(David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)
BLOOMFIELD -- The Bernie Mules used timely 3-point shooting to hold off the Portageville Bulldogs 67-64 in Saturday's fifth-place game of the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
Portageville looked to have all of the momentum as Byron Wright hit a shot to put the Bulldogs ahead 60-58, but Bernie answered moments later when junior Zach Curry sunk a 3-pointer from the corner to put Bernie ahead for good.
"I watched (Bernie) play the night before against South Pem and South Pem played so hard, earned everything they got, and Bernie would come down and shoot a 3," said Portageville coach Jim Bidewell. "That is the way I felt tonight. We just battled, battled, battled came back and they bust a 3 and it just takes the wind out of you. It is a great equalizer. You live by it and die by it and right now they're living high."
Portageville looked sharp in the first half and headed into the locker room with 35-27 lead on the Mules. The Bulldogs gained the lead with the help of Dometric Trotter who hit three-straight 3-pointers in the second quarter.
However, Bernie used their own 3-point shooting in the second half to rally past Portageville, hitting five-of-six on their way to the win.
"Eight points isn't a big lead on Bernie because they can really shoot it," Bidewell said. "I think they shot over 50 percent from 3-point land. You can't leave them open."
While Bernie used the 3-pointer to go ahead late in the fourth, Portageville still had their chances. Trailing 66-61, Wright hit a 3-pointer and was fouled on the shot, making the score 66-64. Wright's free throw was off the mark and Portageville's Jacob Estes fought for the rebound but in the process stepped on the endline, giving the ball to Bernie with 11.5 seconds to play.
The Mules were fouled and went to the line where they missed both free throws but Bernie's Jake Welch made a leaping save as the ball was about to go out-of-bounds and passed it to teammate Silas Dill who was fouled with 0.5 seconds remaining. Dill hit one free throw and a Wright shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
"I thought our kids played hard but we just left them open one too many times and didn't rebound there in the end that really killed us," Bidewell said. "We're gradually getting better every game. I don't know if we'll ever be a great team, but we can definitely be a better team than what we have been. Tonight was a step in the right direction. We learned some lessons this week."
Portageville (6-4) was led in scoring by Wright's 15. Trotter and Telrale Jones each added 11. Jones also garnered seven rebounds.,
Bernie was led by Jake Owens' game-high 24. Curry added 22 and also pulled down nine rebounds. Dill scored 10 and had seven rebounds.
Portageville will be back in action Friday when they travel to Scott County Central.
Hayti 51, Doniphan 49
The Hayti Indians won their first Bloomfield Christmas Tournament title, but had to survive three Doniphan Don shots in the last 20 seconds to get the 51-49 win.
The Dons trailed 51-49 with less 20 seconds when Chandler Wilson came off a screen and had a wide-open look for a 3-pointer. The shot was off the mark but Charles Wilson pulled down the rebound and put up another shot that was again off the mark. However, Greg Davis grabbed another offensive rebound but his shot rimmed out at the buzzer and Hayti held on for the win.
Top-seeded Hayti was led in scoring by George Hamilton's 15 points. Denzel Presberry added 11.
Doniphan was led by Charles Wilson and Davis who each scored 15.
Malden 67, Puxico 51
After knocking off two higher seeds and taking another one to the wire, the Puxico Indians ran out of gas in Saturday's third place game, falling to Malden 67-51.
Malden put enormous pressure on the Indians' 3-point shooters and Malden hit several 3-pointers of their own in the first half to put the Green Wave ahead 34-18 at the half. Puxico could never cut the lead below nine points in the second half.
Malden was led by Nick Perkins who finished with a gamehigh 20 points. Marvin Fields tossed in 18 and Chad Hudson ended with 13.
David Crain led Puxico with 18 while John Smith added 13.
Van Buren 72, Twin Rivers 61
The Van Buren Bulldogs needed overtime to win the consolation title over Twin Rivers 72-61.
The Bulldogs seemingly had the game in hand, leading 55-43 with 5:24 left to play. But Twin Rivers wasn't done, finishing the game on a 14-1 run to tie the game at 56 at the end of regulation. However, the Bulldogs exploded in overtime and outscored Twin Rivers 16-5 to seal the win.
Tyler Freeze led Van Buren with 22 points and Brandon Tucker pitched in 17.
Twin Rivers was led by Kenny Johnson and Dylan Stockton who finished with 21 and 18 respectively.