(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
DEXTER -- They don't like to pay attention to rankings, but the Dexter Lady Bearcats may be pegged a little low.
Currently slotted in the eighth spot within the MBCA/MoSports.com coaches poll, Dexter pushed over a previously undefeated New Madrid County Central team with ease 82-43 Thursday night at the Bearcat Event Center.
"We don't let that stuff get to us," Dexter senior Brittany Harris said about polls and rankings. "If you let it get to your head then you start thinking you're better than everybody and you think you can go into a game and not even try and end up losing."
The Lady Bearcats are 6-1 and have already came away with a crown in the Paragould, Ark., Invitational tournament as well as finishing one win shy of a Farmington Invitational title earlier this season -- both of which feature larger and more stout competition.
"We've definitely been tested a lot," Dexter head coach Chad Allen said. "I think it really got us started off right at the beginning of the year."
Whether it was inside or outside, the Lady Bearcats were scorching from the field Thursday.
Dexter shot 33 of 66 (50 percent) as a team, nailed eight 3-pointers and dished out 17 assists -- eight from point guard Katelyn Frazier alone.
Harris, a 5-11 forward, led the Lady Bearcats with 17 points and she also had six rebounds. Paige Patterson (6-1, junior) scored 15 points and pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.
"It seemed like at the beginning of the game we really got the ball inside," Allen said. "I thought Paige and Brittany did a really good job of finishing inside. That started opening up the outside and we definitely have some good shooters."
Dexter stormed out in front building an 11-point lead in the first two minutes of play. NMCC, who shot 18 of 53 (33 percent) from the floor, scored their first basket nearly halfway through the first quarter as they struggled getting the ball downcourt against Dexter's ferocious pressure defense that caused 27 turnovers.
"That first half we came out like we normally do against Dexter," NMCC head coach David Crockett said. "We just went through the motions and let them get a big lead. You can't get down against a good team like that and never expect to come back."
The Lady Eagles (5-1) were forced into 14 turnovers in the first quarter alone -- nine of which were Dexter steals.
"We knew what they were going to do," Harris said about NMCC. "We've played some tough competition already this year and they really haven't played anybody."
The closest NMCC came to eclipsing the home team was with 3:23 left in the first when Rashaundra Summers hit a basket to make it 11-6. From that point on, Dexter outscored NMCC 14-2 to close out the first quarter.
"There's a lot that we can take from and build on as a team, but overall, I'm not completely satisfied with our effort all night," Crockett said. "We played hard, but not like we're capable of. I want us to play like we're capable of every night."
The Lady Eagles didn't score again until two minutes had worked off the clock in the second frame. By that time, Dexter was well ahead by 22, 32-10. They ended the first half up 48-18.
"Our offense was a lot better tonight than it has been," Harris said. "Our strong point has been our defense. We still need to work on our offense, but it was a lot better tonight."
Erika Cobb, who hit three 3-pointers, scored 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Alison Jarrell sank four 3-pointers and scored 14 points. Hannah Noe added nine points and four assists.
Both Benesha Childress and Karen McGloson led NMCC with 13 points each.
Childress also added 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists while shooting 5 of 14 from the floor. McGloson was 6 of 13 from the field and had six rebounds.
If there was one area Allen thought his team lacked it was on the offensive glass. Childress secured 10 rebounds, half of which were under the Lady Eagles' own basket.
Dexter did, however, end up leading in the rebounding category, 36 to 27.
"I thought we gave up way too many offensive boards," said Allen. "That's something we're going to have to work on a bit more.
"New Madrid is a really good team," Allen added. "They have two really good players in Childress and McGloson and they may even have a future in basketball. I just felt like our girls did a good job defensively on trying to contain them."
This was Dexter's first of just six home games at the Bearcat Event Center. Their next game will be during the Twin Rivers Lady Royals Classic starting Saturday.
The Lady Bearcats are the No. 1 seed and will play Malden at 9 a.m. NMCC will also participate in the tournament and will play East Carter County as the second seed.
"We may get another shot at them at the Christmas tournament," Crockett said about Dexter. "That would be in the finals, so I look forward to it."
NMCC (43) -- Shanterra Waters 4, Amirah Ruff 2, Whitney Williams 5, Aqwanness Johnson 2, Benesha Childers 13, Karen McGloson 13, Rashaundra Summers 4. FG 18 FT 4-8 F 14. (3-pointers: Williams 1, Childress 2. Fouled out: none.)
DEXTER (82) -- Mollie Whitehead 6, Katelynn Frazier 6, Hannah Noe 9, Alison Jarrell 14, Erika Cobb 15, Brittany 17, Paige Patterson 15. FG 33 FT 7-11 F 9. (3-pointers: Noe 1, Jarrell 4, Cobb 3. Fouled out: none.)