O'FALLON -- The second-seeded Sikeston Bulldogs advanced to the championship game of the 17th Annual St. Dominic Christmas Tournament on Tuesday night with a 66-48 victory over third-seeded Fort Zumwalt South.
Sikeston (11-0) plays top-seeded Wentzville Holt tomorrow at 7:30 for the championship of the tournament. Holt defeated fourth-seeded Parkway North 59-51 in the other semifinal game.
"It will be a very tough opponent -- Holt is an outstanding team with a great player," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "We will have to play well to beat them."
Like they did in a first-round rout over Warrenton, Sikeston jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. The Bulldogs quickly set the tone of the game with full-court pressure which left Zumwalt South scrambling early as Sikeston led 23-10 after one quarter of play.
"We were able to create some turnovers and set the tempo for the game," Holifield said. "They have really good guards and I wasn't for sure going in that we could create turnovers, but fortunately things went well for us."
Sikeston was able to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the second quarter, leading by as much as 16 points, but Zumwalt South was able to stay in the game with solid perimeter shooting and settling down against the Bulldog pressure, trimming the Bulldog lead to 37-26 by halftime.
"They're a quality team -- they made shots and you just have to give them credit," Holifield said. "They composed themselves a little bit after we shocked them with our quickness early in the game."
Sikeston started the third quarter strong and built a 44-26 lead, forcing Zumwalt South to burn its fourth timeout of the game. After that, Zumwalt South tried to slow the tempo down, holding the ball patiently on offense and working for a clean shot.
They rallied somewhat to close out the quarter, cutting the Sikeston lead to 46-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
"They were controlling the tempo and they were patient in what they were doing and they weren't turning the ball over," Holifield said. "And when we turned it over a few times ourselves and kind of got out of sync there for a little bit."
Zumwalt South got to within 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they would get as Sikeston finished the game strong to pull away for the comfortable victory.
"I'm glad how we finished up," Holifield said. "I thought our players did a good job of handling the game situation down the stretch."
Sikeston was led in scoring by senior Janeil Hatchett's 14 points. Backcourt mate Darryl Howard added 12 points with five rebounds, four steals and four assists. Junior point guard Terry Jamison chipped in with 11 points. Senior Will Holifield sank three 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
Senior forward Corey Porter only scored four points, but he had a good all-around floor game, finishing with eight rebounds while battling Zumwalt's massive 6-foot-8, 280-pound center Kris Weinstock. Porter also had five assists and three blocked shots.
|*Fort Zumwalt South||10||16||8||14||--||48|
ZUMWALT SOUTH (48) -- Cater 15, Alexander 14, Swopshire 13, Weinstock 4, Light 2. FG 13, FT 10-16, F 13. (3-pointers: Alexander 2, Cater 2. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (66) -- Janeil Hatchett 14, Darryl Howard 12, Terry Jamison 11, Will Holifield 9, Eldridge Gibson 6, Corey Porter 4, Markeith Bratcher 4, Kil'Ron Coleman 3, Caleb McGee 2, Keldon Warfield 1. FG 15, FT 12-17, F 19. (3-pointers: Holifield 3, Hatchett 2, Jamison 1, Coleman 1, Howard 1. Fouled out: none).