(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
BLOOMFIELD -- For the second night in a row, the Portageville Bulldogs shrugged off a slow start to advance to the next round of the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
Playing Bernie in the quarterfinals on Monday, the Bulldogs trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, but fought back to take a slim one-point lead with two minutes to play.
Taking advantage of a few clutch defense stops and a late basket by Tevin Walker, Portageville was able to hold on for a 60-56 win.
"We've been talking about as coaches we probably needed to have a game like this to put guys in those situations," Portageville coach Jason Irby said. "Maybe now we'll relax a little bit and if we get in that situation tomorrow we'll knock down some of those free throws and make some layups."
After only putting up four points in the first quarter, the Bulldogs offense finally started to click midway through the second, scoring eight straight to close to within one at 24-23 with 2:35 left in the half.
Capping a 30 point quarter by Portageville, Dion Foster hit back-to-back 3-pointers in final minute of the frame to give the Bulldogs a 34-30 lead going into halftime.
With neither team able to pull away, the Bulldogs and Mules traded the lead back-and-forth through most of second half until Portageville, trailing by one, went on a 7-0 run to take a 55-50 advantage with 3:36 remaining.
Fighting back, Bernie got a quick 3-pointer from Landon Woods, followed by a Jesse Shelton free throw to close back to within one.
Unfortunately for Mules, after driving the ball to half court on their way to take the lead, Portageville forced a turnover that led a dunk from Walker to put the Bulldogs up by three with 1:35 to play.
Forced to foul while still trailing by three in the final 20 seconds, the Mules got a break when the Bulldogs missed on consecutive one-and-one attempts that led to Bernie rebounds.
Facing Portageville's press in each trip down the court, however, Bernie lost the ball out of bounds on each trip allowing the Bulldogs to run out the clock.
"Without our defense tonight we would have had a hard time because offensively we were kind of jumbled and just didn't play very well," Irby said. "We didn't have good spacing or anything.
"Defensively that was the hardest we've played all year. We had too because Bernie made us play that hard."
On his team's opportunities late Bernie coach Brad Botsch said, "A lot of these guys haven't been in these situations in real tight games down late.
"For the most part over the past several years we've closed these situations out real well, but tonight Portageville found a way to get it done and we didn't."
Scoring 13 points in Portageville's second quarter push alone, Foster had a team-high 17 points on the night while Dominique Walker and Tevin Walker added 13 and 11 respectively.
After leading the Mules with 20 points on Monday against Van Buren, David Baker once again topped Bernie's attack, this time with 26.
Matt Eaves and Woods contributed nine and seven points each to Bernie's cause.
Advancing to the semifinals, the Portageville will play the winner of Doniphan/Saxony Lutheran today at 7:30 p.m. Results of that game where not available at press time.
Bernie will play the loser of Doniphan/Saxony Lutheran today at 4:30 p.m.
PORTAGEVILLE (60) -- Tevin Walker 11, Jullian Nolen 1, Dion Foster 17, Dominique Walker 13, Zack Birdwell 5, Denzell Simmons 4, Steve Buchanan 5. FG 24, FT 9-25, F 20. (3-pointers: Tevin Walker 1, Foster 2. Fouled out: none.)
BERNIE (56) -- Landon Woods 7, Matt Eaves 9, Jesse Shelton 8, Bryce Rodgers 2, David Baker 26, Sam Turner 4. FG 18, FT 17-24, F 20. (3-pointers: Woods 1, Shelton 1, Baker 1. Fouled out: Shelton, Baker.)
Getting some timely 3-pointers down the stretch run, Dexter held off a late push by Holcomb to advance to the tournament semifinals with a 61-56 win.
"We played better than we've played in the last two or three games," Dexter coach Rob Nichols said. "That was a welcomed sight to see.
"We gave up too many offensive rebounds, but we were focusing so much on Jamie Massey, giving so much help (in defending him), a lot of times we weren't blocking out on the weak side. So if you want to take him away you have to give something up."
With Massey scoring 32 points in the Hornets opening round win over Malden the night before, the Bearcats focused on slowing down the 6-7 junior.
Their worked paid off as Massey finished the contest with only 13 points.
"We tried to front him and back him all night," Nichols said. "That's why we gave up a lot of rebounds on the weak side. We knew he had that big 32 point game last night and we want to try to just cut that in half.
"He's a good player and he's going to get some baskets here and there, but for the most part I thought Jake Lee did a good job of not giving him position."
Holding a five-point lead at the break, Dexter allowed Holcomb to fight back to a 30-30 tie early in the third before scoring seven straight to once again push ahead 37-30 with 2:06 left in the third.
With their lead cut to four on a 6-2 Hornet run to start the fourth, the Bearcats got a litler breathing room when Tyler Miller hit his third 3-pointer of the night to push Dexter out by seven.
