(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
COLUMBIA -- Not many would have thought the one Porter to lead the Sikeston Bulldogs to their first basketball state championship would have been Corey.
His sheer size and the footsteps he had to follow were all deterrents of expectations.
But Porter, along with his highly decorated basketball family, were on a mission once they made the trek eight miles south to Sikeston High School six years ago.
"When we moved away from Scott Central we had a plan that we were going to establish a good basketball presence in Sikeston," said Porter. "We just never had quite been able to get the job done. This is just a good standing point."
It was Corey who made the biggest 'Porter mark' first in Sikeston basketball as he led the Sikeston Bulldogs with 24 points on Saturday during their Class 4 championship win over St. Francis Borgia giving the Bulldogs it's first state title.
Porter is the first in his immediate family since his dad, Melvin Porter who won state titles in 1979 and 1980 for Scott Central, to bring home a championship.
"My dad and all his brothers come from a line of state titles," Corey said. "This is something my brothers hadn't been able to do.'
Porter was the epitome of a beast under the basket. He fought endlessly against taller Borgia players such as 6-6 senior Ben Ruether, 6-8 junior Jacob Martin and 6-5 senior Nathan Rogers.
The 6-2, 290-pound Porter skied above them all. He out-rebounded and got just high enough to shoot over Borgia's outstretched hands. Porter missed a combined five shots on the day. He went 8 of 13 from the field and was a perfect 8 for 8 at the free throw line.
He also played the most minutes out of the Bulldogs even though their rotational style limits such from happening. Porter was in the game for 28 of the 32 minutes.
"Corey played awesome," Sikeston senior Janeil Hatchett said. "I ain't never seen Corey play that way. He had that want to in his eyes about himself.
"Hopefully, some college will come get him for football," Hatchett added. "If you have a lineman that can move like that, somebody needs to come get him."
Porter scored 14 of his game-high in the second half after a 42-24 Sikeston halftime lead was trimmed to eight twice in the last two quarters.
Seven of the Bulldogs' nine points between the last minute and a half of the third quarter and the first two and a half minutes of the fourth were scored by Porter. Which was when Borgia climbed back in the game.
"I have sat the bench two years of my career," Porter said. "All I could do was support. I have a real deep hate for losing. Anytime I get in the game, I'm going to play so hard to where I just refuse to lose."
Corey put on such a display on Saturday it was reminiscent of his older brother Michael, who was the go-to guy when the Bulldogs needed something done.
"With Michael, we had some great teams but unfortunately we couldn't get out against great Borgia teams," coach Holifield said. "Corey, he stepped up and played so good."
But Corey admits he isn't the player his brother was. Although, he now holds some bragging rights when it comes to playful sibling rivalries.
"Michael at Sikeston, he was definitely the man," Corey said. "Everyone knew he was a Division I basketball player -- everyone knew he was the man.
"Well, I'm not the man. I have a team. I have 15 players that are going to work hard everyday in practice.
"I did it," Corey said as he stopped mid sentence. "It's something to be proud of and I know (my dad) is proud of me."