O'FALLON -- For the second straight year, the Sikeston Bulldogs are the champions of the St. Dominic Christmas Tournament.
The top-seeded Bulldogs broke open a close game at the half and defeated the host school St. Dominic, 64-48 on Friday night.
The Bulldogs' closest game in the tournament came in the first round, a 70-59 victory over Lutheran-St. Charles.
"It's a great tournament," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "Fortunately we came up here and put three good games together against three good opponents. I'm proud of our team's effort."
St. Dominic's front-line of 6-foot-7, 6-5 and 6-5 proved to be a challenge for the smaller Sikeston lineup, but the Bulldogs' combination of speed, quickness and tenacious defensive pressure proved to be more than the Crusaders could handle.
The sixth-seeded Crusaders, who upset the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds in the tournament, were only 1-of-12 from 3-point range against the Bulldogs.
"I thought we did a good job of getting to the shooters on the catch," Holifield said. "We had good pressure on the basketball."
Sikeston had a strong shooting night, draining 8-of-20 from 3-point range, five of which came in the second half.
"They got hot," St. Dominic coach Kurt Schneider said. "They came out in the second half and they were pouring it in. Shot after shot was falling and we were ice cold. That was the big difference. They hit a lot of shots and we didn't. We just couldn't keep up."
The Bulldogs (10-2) started the game fast, jumping out to a 12-2 lead and holding a 20-10 first quarter edge.
"That's a considerably faster tempo than we're accustomed to and a little bit of pressure goes a long way," Schneider said. "When you're trying to make those shots when you're playing that fast, it makes it challenging. It's a lot to adapt to."
The Bulldogs continued to pour it on early in the second quarter, leading by as much as 27-12, but the Crusaders began to chip away at the lead from there by controlling the offensive boards.
St. Dominic (4-6) finished the second quarter on a 14-2 run, including a fadeaway shot at the buzzer by Alex Hagan to cut the Bulldog lead to 29-26.
"They got very aggressive and they hurt us on the boards and were getting putbacks on us," Holifield said. "We lost our aggression and weren't pressuring the ball like we needed to and we took some bad shots in that stretch."
The third quarter was a different story, though, as Sikeston began attacking the Crusaders inside, which opened up Terry Jamison on the outside.
The senior point guard hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter to help build the Bulldog lead to 49-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
"It went from three points to 12 points in a heartbeat it seemed like," Schneider said.
Jamison finished the game 4-4 on 3-point attempts for a team-high 16 points. He also had eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
"He did a great job of handling the basketball and on top of that he knocked down shots and showed his senior leadership -- I was proud of his effort," Holifield said of Jamison.
The Bulldogs put the game away in the fourth quarter as St. Dominic got no closer than 13 in the fourth quarter.
Jamison was voted to the all-tournament team along with teammates Vashawn Ruffin and J.T. Jones.
Ruffin finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists. Jones had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Senior Keldon Warfield had a team-high nine rebounds to go with six points. Markeith Bratcher scored nine points off the bench.
Despite the size disadvantage, Sikeston out-rebounded St. Dominic 34-29, but 13 of those came on the offensive end for the Crusaders.
The Bulldogs only had 10 turnovers in the game and were able to force 16 against the Crusaders.
"I think they've got a fantastic team," Schneider said. "They have excellent coaching. They run a great game. They've got some organized chaos that if you can't adapt, you're going to be in trouble. I know they do a lot of shooting in the summer and it shows. In the second half when they needed the buckets, time after time it went in. Congratulations to them. They're a great champion."
ST. DOMINIC (48) -- Michael Schneider 19, Alex Hagan 12, Christopher Riggins 7, Emmett Wilmes 5, Austin Merz 3, Samuel Runge 2. FG 17, FT 11-17, F 13. (3-pointers: Schneider 1. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (64) -- Terry Jamison 16, J.T. Jones 13, Vashawn Ruffin 9, Markeith Bratcher 9, Keldon Warfield 6, Kil'Ron Coleman 5, Caleb McGee 4, Cord Sheehy 2. FG 17, FT 6-12, F 17. (3-pointers: Jamison 4, McGee 1, Ruffin 1, Jones 1, Bratcher 1. Fouled out: none).