(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Unable to recover from a rough start, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs' eighth grade team fell to the Jackson Lady Indians 32-25 on Monday in their final home game of the season.
"If you go back to things we did in the summer, we dig a hole and then we work our way out of it," Sikeston coach Keyth Blissett said. "It's like we're playing ball from the negative. They go up 10-1 and then we play ball. Whose to say it's not a different ball game if we can stay in it (early)?
"That seems to be our nemesis, but the girls are working hard and you can't get upset with them. We keep believing they'll figure it out."
After converting on a lone free throw in the first quarter to trail 12-1 entering the second frame, the Lady Bulldogs offense finally started to click as they closed to within 17-8 going into the break.
Slowly closing in on the Lady Indians, Sikeston was able to cut its deficit to three points when Hayli Chapman converted on back-to-back three-point attempts from the right corner of the floor to make it 19-16 with 2:59 to go in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bulldogs, an 11-2 run by Jackson to end the frame put Sikeston back down by double-digits.
The closest the Lady Bulldogs could come to chasing down the Lady Indians was when Tyra Bonner scored on an open layup with 20 seconds remaining in the game to make up the 32-25 final.
"I thought we had good shot selection, they just didn't fall (in the first half)," said Blissett.
Leading Sikeston in the loss was Chapman with eight points. Erica Peet finished the night with six points and was followed closely by Bonner, who had five. Keleigh Mallory and Zaqaisha Brown had three and two points respectively with Miranda Harrison contributing one.
Earlier in the night, Sikeston's seventh grade saw their season come to a close with a 23-21 loss to Jackson.
Down by six points entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs pulled to within two on a shot by Alexis Boyd with under two minutes to go. Back down by four with only seconds remaining, however, Sikeston ran out of time as Larysa McClellon sunk one final shot with four seconds remaining.
"I think it's just our focus and intensity," Blissett said of the loss. "They have to be in the game before they realize they can compete.
"In both the seventh and eighth grade they're better than they think, it's just up to us as coaches to get their confidence up and then we'll be something to reckon with."
Tying for a team-high, both Kayla Graham and Kiera Steward had six points on the night. Boyd contributed four points while McClellon and Marissa Jones scored two points each. Rounding out the scoring was Aalyia Fobbs, who converted on a free throw in the first quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs' seventh grade team finishes the season at 5-6 with the eighth grade currently standing at 8-4.
They will play Poplar Bluff in the Jackson Tournament on Wednesday at 6 p.m.