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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

SEMO Conference Tournament to begin on Monday at Field House

Saturday, December 1, 2012

sports@standard-democrat.com

SIKESTON -- Since the rebirth of the SEMO Conference Tournament in 2006, only two teams have hoisted the traveling trophy given to the winner of the event.

Those two teams, Charleston and Sikeston, are once again favored to win this year's tournament as they were voted the one and two seeds, respectively, by the coaches.

The tournament, now in its seventh year, will tip off tomorrow evening at the Sikeston Field House with three first round games.

Fourth-seeded Jackson will take on No. 5 Notre Dame to start things off at 5:30 followed by second-seeded Sikeston taking on No. 7 Poplar Bluff. The final game of the evening will pit top-seeded Charleston against No. 8 Dexter.

The last first round game will have third-seed Cape Central taking on No. 6 New Madrid County Central on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

"It's going to be a great tournament," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "There's quality teams in it. From top to bottom it's a solid tournament. We know there will be excitement here and great crowds. Our players are really looking forward to it."

Charleston won the tournament in its first two years in 2006 and 2007, and then defeated Sikeston in last year's epic championship game, 75-71, to snap the Bulldogs' 51-game home winning streak.

Sikeston won the tournament three straight years during the streak in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

If the seeds played out, the championship game would feature Charleston against Sikeston, which were the MBCA/Mosports.com preseason No. 1 ranked teams in the state in Class 3 and 4.

Holifield said his team is only focused on its first round opponent, Poplar Bluff.

"We normally do play well in it," Holifield said. "Hopefully that will continue this year. We know Monday night Bluff will be a difficult opponent. We know they're going to be a much-improved team. We're going to have to play well to beat them. We're just looking forward to getting started in it."