Early start helps Sikeston in district win over Dexter

Sikeston's Karris Allen looks to put back a rebound against Dexter Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, at the Sikeston Field House.
David Jenkins/Standard Democrat

SIKESTON, Mo – In recent weeks, Sikeston head coach Alisha Wills has stressed to her team a renewed emphasis on playing a consistent 32 minutes of basketball.

This week the Lady Bulldogs have seen the results with a pair of wins over Class 4, District 1 rivals to kickstart their second half of the season and move to within a game of .500.

Building on Monday’s 15-point road-win over Perryville, Sikeston jumped on top of Dexter early Thursday night and carried a double-digit lead the entire second half to down the Lady Bearcats 72-45.

“We put together four full quarters,” Wills said of her team’s win over Dexter. “That’s something I’ve been preaching to them. We did that Monday night against Perryville, and that was the thing going into tonight, that we have to have another night just like that.

“It has to be four full quarters, and you have to get after it.”

Sikeston’s start set the tone, opening the game 6 of 8 from the field to build a 19-4 lead six minutes into the contest.

Dexter (3-15) regrouped to close their deficit to 10 points entering the second quarter, 21-11, but the closest the Lady Bearcats to get to Sikeston (8-9) was within nine points midway through the frame.

With a 12-2 run to end the second quarter, including the final eight points of the half, the Lady Bulldogs took a comfortable 40-21 advantage into halftime.

“That’s something with this young group that I stress to them when we start a game,” Wills said of the strong start. Let’s get out and set the tempo. Let’s make it our game from the tip. They took care of the ball and did what they were supposed to do with it.”

Sophomore Karris Allen’s 17 first-half points fueled Sikeston’s hot first half.

Fellow sophomore Amyari Blissett and senior Taydrianna Barnett contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, to give the Lady Bulldog’s three players in double figures heading into the locker room.

“(Allen’s) making things happen and creating things,” Wills said. “She’s good about getting people involved in the offense and seeing someone open. Her nights are the best when she gets others involved.

“I love to see her crash the boards and get rebounds and stick-backs. That’s huge too.”

After Dexter closed back within 15 points to open the third quarter on a 12-3 run, Sikeston extended their lead to 58-37 entering the fourth.

Though the Lady Bearcats ensured the turbo-clock never kicked in, they were unable to get any closer than 19 points in the final frame.

“I hope we learned a little bit tonight,” Dexter head coach Eric Sitze said. “They’re athleticism hurt us tonight. Rebounding hurt us. They sped us up on offense some.

“We’re improving. Half the game we did some good things, the other half we didn’t. We’ll keep learning.”

Allen and Blissett both came away with a game-high 21 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs, including Blissett hitting three of the team’s six 3-pointers on the night.

Barnett finished with 18 points, going 4 of 5 from the free-throw line.

“We’re out there on the floor with just one senior,” Wills said. “We rely on sophomores to fill in gaps and freshmen. I’m bringing up three freshmen. They’re seeing sizable minutes.

“I think we’re getting to that point where everything is starting to come together, and we’re figuring out things and maturing physically and mentally.”

Leading Dexter was senior Alexa Werneck, hitting three 3-pointers on her way to 16 points. Sophomore Dulcie Pullen was second on the team with 12 points.

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DEXTER (45) – Bailey Chamberlain 2, Rachel Cobb 3, Sydney Asberry 5, Alexa Werneck 16, Magi McBride 1, Karlee Keirsey 6, Dulcie Pullen 12. FG 16, FT 7-10, F 13. (3-pointers: Cobb 1, Werneck 3, Keirsey 2. Fouled out: none.)

SIKESTON (72) – Kerra Parr 3, Taydrianna Barnett 18, Armani Hodges 2, Amyari Blissett 21, Camryn Self 5, Shania Hodges 2, Karris Allen 21. FG 27, FT 12-19, F 11. (3-pointers: Parr 1, Blissett 3, Self 1, Allen 1. Fouled out: none.)

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