(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Picking back up after a two week break, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs got the new year off to a strong start on Wednesday with a 72-21 win over the Kelly Lady Hawks.
"We needed to play a lot better game than what we showed at the Twin Rivers Christmas Tournament," Sikeston head coach Matt Schonoff said. "For four quarters I think we did that tonight. Our intensity on the defensive end was excellent.
"Kelly is young and their girls play extremely hard. We played hard as well and did a lot of good things tonight."
Holding the Lady Hawks (2-5) to only six points in the first quarter, all from junior Jessica Worth, the Lady Bulldogs (8-3) wasted little time in building a big lead.
Starting with a 3-pointer from Quesha Howard on its opening possession, Sikeston scored nine straight points to open the game before leaving the first frame with a 19-6 advantage.
Keeping up the pressure with their press, the Lady Bulldogs came back out in the second frame and held the Lady Hawks without another field goal before the break.
Scoring only two points of the quarter off a pair of free throws, Kelly saw Sikeston continue to pull away as the Lady Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run in the first 4:15 minutes.
Going into the break, Sikeston had taken a 40-8 advantage with Tyangela Gibson hitting a layup off a half-court pass with 12 seconds left in the frame to cap an eight point run in the final two minutes of the half.
"Sikeston has an excellent press," Kelly assistant coach Trey Simmons said. "When we did get across it I liked what I saw, but when you have an experienced group like Sikeston, a very athletic group, that press can eat a lot of teams up."
After the Lady Bulldogs opened up the second half pushing ahead 50-11 in three minutes, Kelly put together its biggest rally of the night in going on a 6-2 run midway through the third quarter.
Ending the frame on another 8-0 run, however, Sikeston was able to take a 43-point lead into the fourth to easily ensure a running clock.
"We talked about having good offensive possessions," Schonhoff said. "Make good shots and make sure we turn around, face up and see what's available. A lot of it tonight was predicated on us seeing what was open and if the shooter was open they took good shots.
"If we had a cutter open then they hit the cutter and we got some good lay ups."
Leading the Lady Bulldogs effort, Gibson had 20 points on 10 of 14 shooting while collecting five rebounds and six assists.
Second on the team with 14 points on 7 of 15 shooting, Taneshia Pulley led Sikeston with 10 rebounds, also contributing a steal and an assist.
Howard had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, on the night to go along with four rebounds and three assists while Leah Little had 10 points and five rebounds.
On the game Sikeston shot 33 of 65 from the floor (51 percent) while grabbing 33 rebounds and 20 steals.
"We concentrated on a lot of things during practice over the break," Schonhoff said. "We came back and really saw that tonight. We got a lot of steals and deflections which led to a lot of easy lay ups."
For Kelly, Worth had a team-high eight points with Bridgette Chandler adding five to the cause.
Earlier in the night, Kelly's junior varsity fought back from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Sikeston's junior varsity 43-36.
Still trailing by seven entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Hawks outscored the Lady Bulldogs 18-4 in the final frame, including eight from Samantha Worth, to take the lead and hold on.
With 12 points, Logan Ivie led the way for Kelly while Worth finished with eight.
KELLY (21) -- Sam Ratledge 2, Tessa Johnson 1, Bridgette Chandler 5, Stephanie Worth 1, Logan Ivie 2, Payton Jones 2, Jessica Worth 8. FG 9, FT 2-4, F 10. (3-pointers: Chandler 1. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (72) -- Tyangela Gibson 20, Keyonna Blissett 8, Quesha Howard 13, Leah Little 10, Mikala Nichols 5, Tenshia Pulley 14, Jalen Peet 2. FG 33, FT 3-13, F 11. (3-pointers: Howard 3. Fouled out: none.)