(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
BLOOMFIELD -- Looking for their first trip to the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament finals since 2008, it would have been easy for Portageville to come into overtime deflated after watching Doniphan erase a four-point deficit in the final 12 seconds of regulation.
In opening up the extra frame on an 8-2 run, however, the Bulldogs handed the Dons their first lost of the season while propelling themselves into the championship game with a 65-62 win.
"I'm just proud of the kids," Portageville head coach Jason Irby said. "We could have folded the tent when they forced overtime, but our kids just kept battling.
"They kept in there and finally made some free throws. We still struggled (at the line), but the kids just played really, really hard."
Trailing by two late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs got back-to-back basket from Dominique Walker and Dion Foster as part of a five-point rally to take a 52-49 advantage with 1:54 to play.
Following a Dons turnover on their next possession, the Bulldogs (8-0) spent nearly a full minute trying to eat up clock before Doniphan was forced to foul.
After missing on a pair of one-and-ones, Portageville finally inched ahead, 53-49, when Foster connected on 1 of 2 from the line with 21 second left.
With time running out, the Dons gave the ball to Brian Patterson, who cut their deficit in half by going 2 of 3 from the line after getting fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
Defending the Bulldogs ensuing baseline throw-in, Patterson went on to make the biggest play of regulation.
Taking advantage of his 6-7 frame, Patterson intercepted Portageville's inbound pass under the basket before going up in the paint to tie the score, 53-53, with 10 seconds remaining.
"I tell everybody I talk to about him," Doniphan head coach Ray Stewart said of Patterson. "He's probably not our best scorer, but he's definitely our best defender, rebounder, ball handler and passer.
"He's long and it's hard to get a pass around him. He came up big there."
A long, last second shot by the Bulldogs' Tevin Walker fell short sending the game into overtime.
Though Patterson gave the Dons a quick 55-53 lead in the opening minute with another basket in the paint, Portageville went on to score eight straight, capped by a bucket by Walker with 2:06 to play.
"We took a two-point lead there out of the gate and I thought, all right, now they're going to be in panic mode," Stewart said. "But then I remember they came right down and got pulled up with (Tevin Walker) for about a six-footer. They missed it, we didn't box out and they got a rebound and stick-back. Then we turn it over and they get a layup."
Holding Doniphan shooters to 3 of 7 from the floor in overtime and 3 of 6 from the line, the Bulldogs were able to protect their newfound lead long enough to prevent another comeback.
"We regrouped and realized that they were kind of celebrating," Irby said about the start of overtime. "We told our kids it's not over with yet and we still have four minutes to play. It's a brand new game.
"For four minutes we just played really hard and were able to make some shots and free throws finally. It was a big win for us."
After scoring 13 points the night before, Dominique Walker stepped to lead Portageville with a game-high 23 points and five steals. The previous nights leading scorer, Foster, was second on the team with 16 points while also contributing five steals.
Scoring all but two of his points after the break, Tevin Walker had 13 points on the night, including five in overtime. He also led in steals with six.
"Our kids are just resilient," Irby said. "We've done a lot of things wrong in this tournament, but the best thing that has come out of it is we've found out that our kids have a lot of heart.
"That was something we struggled with at times last year."
For the Dons, Patterson and Derek Hutchins had 21 points each with Patterson scoring 17 after the half. Third on the team was James Moore with 10.
On the game Doniphan (9-1) out rebounded Portageville 49-37 while shooting 25 of 62 (40 percent) from the floor. The Bulldogs shot 24 of 71 (34 percent).
While Stewart said it would have been nice for the Dons to fight for thier Bloomfield Christmas Tournament title since 2005, he also has the bigger picture in mind for his team.
"We wanted to win the tournament, but in the same breath we're trying to get ready for districts," Stewart said. "This is a great game against a Charleston type team and the road to the state playoffs goes through Charleston. So we're trying to get ready for them."
With the win, Portageville (8-0) will face the two-time defending champion Kennett Indians tonight at 7:30 p.m.
"They're playing well and they're big and physical," Irby said of Kennett. "Hopefully we'll have some legs left tomorrow night after this game, but Kennett is going to be very tough to beat.
"They've won it twice in a row and their kids have been there and done it. For our kids this is a new experience. I really just hope we can come back and compete hard with them and see what happens."
PORTAGEVILLE (65) -- Tevin Walker 13, Dion Foster 16, Dominique Walker 23, Zack Birdwell 4, Denzell Simmons 4, Steve Buchanan 3, Daniel Allen 2. FG 24, FT 15-24, F 16. (3-pointers: Tevin Walker 1, Foster 1. Fouled out: none.)
DONIPHAN (62) -- Hunter Smith 5, Aaron Aldrich 2, Dillon Dusza 3, James Moore 10, Brian Patterson 21, Derek Hutchins 21. FG 25, FT 10-17, F 22. (3-pointers: Smith 1, Dusza 1. Fouled out: Smith.)
Holding a one-point lead in the final minute of their semifinal game against Kennett, the Dexter Bearcats saw a costly turnover give the Indians a 49-48 comeback win.
"Turnovers are what got us," Dexter head coach Rob Nichols said. "I thought the kids played great defense and we executed.
"Every set we called out of a timeout they executed and got a basket. That's all I can ask from them."
Tied with Kennett at 47-47, Dexter pulled ahead when Cody Neldon hit the first of a pair of free throws with 56 second remaining.
Though Kennett came away with the rebound before marching down the court, a missed shot once again left the Bearcats with the ball and looking to run out the clock.
With time quickly running out, Kennett decided to press Dexter's offense instead of immediately fouling.
That decision paid off when Indian senior Jajuan Wallace and a couple of teammates caught the Bearcats working their way to the basket.
