(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield may have finally saw what he's been waiting for out of his Bulldogs squad on Thursday night.
Making the most out of their smothering, pressure defense, the Bulldogs coaxed 18 steals from the No. 5 seed Jackson Indians en route to a 70-36 victory in the semifinals of the SEMO Conference Tournament at the Sikeston Field House.
"We actually played well tonight," Holifield said. "We had good pressure on the basketball and I thought we could dictate the tempo with that. It's so important for us to play that style of basketball.
"I was pleased with our player's performance tonight."
Sikeston, who is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, got out to a hot start after Corey Porter gave his team an early 6-5 lead. The Bulldogs went on a 15-4 run soon after giving them a 23-13 advantage after the first quarter.
The 10-point lead stood at halftime but the Bulldogs raced out again in the third quarter with another 15-4 run. They closed the third frame by scoring eight straight points giving them a commanding 58-31 lead.
The Bulldogs kept their home winning streak alive against the team that gave them their last home loss. The Field House streak continues at 40 wins in-a-row, but Holifield and his team doesn't seem to pay too much attention to the streak.
"To be quite honest, the kids never say anything about it," Holifield said. "They just play. I didn't even know about it until it was in the paper the other day. Our players really seem to play well here."
Porter and Janeil Hatchett led Sikeston with 13 points apiece. Hatchett also led the Bulldogs with 10 rebounds. Darryl Howard added eight points as well as seven steals and five assists.
Jackson's Bobby Clark and Brad Clary both scored 15 points to lead the Indians.
Sikeston will play the Cape Central Tigers in the tournament championship tonight at 8:30 p.m.
JACKSON (36) -- Caleb Newcomer 2, Zach McDowell 2, Bobby Clark 15, Brad Clary 15, Jon Meyer 6. FG 14, FT 8-10, F 10. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (70) -- Kil'Ron Coleman 6, Eldridge Gibson 4, Janeil Hatchett 13, Darryl Howard 8, Vashawn Ruffin 4, Terry Jamison 7, Will Holifield 10, Keldon Warfield 5, Corey Porter 13. FG 30, FT 4-5, F 15. (3-pointers: Coleman 2, Hatchett 1, Jamison 1, Holifield 2. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON -- Cape Central's Andrew Williams sank three free throws with no time left on the clock to give the Tigers a 48-47 win over the Notre Dame Bulldogs in the SEMO Conference semifinals on Thursday night.
Notre Dame's Jacob Tolbert gave the Bulldogs a 47-45 lead with seven seconds remaining by hitting 1-of-2 free throws.
After Tolbert's second free throw attempt missed it's mark, Cape Central hit Williams on a quick outlet pass down the sideline. Williams was clipped on the arm while his game-winning, 3-point attempt went up. The buzzer sounded just after, putting Williams on the free throw line with no time left.
T.J. Tisdale led Cape Central with 23 points while Tolbert's 17 was a team-high for Notre Dame.
Cape Central outscored the Bulldogs 20-13 for a comeback win in the fourth putting them in the tournament championship game against the Sikeston Bulldogs tonight at 8:30 p.m.
Notre Dame will play Jackson at 7 p.m. for third place.
NOTRE DAME (47) -- Jonathan Lynch 8, Nathan Meystedt 14, Joseph Siebert 3, Jacob Tolbert 17, Cody Heisserer 5. FG 14, FT 15-21, F 21. (3-pointers: Lynch 2, Siebert 1, Tolbert 1. Fouled out: none.)
CENTRAL (48) -- Andrew Williams 12, T.J. Tisdale 23, James Lane 4, Garan Evans 2, Justin Espinoza 2, Zach Boerboom 5. FG 17, FT 12-22, F 16. (3-pointers: Williams 2. Fouled out: Boerboom.)
SIKESTON -- The Poplar Bluff Mules defeated the Dexter Bearcats for the 11th straight time on Thursday night in the consolation semifinals of the SEMO Conference Tournament.
Dexter, who last defeated the Mules 102-92 in 1999, trailed only 27-26 in the third quarter but Poplar Bluff (2-4) went on an 11-2 run to end the frame and then scored the first six points of the fourth to put the game away. Dexter (0-4) could never get the lead in single after the run, losing the game 49-36.
Poplar Bluff was led in scoring by Jake White who finished with 20 points while Kendrick McCain added 11.
Alan Flannigan paced the Bearcats with 17 points, but was held without a field goal in the second half.
Poplar Bluff will take on Charleston for the consolation title today at 5:30 p.m.
DEXTER (36) -- Alan Flannigan 17, Jake Cox 6, Jake Lee 6, Chase Young 3, Jordan Fitts 2, Logan Robey 1, Tyler Miller 1. FG 11, FT 11-21, F 17. (3-pointers: Cox 2, Young 1. Fouled out: none).
POPLAR BLUFF (49) -- Jake White 20, Kendrick McCain 11, Ike Anders 8, Nick Shrum 3, Michael Griggs 3, Jake Rathbun 2, Austin Goodrich 2. FG 16, FT 11-13, F 18. (3-pointers: White 3, Anders 2, Griggs 1. Fouled out: none).