(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Their comeback bid fell just a tad short.
Spearheaded by Mikala Nichols' scoring efforts, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs couldn't find a way to pull out a win against Twin Rivers Monday at the Sikeston Field House, 42-36.
"Defensively, I think we did a really good job. Especially in the first half," Sikeston head coach Matt Schonhoff said. "The second half, they started to cut and we got a little lax there. They got some layups that way."
Tori Cole led the way for Twin Rivers. Cole was effective in every facet of the game with 16 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks -- she had seven blocks in the first half alone.
Sikeston was led by Nichols' 16 points. Haylie Chapman added 10 which included two 3-pointers and Erica Peet had eight points and nine rebounds. Brianna Sherrell's two points off the bench were Sikeston's only scorers of the night.
"In the second half we did a much better job scoring," Schonhoff said. "But, a lot of the other times, we just didn't run our offense the right way."
Cole began the game by dominating the inside. The 6-0 lefty rendered Sikeston's desire for layups and short jumpers useless by swatting anything near her.
"They came out in a man (defense) and with Cole in the middle it negated our offense," Schonhoff said. "We weren't reading our cuts and screens right."
Her presence forced Sikeston to the outside where Nichols took advantage.
Sikeston's leading scorer shot at a 50 percent clip (7 of 14) and was particularly hot from the top of the key where she found herself within the soft area of the Lady Royals' defense.
"When she's relaxed she plays very well," Schonhoff said about Nichols. "When she gets rushed, things tend to not go her way. Tonight, she was relaxed, hit the screen and went up nice and easy to hit some jumpers."
After the first quarter, both teams were sitting with eight points -- Nichols scored six of the eight. Two three pointers from Taylor Galloway turned things in Twin Rivers' way in the second period while Sikeston struggled to find their shot.
The Lady Royals outscored Sikeston 12-4 and took a comfortable 20-12 lead at the half.
The Lady Bulldogs lost a small amount of ground in the third quarter being outscored 14-12. Both Cole and Hannah Sandler, who ended up with 14 points, scored six in the frame while Nichols continued to keep Sikeston close with six points of her own.
Twin Rivers went into the third quarter with a 34-24 lead.
With 4:40 left to play, Chapman sank her first 3-pointer to cut Sikeston's deficit to nine. Later, back to back baskets by Nichols with 1:35 remaining made it a 39-33 game.
Chapman's second 3-pointer pulled Sikeston to the closest they would come with 29 seconds left at 41-36.
A foul to stop the clock sent Lexi Stockton to the free throw line for a 1-and-1 and Twin Rivers came up with the offensive rebound. Twice more the Lady Royals would come up with the ball after a foul and free throws which did not give Sikeston a chance to slice the Lady Royal advantage again.
"We didn't get our chances with rebounds," said Schonhoff. "They were able to capitalize there."
Twin Rivers shot 6 of 10 from the free throw line in the final quarter. Sikeston did not shoot a free throw the entire game due hugely to Twin Rivers' defense that saw Cole patrolling the middle and the rest of the Lady Royals defenders guarding the paint daring Sikeston to shoot the ball.
"We made the adjustment at halftime to have (Cole) come out with the screens and she didn't do it," said Schonhoff. "That allowed us to come hard off the screen and hit some jumpers, which is what Mikala (Nichols) did."
Sikeston moves to a record of 4-11 and will host Scott City Thursday at the Field House.
TWIN RIVERS (42) -- Taylor Galloway 6, Tori Cole 16, Sydni Hester 4, Lexi Stockton 2, Hannah Sandler 14. FG 14 FT 11-18 F 1. (3-pointers: Galloway 2, Cole 1. Fouled out: none.)
SIKESTON (36) -- Hayli Chapman 10, Mikala Nichols 16, Erica Peet 8, Brianna Sherrell 2. FG 17 FT 0-0 F 14. (3-pointers: Chapman 2. Fouled out: none.)