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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Bulldogs' speed, shooting too much for Holt

Friday, December 31, 2010

Sikeston players and fans celebrate after Will Holifield (33) hits one of his seven 3-pointers in the championship game of the St. Dominic Christmas Tournament on Thursday night in O'Fallon. Chris Pobst, Staff
O'FALLON - Just about every opponent Sikeston faces has bigger, stronger and taller players.

But it simply does not seem to bother the Bulldogs as they counter those disadvantages with superior speed, quickness, depth and skill.

Sikeston needed everything in their arsenal on Thursday as the Bulldogs toppled Wentzville Holt, one of the St. Louis area's best teams, 78-68 in the championship game of the St. Dominic Christmas Tournament.

"I think it's a great tournament and it's well run with great facilities," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "This is a great win for our program and I was proud of the way our kids stepped up against some good competition."

The second-seeded Bulldogs were totally out-sized by the top-seeded Indians, which featured a towering frontline led by 6-foot-6 Southern Illinois signee Dantiel Daniels and a pair of 6'7" forwards.

But as they have done all season and throughout the tournament, the Bulldogs forced the tempo of the game and turned it into a full-court contest, forcing Holt to try to keep up with Sikeston's speed.

The Bulldogs (12-0) also continued their hot perimeter shooting, draining 10 3-pointers in the game led by Will Holifield's unconscious 7-of-9 shooting from downtown.

But perhaps one of the more surprising turn of events in the game was how Sikeston was able to stay on the boards with Holt, which fell to 8-1 on the season.

The Bulldogs finished with 37 rebounds led by slightly built 6-foot-1 senior Janeil Hatchett, who grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.

"(Sikeston has) just have fearless kids," Holt coach Chuck Williams said. "A lot of times because we are big we rely on our size a little too much instead of boxing out the correct way. But those kids they have are some fighters. They're relentless. Despite our size, they did an awesome job."

After a back-and-forth first quarter, Holt took a 14-13 lead after a James Robinson basket.

But Sikeston took control of the game in the second quarter. Keldon Warfield's basket off a nice feed from Hatchett gave the Bulldogs a 19-18 lead with 3:55 left in the second quarter, erasing Holt's last lead of the game.

The Bulldogs led by as much as eight points but Robinson scored a lay in just before the buzzer sounded, cutting Sikeston's halftime lead to 30-24.

Early in the third quarter Holifield's 3-pointer matched Sikeston's biggest lead of the night up to that point at 35-26.

Daniels started to take over from there as he scored 11 of his game-high 26 points in the quarter to trim the Bulldogs' lead to 46-43 heading into the final period.

The Bulldogs had held Daniels to just six points in the first half.

"We were giving up a lot of size, but our kids work hard and we predicate on positioning and trying to take advantage of what we do," Holifield said. "You have to give Corey (Porter) and Keldon credit -- they really battled the big guy."

With momentum clearly on the Indians' side, the Bulldogs appeared to be in trouble in the final period.

Following a Holifield 3-pointer, Daniels got loose for a thunderous two-handed slam and then Orlando Jackson converted a steal and layup to tie the game at 49-49.

Following a pair of Terry Jamison free throws, Robinson answered with a drive inside to tie the game once again.

Holifield then buried, yet, another 3-pointer, one of four he hit from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, to thwart Holt's comeback.

From that point on, every time Holt seemed to be on the comeback, Holifield would bury a 3-pointer or Jamison would step up and calmly sink a pair of free throws.

Jamison was 12-of-12 on free throws in the fourth quarter. Holifield scored 14 of his team-high 23 points in the final period.

"He really hit big shots for us when we needed them -- he's put in a lot of time and has worked hard and it's great to see that pay off," Coach Holifield said.

Holt got no closer than six points in the final two minutes of the game. The Bulldogs made 18-of-23 from the charity stripe in the contest.

"With Sikeston you get what you see," Williams said. "I don't think they're going to change their gameplan based on anybody. You're going to see the 2-2-1 press. You're going to see the 2-3 zone. I knew they would key in on Daniels. Really it's a whole bunch of boys with a lot of heart. They play well together. There's not a selfish soul on that team. And the coach does a wonderful job of bringing fresh legs in. We're not, for the most part, as deep as they are. I knew they would come out that hard against us and I tried to prepare my boys for that.

"To me that's championship basketball -- that's a sectional game you just saw. It doesn't get much better than that. Fortunately it wasn't a sectional game so we can learn from this."

Robinson followed up Daniels by scoring 25 points for Holt.

Sikeston's Darryl Howard had 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Porter had nine points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks while doing the bulk of the defensive work on Daniels.

Hatchett added five assists and six points to go with his big rebounding day.

"You know he's so undersized, he's giving up six or seven inches and 50 pounds in there, and he really got on the glass," Holifield said. "We won the basketball game on the offensive and defensive rebounding end of it. I thought he did a really good job inside."

Hatchett, Holifield and Howard all made the all-tournament team.

The victory marks Holifield's 200th as Sikeston's coach, more than any other coach in Bulldog history.

"This was a big win against a quality team," Holifield said. "This is a great tournament and we're proud of our kids with the way they played this week."

131716 32 --78
14 10 19 25 -- 68

SIKESTON (78) -- Will Holifield 23, Darryl Howard 15, Terry Jamison 12, Corey Porter 9, Caleb McGee 7, Janeil Hatchett 6, Kil'Ron Coleman 2, Eldridge Gibson 2, Keldon Warfield 2. FG 15, FT 18-23, F 19. (3-Pointers: Holifield 7, Howard 1, McGee 1, Porter 1. Fouled out: none).

HOLT (68) -- Dantiel Daniels 26, James Robinson 25, Lamar Colvin 6, Tevin Brown 6, Sam Stix 4, Orlando Jackson 1. FG 25, FT 12-24, F 19. (3-pointers: Brown 1, Colvin 1. Fouled out: Robinson).