(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
DEXTER -- The tone was set early.
After 21 first half turnovers, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs could do little to climb back into the game against their Class 4 district foe, the Dexter Lady Bearcats, on Thursday at the Bearcat Event Center.
Sikeston lost its first game of the season 69-34 with turnovers being their achilles heel.
"Turnovers killed us," Sikeston coach Matt Schonhoff said. "We were focused coming in the game, but I think we might have been a little anxious."
Both teams like to push the ball up the floor and defend with a full-court press. Although they had 29 turnovers themselves, Dexter found ways to get the ball down the court and work an inside-out game. The Lady Bearcats looked to get the ball inside to either one of their posts, 5-11 junior Brittany Harris or 6-0 sophomore Paige Patterson.
"That's tough to defend," Schonhoff said. "I thought in instances we guarded them very, very well. But other times we left shooters open or (Harris) open on inbounds plays. They're too good to let that happen."
Even though knowing of their strength in pushing the ball, Dexter head coach Chad Allen wanted to run with the Lady Bulldogs. And although they forced 37 total turnovers, Dexter accumulated 29 themselves.
"We really wanted to put as much pressure on them as possible and really push the ball up the floor," Allen said. "That's what they're known for and I thought our girls handled it extremely well. They looked aggressive and they really attacked the middle.
"I thought we did a great job of attacking (the press)."
Harris made the most of her opportunities around the rim with 22 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Lady Bearcats in both those categories.
Patterson helped out with eight points and 10 rebounds while Hannah Noe chipped in 16 points and four steals. Jarrell chipped in 11 points for Dexter as well.
"I thought all the girls did a really good job," said Allen. "All of them really contributed."
With both Harris and Patterson dominating the paint, it gave Sikeston less chances to score on their end, usually being limited to one shot per possession. The Lady Bulldogs were out-rebounded 46-28.
"We got an up and down game like we wanted, but I think our shots came a little too quickly," Schonhoff said. "One thing that we don't have is size. We rely on speed and I think they were quicker than we were, but at the same time, you have to be able to handle and control the ball, especially on the offensive end to get good shots."
Dexter held a slim 11-8 lead after the first quarter. Their advantage ballooned to 36-12 at the half thanks in large part to a 14-1 run, which included two 3-pointers from Jarrell, to begin the second quarter.
The Lady Bearcats went up by as much as 33 points in the third quarter, where they outscored the previously unbeaten Lady Bulldogs 14-9. An 11-0 run by Sikeston cut Dexter's lead down to 54-32 in the early stages of the last quarter, but it was too little, too late as the Lady Bearcats cruised to their sixth win of the year.
"We knew this was going to be a test for us," Schonhoff said about playing Dexter. "This was going to be our best opponent of the year and we learned some things that we need to work on. That's something that we needed.
"Hopefully, we'll have the chance to see them again to see if we've improved any because of this," said Schonhoff.
Both Keyonna Blissett and Quesha Howard scored nine points and had four steals for Sikeston. Tyangela Gibson added five points and five rebounds.
Dexter won the junior varsity game 42-21 over Sikeston (1-4).
SIKESTON (34) -- Tyangela Gibson 5, Keyonna Blissett 9, Quesha Howard 9, Leah Little 2, Tanesha Pulley 4, Yalanda Johnson 3, Danika Garmon 2. FG 12 FT 8-13 F 19 (3-pointers: Howard 1. Fouled out: Pulley.)
DEXTER (69) -- Mollie Whitehead 3, Hannah Noe 16, Alison Jarrel 11, Erika Cobb 7, Taylor Owens 2, Brittany Harris 22, Paige Patterson 8. FG 26 FT 13-22 F 13 (3-pointers: Jarrel 3, Cobb 1. Fouled out: none.)