Another 3-pointer by Miller and one from Chase Young helped the Bearcats pull out 52-42 with 3:25 to play.
Though Dexter struggled at the free throw line late, going only 3 for 8 in the final minute, cold shooting by the Hornets secured the Bearcat win.
"We stepped up and made some big shots with that 1-3-1, especially with Miller there in that corner," Nichols said. "At the same time we need to make a few more free throws down the stretch to not make it so uncomfortable."
Leading Dexter's effort, Miller had 16 points on the night, followed by Jordan Fitts and Lee with 11 each.
For Holcomb, Patrick Skelton had a team-high 20 points with Ryan Reeves and Massey contributing 15 and 13 each.
After only coming away with three-points the night before, Hornets' coach Seth McBroom was pleased to see Skelton step up to help out with Dexter focusing so much on Massey.
"It's only his second game back and once he gets in the flow of things it's going to help us even more," McBroom said. "In your second game back playing in the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament in front of a bunch of people isn't easy.
"I'm glad he had a nice game because he's an energy guys and his energy really helps us out, especially on defense."
HOLCOMB (56) -- Patrick Skelton 20, Aaron Reeves 5, Ryan Reeves 15, Jamie Massey 13, Michael Glover 3. FG 22, FT 11-19, F 19. (3-pointers: Glover 1. Fouled out: Glover.)
DEXTER (61) -- Chase Young 6, Tyler Miller 16, Jordan Fitts 11, D.J. Dowdy 3, Brad Potts 6, Jake Lee 11, Cody Neldon 8. FG 21, FT 13-26, F 15. (3-pointers: Young 1, Miller 4, Neldon 1. Fouled out: none.)
Doniphan moved into the semifinals with a 68-53 win over Saxony Lutheran in the last quarterfinal game of the night.
Logan Sprandel hit for 20 points, including three 3-pointers, but Saxony Lutheran fell into the fifth-place bracket at the Bloomfield tournament.
Brian Patterson led Doniphan with 22 while Derek Hutchins had 19.
DONIPHAN (68) -- Hunter Smith 11, Hunter Dilbeck 6, Aaron Aldrich 4, Taylor Hollins 1, Dillon Dusza 3, James Moore 2, Brian Patterson 22, Derek Hutchins 19. FG 21, FT 11-17, F 19. (3-pointers: Hutchins 2, Dusza 1. Fouled out: none)
SAXONY LUTHERAN (53) -- Trent Steffens 5, Logan Sprandel 20, Clayton Carver 6, Brandon Fritsche 4, Gabe Bohnert 9, Nick Johnson 9. FG 19, FT 11-23, F 15. (3-pointers: Sprandel 3, Steffens 1. Fouled out: Bohnert)
Playing host Bloomfield in the consolation quarterfinals, East Prairie saw the Wildcats go up by 25 at the half before rolling to a 69-40 win.
Bloomfield was led by Caleb Baker with 16 points while Brett Ruch and Austin Williamson added 14 and 10 respectively.
For the Eagles, Damion Tipler had a team-high 11 points with Ryan Mathis contributing eight.
BLOOMFIELD (69) -- Caleb Baker 16, Joel Battles 4, Brett Ruch 14, Austin Williamson 10, Logan Cowart 3, Thomas Sanders 2, Adam Vandiver 2, Austin Cooper 7, Zac Goode 3, Thomas Forkum 8. FG 27, FT 13-32, F 20. (3-pointers: Ruch 2. Fouled out: Cowart.)
EAST PRAIRIE (40) -- Shawn King 3, Dalton Golightly 4, Devin Cook 2, Phillip Latomondeer 9, Dustin Bryars 2, Mason Douglas 1, Damion Tipler 11, Ryan Mathis 8. FG 15, FT 9-19, F 25. (3-pointers: King 1. Fouled out: Mathis.)
Despite a 21-point effort from Richard Forshee, the Richland Rebels fell to Puxico 77-58.
Down by eight at the half, the Rebels were outscored 49-38 in the second half to seal the loss.
Behind Forshee, Marcus Grayson had 16 points with Nick Daniels contributing 13.
For Puxico, Jacob Plunkett had a game-high 25.
PUXICO (77) -- Jacob Plunkett 25, Dillian Faries 6, Garrett Payne 9, Cory Pratt 3, Cory Messier 7, Matt Camden 2, Nathan Martin 8, Josh Harp 7, Timmy Hancock 6, Zac Tucker 4. FG 32, FT 5-10, F 20. (3-pointers: Plunkett 5, Payne 1, Pratt 1. Fouled out: none.)
RICHLAND (58) -- Skyler Harper 1, Jesse Barnes 3, Nick Daniels 13, Marcus Grayson 16, Richard Forshee 21, Adam Lane 4. FG 23, FT 11-17, F 10. (3-pointers: Daniels 1. Fouled out: none.)