SIKESTON -- The Dexter Bearcats were eliminated from the SEMO Conference Tournament Tuesday following their second-straight lopsided loss in two nights.
The eighth-seeded Bearcats fell to Jackson, the fourth seed, 64-38 during the first round of the consolation bracket at the Sikeston Field House.
Jackson moves on to the finals where they will play either Poplar Bluff or NMCC Friday at 5:30 p.m. for the consolation championship.
The Mules and NMCC will square off Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
The Bearcats found themselves in deep trouble from the get-go.
Jackson was ahead 20-4 after the first quarter and continued to pound away in the second leading 42-13 at halftime, seemingly, putting the game away.
Dexter (0-4) was led by DJ Dowdy who paced all scorers with 17 points. Brad Potts chipped in 10.
Brandon Leuders scored a team-high 12 points for Jackson, who had 11 players register points. Braden Wendell and Blake Reynolds added nine points apiece.
Central defeats NMCC
to reach semifinals
SIKESTON, Mo. -- There were small mishaps along the way, but a young and inexperienced Central Tiger team found a way to escape with a win.
The Tigers pulled out a narrow 59-54 win against New Madrid County Central during the SEMO Conference Tournament on Tuesday night.
Central will take on the tournament's No. 2 seed, Sikeston, in a Thursday semifinal at 8:30 p.m.
Jamal Cox, one of just two returning players with varsity experience, led the Tigers with 25 points and nine rebounds. Marcus Dixon, a varsity rookie, chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.
"They're going to get lost," Central coach Drew Church said of his team's lack of experience. "Hopefully we can play hard enough to overcome those mental mistakes. Tonight, I felt we did that in the second half."
Despite small hiccups in the last two quarters, Central, the tournament's third seed, mimicked a seasoned crew at times making sure Cox had his chances under the basket when they needed him the most.
Cox, a 6-6 junior, scored 16 points in the second half, including a go-ahead score with two minutes left to put the Tigers ahead 52-51.
"We definitely need to go inside to Cox," said Church. "Marcus [Dixon] has never played varsity basketball either, but we need to go inside first and look for that."
Although he lacks the playing time, Dixon pitched in late in the game as well.
The 6-2 senior hit the layup that put Central up for good, 54-52, with 1:12 remaining.
A free throw by Al Young, a stick-back by Cox and two more free throws from Young within the last minute sealed Central's victory.
"Knowing where the ball's supposed to go, where a cut is supposed to be, little things like that are where we lack," Church said. "But, I told them that we're going to make mistakes. If we have effort and still make mistakes and I can deal with that."
Central's lack of experience and intensity showed in the first half as NMCC jumped to a quick 7-0 lead.
Eventually, Cox put the Tigers on the board and scored their first seven points.
Central was down 15-10 at the end of the first quarter and 26-21 at the half.
A swarming defense turned the tide for Central, leading to its first lead of the game halfway through the third quarter when a steal by Mikey Jones led to an offensive putback by Dixon to give the Tigers a 34-33 advantage.
From that point, there were six lead changes and five ties until Central pulled away late.
"We wanted to come out and be aggressive defensively. We didn't do that the first half," Church said. "I couldn't understand why. So, we had a good talk -- a really good talk -- at halftime, and in the second half we guarded a little better. We didn't play scared and we attacked."
The Eagles were led by sophomore Willie Jimerson who scored a game-high 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field.
NMCC (54) -- Willie Jimerson 29, Armondo Thatch 4, Jashawn McDaniel 2, Delontre Haney 9, Asten Newsom 6, Darrin McGlosin 4. FG 21 FT 9-12 F 18. (3-pointers: Jimerson 3. Fouled out: none.)
CENTRAL (59) -- Al Young 4, Garon Evans 5, Jamal Cox 25, Braion Owens 2, Mikey Jones 7, Andre Statam 2, Marcus Dixon 14. FG 24 FT 9-15 F 14. (3-pointers: Evans 1, Jones 1. Fouled out: none.)