(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The 'run and gun' style that has made Sikeston basketball what it is today, may have seeped into the Lady Bulldogs program.
Keeping teams flustered with a swarm of defensive pressure, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs are continuing to wear down opponents until pulling away in the second half. It's especially tough, when their opponents have to travel to the Sikeston Field House.
"I think we're finally getting adjusted to our court," Sikeston coach Matt Schonhoff said. "At the beginning of the year, we couldn't get adjusted for it and our playing is becoming more of a strength than a weakness.
"That's something our girls can put their hat on, is our conditioning," added Schonhoff. "We're just up and down, up and down and we're starting to get to where we can really compete on our court. It's hard for teams to come in if they're not used to our court."
The Lady Bulldogs (11-6) used the college-like court and their superior conditioning to their full advantage on Monday as they wore down the Twin Rivers Lady Royals for a 49-33 victory.
Asia Liggins poured in a game-high 20 points and pulled down another game-high of 11 rebounds. Vonteria Applewhite and Keyonna Blissett had a big hand in Sikeston's defensive prowess as each ended the game with seven steals apiece.
With the speedy Lady Bulldogs wreaking havoc on defense to the tune of 34 turnovers, Sikeston stormed out to a 7-0 lead to begin the first quarter as three steals and 3-for-5 shooting led to the early margin.
Although Twin Rivers was able to come back and tie the game at seven points apiece, the Lady Bulldogs regrouped to end the quarter on a 7-2 run for a 14-9 advantage after the first frame.
Sikeston extended their lead even further in the second quarter by outscoring the Lady Royals 13-6. The Lady Bulldogs picked up their defensive intensity too, grabbing nine steals in the quarter and forcing a total of 14 turnovers en route to a 27-15 halftime lead.
"I thought our pressure defense was good, our full-court press was good, we got a lot of deflections and a lot of steals," Schonhoff said.
Twin Rivers managed to out-pace the Lady Bulldogs in the third quarter as Sikeston managed only two field goals within the frame. Darqueshionna Howard nailed a 3-pointer while Blissett knocked down jumper.
The Lady Bulldogs went cold hitting just 2-of-11 shot attempts that included something that has been plaguing them the entire season -- missed layups.
"It was just the little things once again," said Schonhoff about their third quarter slump. "We have to count on making open layups. If we make open layups, this game is a foregone conclusion."
Sikeston picked up their scoring quickly in the fourth quarter however, hitting their first two shots as Liggins and Applewhite gave their team an 11-point lead again. The Lady Bulldogs never looked back after that as they held on for the win -- their fourth-straight.
"We tried to speed them up and on occasion we did," Schonhoff said. "We got a lot of turnovers but, we just have to capitalize."
Neither team shot well from the field as Sikeston struggled at 18-of-48 (37 percent) and Twin Rivers hit only 10-of-31 (32 percent).
Sikeston will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Oran.
TWIN RIVERS (33) -- Chelsea Crain 10, Tori Cole 3, Sydni Hester 2, Kelsey Snider 12, Crista Dillinger 6. FG 10, FT 10-17, F 15. (3-pointers: Crain 2, Snider 1. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (49) -- Tyangela Gibson 6, Keyonna Blissett 7, Darqueshionna Howard 8, Vonteria Applewhite 2, Asia Liggins 20, Shataria Flye 1, Taneshia Pulley 3, AnnQuaneisha Dennis 2. FG 18, FT 12-20, F 19. (3-pointers: Howard 1. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston junior varsity picked up a win on Monday night before the varsity contest as they defeated Twin Rivers 29-21.
The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 27-7 lead after the first half but, only managed two points in the last two quarters.
Fortunately for Sikeston, it was enough to hold off the Lady Royals.
AnnQuaneisha Dennis led the Lady Bulldogs with 10 points in two quarters of play. Aleah Little and Janai Ivory also played just two quarters and scored seven and six points respectively.
TWIN RIVERS (21) -- T. Henson 2, S. Hester 2, M. Guess 13, H. Sadler 4. FG 7, FT 6-12, F 14. (3-pointers: Guess 1. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (29) -- JaQuita Johnson 2, Mikala Nichols 4, Janai Ivory 6, Aleah Little 7, AnnQuaneisha Dennis 10. FG 12, FT 5-12, F 14. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)