(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The fourth time was the charm as Sikeston and DeSoto finally got to play after having the game snowed out three different times this year.
The Class 4, No. 1 ranked Bulldogs remained undefeated with a dominating 73-36 victory over the Dragons, who were formally a state-ranked team themselves, but have slumped in recent weeks.
The enormous DeSoto team, led by 6-foot-9 junior center Colin Ferguson, played the Bulldogs tough for a quarter, but Sikeston slowly was able to pull away and wear down the Dragons.
DeSoto (14-8) actually led 12-8 in the first quarter, and managed to tie the game at 16 apiece on Ferguson's slam dunk, but two Will Holifield free throws gave the Bulldogs an 18-16 lead after one.
"We were a little out of sync, but they had a lot to do with that," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "They came in and they were prepared for our press. Sometimes you have to credit the other team. Coach (Allen) Davis always has his team ready to play. They were patient in what they were doing. They are very well-coached as we know. They just did a good job of staying within their game-plan and taking advantage of some things they had some opportunities in."
The Bulldogs still just led 20-18 early in the second quarter, but they took total control from there with a 29-2 run that spanned the second and third quarters.
Sikeston went on a 16-2 run to close the second quarter to lead 36-20 at halftime.
Holifield said his team finally was able to get the pace of the game to his team's liking.
"We were able to dictate tempo and force some turnovers and that created some buckets for us," Holifield said. "We were in a hurry offensively tonight. We just have to slow down a little bit sometimes, be patient, pass and cut and wait for things to happen. I thought as the game wore on we did a better job of that."
Sikeston put the game away with a 13-0 run to start the third quarter to lead 49-20.
"We didn't lose our composure -- we made a lot of mental mistakes but that's okay, they're all young, they're all juniors," DeSoto coach Davis said. "But I saw some good things. This is probably the most excited I've been -- I know we lost by 37 points, but when you're playing a team that's playing 12 kids and running them in and out like Sikeston, it's tough. I think when my kids are fresh we can play with them, but that word 'fresh' is hard to come by."
Sikeston out-scored the Dragons 18-4 in the second quarter and exploded for a 28-9 advantage in the third quarter to enforce the mercy clock the rest of the way.
"Sikeston's awful good and they take things away from you -- you're not going to get too many looks," Davis said.
Sikeston (23-0) was able to force 25 DeSoto turnovers and they out-rebounded the far bigger Dragons 25-24.
However, the Bulldogs had one of their poorest shooting nights of the year from the perimeter, hitting just 2-of-16 from 3-point range. They made up for it by hitting 26 of their 36 shots from inside the arc.
Sikeston was led by Darryl Howard's 15 points and six steals. Janeil Hatchett followed up with 14 points and six assists. Will Holifield added 11 points.
DeSoto didn't shoot it much better themselves, going 13-37 (35 percent) overall and making just 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
"We've been struggling," Davis said. "We had two kids quit -- leave the team. That's caused a little bit of a problem -- a little readjustment. We're just trying to find two starters to replace them."
The Dragons were led by Jared White's 14 points and five steals. Ferguson had 11 points and seven rebounds.
The game marked the first meeting between the two schools since a 2006 Class 4 Sectional meeting, a game that Sikeston won 64-45.
Sikeston will close out the regular season by hosting Bernie tonight for Homecoming. DeSoto will travel to Notre Dame tonight.
DESOTO (36) -- Jared White 14, Colin Ferguson 11, Jared Saffer 4, Joe Middleton 4, Alec Seals 3. FG 12, FT 9-12, F 18. (3-pointers: Seals 1. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (73) -- Darryl Howard 15, Janeil Hatchett 14, Will Holifield 11, Eldridge Gibson 6, Keldon Warfield 6, Corey Porter 6, Terry Jamison 6, Vashawn Ruffin 5, Kil'Ron Coleman 3, Caleb McGee 1. FG 26, FT 15-25, F 15. (3-pointers: Ruffin 1, Holifield 1. Fouled out: none).
The Sikeston J.V. team improved to 20-0 with a 72-30 victory over DeSoto.
The Bulldogs led 19-7 after one quarter and 36-12 at the half.
Every single player scored for the Bulldogs led by Kyland Gross with 16 points. Markeith Bratcher followed up with nine points. Cord Sheehy had seven steals.
The Bulldogs drained 10 3-pointers in the game with eight different players making at least one.
Jake Paterner led DeSoto with 10 points.
DESOTO (30) --Jake Petener 10, Jake Bennett 9, Jeremy Edwards 6, Sean Soloman 3, Sean Dennert 2. FG 11, FT 2-9, F 6. (3-pointers: Edwards 1, Soloman 1. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (72) -- Kyland Gross 16, Markeith Bratcher 9, Rayshundre Jackson 7, Reese Porter 6, Vashawn Ruffin 5, Aundrea Golden 5, Blake Flannigan 5, Jetterance Harris 4, J.T. Jones 4, Cord Sheehy 3, Jairius Ray 3, Chris Word 3, Caleen Crawford 2. FG 17, FT 8-10, F 12. (3-pointers: Bratcher 2, Gross 2, Ray 1, Jackson 1, Sheehy 1, Ruffin 1, Golden 1, Flannigan 1. Fouled out: none).