(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
COLUMBIA -- The day before the Sikeston Bulldogs took on one of their post-season arch rivals, the championship hopefuls took it easy.
Following their hard-fought win over Lafayette on Thursday, the Bulldogs enjoyed dinner and a peaceful night in their hotel.
"We settled down, got us something to eat, took a shower and went to bed about 11 p.m.," Sikeston senior Janeil Hatchett said. "We just tried to keep our mind right and set on the goal."
"It's definitely a big relief knowing you're not playing in the third place game," Sikeston senior Corey Porter said. "We all just pretty much went to sleep (Thursday night). It was pretty much a business-like atmosphere."
Although it was relaxing, Hatchett did not like the day off in between games.
"I hate that," he said. "You just have to sit up and think about playing. It eats me up."
The Bulldogs then woke up Thursday and participated in an hour of light practice at the Hearnes Center.
"It was really loose and light," Hatchett said. "We got some shots in and layups. We went through our gameplan on what we plan on doing against Borgia and what they would do."
The Bulldogs were then entertained by the Class 5 Semifinals.
They saw a tight contest where McCluer North upended Lee Summit West behind a spectacular fourth quarter display by BJ Young. They also stayed for the Troy-Rock Bridge semifinal where Troy prevailed.
But all the while, even if they tried, their minds were focused on the St. Francis Borgia Knights.
"We've though about Borgia all day," Hatchett said. "Ever since we won (Thursday). We seen them come out with an 11-0 run against Soldan and we thought 'well, we know we got Borgia.' That's the only thing that's been on our mind."
Sikeston has felt the wrath of Borgia all too often. The Knights have ended the Bulldog's season on a sour note three times since 2006 -- two quarterfinal losses in the last two years as well as a championship loss in 2006.
"It's the only team we haven't been able to get past," Porter said. "We're looking to finally get past them this year."
They will meet again, on the same floor and in the same situation for a chance at redemption.
"We're not coming in thinking we're the underdogs," Hatchett said. "We think that we should be here and we should win this."
"We're pretty confident," Porter said. "We've learned from mistakes in the past couple of years. We have a pretty good knowledge of what they're going to throw at us."
Although, by the time this is read, Sikeston's fate will be decided. The day before their last game of the season, though, Sikeston's thoughts were fixed on yesterday's performance.