Miller Career snaps Sikeston's 11-game win streak 76-61
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Coming off an intense, nail-biting win over state-ranked Caruthersville on Thursday, the Sikeston Bulldogs had to regroup less than 24 hours later with a road trip to St. Louis at Miller Career Academy.
But things did not go Sikeston's way as the Bulldogs' 11-game winning streak was snapped with a 76-61 loss to Miller Career on Friday evening.
Miller Career (17-7) solved Sikeston's pressure defense and completely dominated the boards, leading to numerous second-chance points for the Phoenix.
"You have to give them credit, they played very well," Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said. "They were much more aggressive than we were on the boards. Nothing went our way. The ball didn't bounce our way tonight. It was just one of those nights and we have to use this as a learning experience. It's a very difficult game for us after a tough game last night."
Sikeston (21-3) also had no answer for Miller Career senior Javonte Perkins, who finished with a game-high 34 points.
The 6-foot-7 Perkins, who Miller Career head coach Steve Hall said has a number of colleges recruiting him, controlled the boards and showed offensive versatility from beyond the 3-point line.
He finished 13 for 15 from the floor with 19 rebounds (nine offensive), five steals, four assists and two blocks.
"He's a tremendous player. He can play inside and outside. He can handle the ball. He does a lot for us," Hall said. "I thought my guards played exceptionally well. They handled the press, handled the traps. They got Javonte the ball in good spots. All the guards were tremendous tonight. We passed the ball well and got to open spots and knocked down the shots. I couldn't be more proud of them."
Sikeston junior Fred Thatch finished with 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, but found the going tough against a long, athletic, and physical Miller Career lineup that created 18 Bulldog turnovers.
Despite the Phoenix's physical defense, the Bulldogs only attempted two free throws in the game -- both by Thatch -- and they were whistled for just eight fouls. Sikeston was whistled for 17 fouls leading to 22 free throw attempts by the Phoenix.
"It's a difficult road game," Holifield said. "That's going to happen on the road in a difficult atmosphere. Things just didn't go our way."
The Bulldogs started well, leading by four at three different times in the first quarter, but Miller Career closed the period strong with a 15-5 run capped by a 3-pointer plus the foul by Perkins, who completed the 4-point play to take a 24-18 lead at the end of one.
After that point Sikeston never could reclaim the lead.
The Bulldogs trailed 38-33 at the half and were able to close the gap to three points four times in the third quarter, but the Phoenix pulled away from there, taking a 62-44 lead into the fourth quarter.
Miller Career led by as much as 23 points early in the fourth quarter, but Sikeston made one final push for a miraculous comeback, causing numerous turnovers with its pressure defense and traps.
Trey Jenkins' basket with 1:51 to play capped a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 71-61, but 40 seconds later Perkins cleaned up a missed shot with an offensive putback plus the foul to end the Bulldog threat and seal the game.
Sikeston caused 16 turnovers against the Phoenix, with six of those coming in the fourth quarter, but it was too late for the Bulldogs.
"I thought we competed, but we got behind," Holifield said. "I thought we played hard but just never could get over the hump. I thought we played hard so that's a positive. Miller Career has a good team. They're very talented and they have a really good player."
The Phoenix got 19 points from Mike Clark.
Sikeston sophomore Kevin Jones finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
The Bulldogs were 7 of 23 (30 percent) from 3-point range and they were 26 of 61 (43 percent) overall from the field. The Bulldogs finished with 27 rebounds in the game.
This is Sikeston's second game ever against Miller Career Academy. The Bulldogs also played them in the Cape Central Tiger Shootout in 2014, defeating the Phoenix 71-34. Perkins, a freshman at the time, finished with seven points in that game.
Miller Career competes in Class 4, District 4 where they received the two seed in its district behind top-seeded Vashon, the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
Hall said he hopes Friday's win over the Bulldogs is a momentum push heading into district play.
"This is a big, big win for us," Hall said. "I was looking for a game and I put it on MSHSAA. Sikeston contacted us and said they would come here and I said I would go there next year. I think it's a great game for us and a great matchup for us. It's a great win for us, obviously. I'm looking forward to going down there next year. Hopefully we can use this and get prepared for our district."
Sikeston will play its final regular season game on Tuesday when they host Jackson at 6 p.m. It will be the Bulldogs' Senior Night. Sikeston's district play will be held at Ste. Genevieve beginning next Saturday.
SIKESTON (61) -- Fred Thatch 32, Kevin Jones 12, Phayzun Fobbs 6, Jason Moore 5, Trey Jenkins 4, Payton Howard 2. FG 26, FT 2-2, F 17. (3-pointers: Thatch 4, Jones 2, Moore 1. Fouled out: none).
MILLER CAREER (76) -- Javonte Perkins 34, Mike Clark 19, Marcus Redrick 6, Darrion Hayes 5, Jamontez Bonner 5, Deangelo Kelly 4, Dovonte Hughes 3. FG 28, FT 14-22, F 8. (3-pointers: Clark 2, Redrick 2, Kelly 2, Hayes 1, Perkins 1, Bonner 1. Fouled out: none).
Sikeston's J.V. team improved to 15-3 on the season with a 63-31 win over Miller Career's junior varsity.
Sikeston was led by JeQuan Ray's 22 points. Payton Howard followed up with 15 points in a half of action. Clark Steward scored 14 points.
B.J. Hill had eight assists and five steals. Lorandis Phillips grabbed 10 rebounds.
SIKESTON (63) -- JeQuan Ray 22, Payton Howard 15, Clark Steward 14, Lorandis Phillips 4, Dylon Mills 3, Colby Henson 3, B.J. Hill 2. FG 24, FT 6-8, F 14. (3-pointers: Ray 4, Howard 3, Henson 1, Mills 1. Fouled out: none).
MILLER CAREER (31) -- Lovett 11, Hill 10, Redrick 5, Smith 5. FG 11, FT 6-12, F 6. (3-pointers: Lovett 2, Smith 1. Fouled out: none).