Sikeston uses 3-point barrage to eliminate Notre Dame from SEMO Tournament

Sikeston's Kobe Thomas (5) goes for a layup during a 69-44 win over Notre Dame in the SEMO Conference Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 7. (Dennis Marshall/Standard-Democrat)

SIKESTON — The Sikeston basketball team might have a ways to go in developing chemistry amongst its raw nucleus, but the team showed its incredible potential on Wednesday night, thumping Notre Dame in the SEMO Conference Consolation Bracket.

Sikeston (3-2) won 69-44 at the Fieldhouse and knocked down a dozen 3-pointers, half those coming from Dontrez Williams, who scored a game-high 28.

“We have such a long way to go because we’re such a young team,” said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. “We were focused and I saw improvement tonight. That’s part of having a young team: You’re going to have some great moments and you are going to have some down moments, but we’re going to get better each day. It’s just going to take some time to get where we want to be.”

Williams scored the first bucket of the game on a short jump shot. Trace Sadler had a takeaway on the next possession and Chris Artis scored in transition but Notre Dame got back-to-back scores from Brett Dohogne and Wil Morgan to tie it up 4-4, and gained its first lead, 7-6, after Kolten Johnson made a 3-pointer.

Tristan Wiggins answered with a 3-point shot on the other end of the court to regain the lead for Sikeston. Another jumper from Williams and a pair of free throws from Lakereon McCray increased the lead to 13-7 and Sikeston led 19-14 at the end of the first quarter.

“Younger kids don’t always tend to know what it takes on a day-to-day basis,” Holifield said. “Once this group figures that out we will have a chance to have a real good team.”

Notre Dame regained the lead early in the second quarter after eight straight points that came on 3-pointers from Johnson and Dohogne and a putback from Morgan.

The teams exchanged the lead a couple more times before halftime. A putback from Williams placed Sikeston ahead 23-22, but Johnson made three free throws to regain the lead for Notre Dame.

Creighton Sarakas nailed a 3-pointer to make it 26-25 in Sikeston’s favor, but Morgan hit a contested scoop shot that gave a one-point lead back to Notre Dame. The finally led change of the first half came when Wiggins made a high-arching floater in the lane. Kobe Thomas added a steal and score, but Notre Dame trailed just 30-29 at halftime after a late inside score from Morgan.

“It was one of those things where our guys sustained, maintained and we went into halftime with a slight lead,” Holifield said.

Notre Dame recaptured the lead 31-30 on a layup by Dennis, but both teams struggled offensively to start the third quarter.

However, about midway through the quarter the Sikeston shooters caught fire, and surprisingly, it all started on the defensive end.

“We got into a rhythm and flow,” Holifield said. “That’s all predicated on being able to guard, getting in the passing lanes and pressuring the basketball which gets us going offensively. We created some points off turnovers which I think helped our confidence and from that point on good things happened.”

Sikeston finished the third quarter on a 15-2 run, while also holding Notre Dame to single digits in the third and fourth quarters.

Sikeston gained its first double-digit lead with about a minute left in the third quarter when Morgan McCauley assisted Artis on a score in transition and pushed the lead to 20 when Williams made a back-to-back 3-pointer about midway through the final quarter.

“[Williams] took some good shots early from 12 to 15 feet that got him into a rhythm,” Holifield said. “He’s so talented, has everything it takes to be a great player and with his work ethic and practice, he will be.”

Wiggins was Sikeston’s next leading scorer with 12, while Artis and Thomas each contributed nine.

“[Wiggins and Artis] pressured the basketball well and their effort caused a lot of issues and problems for Notre Dame,” Holifield said. “We also had two freshmen out there that are going to be good players in Ben James and Kobe Thomas. They just have to get some experience and games like this will help.

“Our guys played hard and things came together for us in the second half,” he continued. “We did a decent job of moving the basketball throughout the evening, but we still had too many turnovers. We have to correct that and continued to play every possession as hard as we possibly can.”

Sikeston will face Poplar Bluff (2-1) in the consolation championship at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, while Notre Dame (1-4) was eliminated from the tournament. Notre Dame will next play when they host Park Hills Central (1-1) on Dec. 13.


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Sikeston (69) — Dontrez Williams 28, Tristan Wiggins 12, Christ Artis 9, Kobe Thomas 9, Creighton Sarakas 6, Harrison Arndt 3, Lakereon McCray 2. FG: 26. FT: 6-9. F: 13. (3-pointers: Williams 6, Sarakas 2, Wiggins 2. Fouled out: none.)

Notre Dame (44) — Kolten Johnson 12, Greg Dennis 11, Will Morgan 9, Brett Dohogne 8, Brock Clippard 2, Trent Shumacker 2. FG: 16. FT: 7-9. F: 13. (3-pointers: Johnson 2, Dohogne 2, Dennis 1. Fouled out: none.)

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