(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Sikeston Bulldogs improved to 12-0 on the season with a 76-46 victory over Parkway South on Saturday afternoon in the 18th Annual Tiger Shootout at Cape Central High School.
The Bulldogs were as sharp as they had been all year in the first half, out-scoring the Patriots 29-7 in the first quarter and holding a 55-22 lead at halftime.
"Parkway South's a quality team and I thought our players came out and dictated the pace with great ball pressure," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "Also we were attacking the rim offensively. Our players have really been working hard in practice and I was glad to see it carry over."
The Patriots entered the game having won five straight in the Tiger Shootout, but were quickly overwhelmed in its first-ever meeting with Sikeston.
The Bulldogs took a 10-6 first quarter lead and went on a 16-0 run to blow the game open early. Vashawn Ruffin's 3-pointer at the first quarter horn gave the Bulldogs a 29-7 lead. The Patriots had 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
"I thought we worked hard defensively and I thought we got on the boards, but more importantly we hit shots, which allowed us to build our lead," Holifield said.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as Sikeston went on a 17-4 run and led by as much as 55-18 before the Patriots scored consecutive baskets to close the half.
"We just got blitzed," Parkway South coach Mitch Stevens said. "We weren't prepared to handle their pressure and it took our guys some time to get up to speed. We're a young team so we're trying to find our way, and they just steamrolled us right away."
Despite going on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter, the Patriots (3-7) could not make up much ground as Sikeston led 72-40 heading into the final frame where the mercy clock ran the rest of the way.
"I was happy our kids settled down and were able to compete for two and a half quarters, but by then the game was already over and out of question," Stevens said. "(Ruffin) was lights out, I mean he was drilling 3's in the halfcourt. We gave up easy buckets. They're a well-coached team and their kids play hard."
Ruffin had 17 points and seven assists in the first half alone. He finished with a season-high 23 points along with eight assists, five steals and five rebounds.
Sikeston's J.T. Jones finished with 17 points with eight rebounds. Reese Porter followed up with 14 points.
"I think our players understand the level we have to get to offensively and defensively," Holifield said. "I thought we shared the ball offensively and we played as a team defensively."
Sikeston finished with 20 assists and 13 turnovers as a team.
The Bulldogs were 5 of 15 from 3-point range and they were a sizzling 33 of 54 (61 percent) overall from the field.
Parkway South was led by Jeremy Verges' 17 points and 6-foot-6 junior Matt Highsmith's 15 points. The Patriots finished with 20 turnovers, with 15 coming in the first half.
Sikeston will play at Fredericktown on Tuesday with junior varsity action starting at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs' next home game will be on Friday when they host Class 3 power Maplewood-Richmond Heights.
PARKWAY SOUTH (46) -- Jeremy Verges 17, Matt Highsmith 15, Chris Dandridge 5, Courtland Rogers 4, Cam Collier 3, Steve Powell 2. FG 18, FT 4-8, F 10. (3-pointers: Collier 1, Verges 1. Fouled out: none).
SIKESTON (76) -- Vashawn Ruffin 23, J.T. Jones 17, Reese Porter 14, Markeith Bratcher 10, Jairius Ray 4, Kyland Gross 4, Zach Jackson 2, Jeterrence Harris 2. FG 28, FT 5-7, F 11. (3-pointers: Ruffin 3, Bratcher 2. Fouled out: none).