RECTOR, Ark. -- The Sikeston Bulldogs continued their torrid shooting pace to start the season with a 94-63 victory over Valley View on Saturday at the Rector Sports Hall of Fame Classic in Rector, Ark.
The Bulldogs, which hit 15 combined 3-pointers in their first two games this season, dropped 13 more longballs against Valley View, a Class 4 state-ranked team in Arkansas that returned all five starters from last year's playoff squad.
"We knew coming in what Sikeston had -- their history and how good a basketball program they had," Valley View coach Jason Manchester said. "We knew it was going to be awfully difficult. They lived up to their billing, no doubt."
The Bulldogs graduated four starters, three of which were all-state players, from last year's 30-0 state championship squad.
However, after three-straight turbo clock victories to start the season, the Bulldogs, at least so far, appear to have not missed a beat.
"I'm very proud of how our kids have responded this season," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "These guys have put in a lot of time in the offseason and have worked very hard. I'm very pleased with how we've gotten out. It's been a terrific start. Hopefully we will continue to improve and work and get better each day and have a good tournament this week."
Sikeston is the top seed in the SEMO Conference Tournament, which starts tonight at the Sikeston Field House. The Bulldogs play No. 8 seed Dexter tonight at 5:30.
Against Valley View on Saturday, Holifield was pleased with how his team responded in an unfamiliar environment.
"I thought our kids really played well," Holifield said. "We shot the basketball extremely well again. I was proud of the effort. We beat a quality team tonight."
While the final score showed the game being a lopsided victory, the Bulldogs had trouble shaking Valley View until a third quarter run put the game out of reach.
The Bulldogs (3-0) led 21-12 after one quarter and had built a 33-15 lead early in the second quarter, but the Blazers rallied with some hot perimeter shooting of their own, cutting the lead to 38-32 in the second quarter.
"We got up 15 to 18 points and they made a nice run and kept hanging around," Holifield said. "We committed some fouls there in the second quarter that kind of slowed the pace of the game down."
Sikeston settled down to lead 42-33 by halftime, but went into the break with serious foul trouble after committing 15 fouls in the first half.
For the first time, Sikeston's depth was tested.
"We had some foul trouble and guys had to step up," Holifield said. "Fortunately our players get a lot of playing time anyway, we play nine to 10 kids. So it's valuable experience and the players came into the game and did what they had to do to win."
Valley View (4-1) still only trailed 48-40 early in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs exploded from there, going on a 10-0 run to extend the lead back to double figures. Sikeston led 70-53 at the end of the third.
"I thought we adjusted well in the second half and our kids really came out with energy and played well offensively and defensively," Holifield said.
The Bulldogs turned the game into a blowout in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Blazers 24-10.
"I think our constant pressure on the basketball and being able to rotate fresh people in and out allowed us to build our lead," Holifield said. "That's just our formula, that's how we have to play."
Sikeston had four players reach double figures in scoring. Caleb McGee had a varsity career high 19 points with a career high six 3-pointers on only eight attempts.
Terry Jamison had 19 points with six rebounds, nine assists and five steals. Vashawn Ruffin had 18 points and five assists.
Markeith Bratcher came off the bench for 15 points with 13 coming in the decisive third quarter. He also grabbed eight rebounds with four steals.
Sophomore J.T. Jones had eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. Keldon Warfield led the team with nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs hit nine of their 13 3-pointers in the first half.
"They were really sinking in trying to take any type of inside game we had away," Holifield said. "Our players had open looks. They're confident shooters and fortunately we knocked several down."
Sikeston recorded 23 steals in the game, but they also had 17 turnovers themselves.
Valley View was led in scoring by Chris Metcalf's game-high 24 points, including five 3-pointers. Andrew Shipman scored 13 points, hitting three 3-pointers.
"I think they're a quality team and they're well-coached," Holifield said of Valley View. "They've got kids that can pass it and catch it. They've got really good shooters. They've got a chance to have a great year."
Sikeston's bench proved to be a huge factor in the game, out-scoring Valley View's bench 27-12 while playing several minutes due to the Bulldogs' foul trouble.
"One thing about the way Sikeston plays, the style they play, they're trying to rip out your heart and give it to you as quickly as possible and then get on the bus and go home," Manchester said. "We tried to withstand their runs, but man, coach Holifield does a tremendous job and he throws so much depth at you. They just keep coming at you in waves. They've got a great basketball team, there's no doubt."
SIKESTON (94) -- Caleb McGee 19, Terry Jamison 19, Vashawn Ruffin 18, Markeith Bratcher 15, Kyland Gross 8, Kil'Ron Coleman 7, J.T. Jones 4, Keldon Warfield 4. FG 23, FT 9-12, F 24. (3-pointers: McGee 6, Ruffin 4, Jamison 2, Coleman 1. Fouled out: Jones).
VALLEY VIEW (63) -- Chris Metcalf 24, Andrew Shipman 13, Tony Brewster 7, Alex Christen 4, Reed Pitt 4, Sam Mullin 3, Preston Grady 3, Jacob Calhoun 3, Ty Teague 2. FG 11, FT 17-26, F 10. (3-pointers: Metcalf 5, Shipman 3. Fouled out: none).