(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- Taking on first-seeded St. Joseph's Academy in the first round of the Rib City Shootout Tournament on Saturday, the eighth-seeded Sikeston Lady Bulldogs faced a 16-point deficit heading into halftime before falling 42-31 to the eventual champions.
"I thought we played exceptionally well against St. Joseph's Academy, which is a top 50 team in the national perennially," Sikeston coach Matt Schonhoff said. "We really went toe-to-toe with them and did a lot of good things."
After trailing 29-13 entering the half, the Lady Bulldogs were able to cut their deficit to eight with six minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bulldogs, St. Joseph's Academy, who was playing without Mizzou signees Morgan and Maggie Stock, significantly slowed down their offense the rest of the way while holding the Bulldogs by 10 points into the final minutes of the game.
"There were instances where we were down by less than 10 at certain points in the game," Schonhoff said. "With two or three minutes to go we had cut it to 10 and had a little bit of momentum.
"Then they took the air out of the ball and started to pass it around and got a layup or two. I thought we played extremely well against a very good basketball team."
Competing in the same bracket, the Dexter Lady Bearcats saw their chase at the title end in the semifinals, falling to Paragould, Ark. 31-16.
"Yesterday morning we actually beat Paragould then we turn around and get beat by them (today)," Dexter coach Chad Allen said. "Yesterday when we were fresh we looked good. We looked like we were playing and being real physical with Paragould.
"We grinded it out and ended up getting a win, but today you could tell that our legs just wasn't there. Paragould definitely took advantage of that."
Coming off a first round win over Crane, the Lady Bearcats found themselves trailing 15-6 going into the half. Despite their efforts to attempt a comeback, missed shots and aggressive Paragould team left Dexter trailing in the double digits as the final few minutes ticked off the clock.
"We definitely ended up missing a lot of chip shots and even missed a lot of perimeter shots," Allen said. "Usually when those things go well for you then the defensive goes better also. So when you're not shooting well it's definitely not a good thing."
Despite the loss, Allen was pleased with what he saw out his squad in the tournament.
"Overall I thought we had a good weekend," he said. "There was a lot of positive things that I though are girls were doing. One of them is definitely playing with more confidence."
Later in the afternoon, Paragould looked like they might pull an upset over top-seeded St. Joseph's Academy in the championship game.
However, after holding a 12-9 lead entering halftime, Paragould saw St. Joseph rally in the second period for a 22-16 win.