DEXTER (73) -- Brandon Stoker 15, Ryan Windham 6, Gary Summers 4, Bryn Hester 4, Alan Flannigan 21, Logan Robey 3, Jon Bowman 12, Walt Phillips 3, Taylor Jarrell 4, Brandon Moore 1. FG 24 FT 19-27 F 10. (3-pointers: Stoker 1, Flannigan 1, Robey 1, Bowman 3. Fouled out: none.)
Perryville 48, Ste. Genevieve 44
In the first district game on Monday night, the Perryville Pirates escaped the Ste. Genevieve Dragons with a 48-44 win.
A tie game at the end of the third quarter eventually fell in favor of the Pirates in the final quarter. They out-scored the No. 5 seeded Dragons 14-10 to make up the four-point difference.
The No. 4 seeded Pirates were led by Jared Thieret's 18 points. Bryce Weibrecht added 13.
Brendon Wieler paced the Dragons with 18 points, which included four 3-pointers, while Jacob Turek chipped in 12.
Perryville will now face the No. 1 seed Notre Dame Bulldogs on Wednesday night starting at 6 p.m.
STE. GENEVIEVE (44) -- Brock Meyer 5, Trevor Billings 5, Jacob Kent 6, Jacob Turek 12, Brendon Wieler 18. FG 17 FT 4-4 F 12. (3-pointers: Meyer 1, Turek 1, Wieler 4. Fouled out: none.)
PERRYVILLE (48) -- Ross Moldenhauer 9, Wade Lawrence 8, Bryce Weibrecht 13, Jared Thieret 18. FG 19 FT 9-11 F 11. (3-pointers: Moldenhauer 1. Fouled out: none.)