Stealing the ball, Wallace passed to teammate Kevonte Mitchell who went in for an easy layup to give Kennett a 49-48 edge with 15 second remaining.
"We got good defensive position and came up with a tough loose ball," Indian head coach Jim Vaughan said. "I thought Dexter played more physical in the first half. It's something we addressed at halftime.
"We changed the nature of that in the second half. We were tougher and guttier. We went after things harder and an example of that was the play at the end right there where Jajuan got that ball."
With 15 seconds left on the clock Dexter worked their way down the court with one last chance to retake the lead on what was likely to be the final shot of the game.
On the Bearcats way to the basket, however, the Indians were able to draw a foul, giving Kennett a one-and-one opportunity on the other end of the court with 2 seconds remaining.
Though Kennett missed the free throw and Dexter grabbed the rebound, a half court heave at the buzzer bounced off the goal supports to end the game.
Even though Kennett scored the game-winning basket with the Bearcats playing aggressive late with the lead, Nichols said the approach was a safer bet than relying on their free throw shooting, which had been cold all night.
"When we turned it over there was about 18 second left," Nichols said. "We had called getting in our delay game, but they way Kennett was scrambling and running two guys all over the court I thought I'm not going to call a timeout.
"We may get a layup here and then it's not a free throw shooting contest. At that point we're 7 of 19 from the line and I'd rather get a layup and not make it a free throw shooting contest. We just turned it over. Panicked a little bit and turned it over. That's just something we have to learn from."
KENNETT (49) -- Antavies Drake 6, Cameron Harper 2, Daniel Lockhert 2, Kevonte Mitchell 20, Adam Grantham 2, Antonio Primer 8, Jajuan Wallace 9. FG 23, FT 2-5, F 14. (3-pointers: Wallace. Fouled out: none.)
DEXTER (48) -- Chase Young 3, Tyler Miller 17, Jordan Fitts 2, D.J. Dowdy 5, Jake Lee 13, Cody Neldon 8. FG 18, FT 7-19, F 11. (3-pointers: Young 1, Miller 3, Dowdy 1. Fouled out: none.)
Bernie jumped out early against Saxony Lutheran and rolled to a 69-51 win in the fifth place semifinals.
Jesse Shelton had 18 to lead the Mules who will now take on Holcomb in the fifth place game today.
BERNIE (69) -- Jake Wagner 3, Landon Woods 2, Matt Eaves 10, Jesse Shelton 18, Bobby Schwent 7, Bryce Rodgers 7, David Baker 12, Sam Turner 10. FG 27, FT 10-21, F 17. (3-pointers: Wagner 1, Shelton 2, Baker 1, Turner 1. Fouled out: Eaves.)
SAXONY LUTHERAN (51) -- Trent Steffens 11, Logan Sprandel 13, Chase Steffens 9, Clayton Carver 5, Brandon Fritsche 3, Taylor Johnson 2, Gabe Bohnert 8. FG 18, FT 9-16, F 20. (3-pointers: Trent Steffens 1, Sprandel 3, Chase Steffens 1, Carver 1. Fouled out: none.)
A big second quarter gave Holcomb a 21-17 halftime lead and the Hornets were able to stretch the lead in the second half to down Hayti 50-44.
Jamie Massey led Holcomb with 16 points.
HOLCOMB (50) -- Patrick Skelton 15, Aaron Reeves 10, Ryan Reeves 8, Jamie Massey 16, Michael Glover 1. FG 19, FT 8-16, F 16. (3-pointers: Aaron Reeves 2, Ryan Reeves 2. Fouled out: Skelton.)
HAYTI (44) -- Keenon Norris 1, Maurion Newbill 1, Jermel Covington 3, Keydric Dillard 6, Hunter Turner 3, Tony Johnson 5, Austin Watkins 2, Jerome Thomas 5, Demetrius Luster 14, Frankie Burden 4. FG 17, FT 6-17, F 18. (3-pointers: Covington 1, Dillard 1, Turner 1, Johnson 1. Fouled out: none.)
The Bloomfield Wildcats will play for the consolation title after defeating Twin Rivers 67-53.
Brett Ruch had 22 points to lead the Wildcats who will take on upstart Malden in the consolation title game today at 3 p.m.
BLOOMFIELD (67) -- Caleb Baker 16, Brett Ruch 22, Logan Cowart 8, Adam Vandiver 10, Austin Cooper 2, Zac Goode 1, Thomas Forkum 8. FG 23, FT 17-24, F 16. (3-pointers: Baker 2, Cowart 2. Fouled out: none.)
TWIN RIVERS (53) -- Chris Morse 4, Blake Moore 1, Michael Snider 22, Wes McCollum 3, Nathan Ezernack 2, Josh Woodham 2, Eric Ray 13, Cade Lowe 6. FG 20, FT 10-17, F 18. (3-pointers: Snider 2, McCollum 1. Fouled out: Ray.)
Malden, seeded 13th, upset ninth seeded Puxico 70-37 in a consolation semifinal on Wednesday.
Jonsha Robinson had 18 to lead the Green Wave to the easy win.
MALDEN (70) -- Malik Perkins 13, DaJuan Criglar 4, Dante McBride 6, Anthony Hughes 8, Cortez Dobbins 17, Romello McCoy 4, Jonsha Robinson 18. FG 29, FT 11-16, F 13. (3-pointers: Hughes 1. Fouled out: none.)
PUXICO (37) -- Jacob Plunkett 6, Garrett Payne 7, Matt Camden 6, Nathan Martin 9, Timmy Hancock 8, Ian Roberts 1. FG 13, FT 7-15, F 12. (3-pointers: Plunkett 1, Payne 1, Camden 1, Martin 1. Fouled out: none.)