(Josh Mills/Standard Democrat)
PORTAGEVILLE -- The Portageville Bulldogs' district foe, Charleston, came to town Friday evening, stealing a victory from the home team. The Bluejays started with a different set-up on the floor to begin the game, and over the course of 32 minutes, nine players got involved in the 78-65 win.
"It's the end of the season," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "Sometimes you just have to get a win. That was just one of those games where we just wanted to come in here and get a win."
Farmer utilized the bench early and often, as the Bluejays went up 19-12 in the first quarter and led by as many as 16 in the second quarter. But, by the end of the second quarter, Portageville made a run, behind T.J. Smith's three first-half 3-pointers to pull within six. At the break, the Bulldogs trailed 40-34.
In the second half, Terrale Jones put together a short charge for the home team as he rattled off eight points alongside teammate Byron Wright's six. However, the effort wasn't enough to stop the quickness of Charleston's offense, as Fred Pratt and Allen Hemphill combined for 11 of the Bluejays' 21 points in the third, increasing the lead to 61-49 going into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter of play, Donald Dixon's six points and Antonio Riggens' seven, pushed the Charleston lead far enough from reach. The Bulldogs had no answer down the stretch as the visiting Bluejays took home the victory 78-65.
"Our effort was there," said Farmer. "We haven't played in eight or nine days. We played without Brian (Parham) in the second half."
Parham finished with 14 points, despite not playing in the second half due to illness.
Riggens led Charleston with 15 points and five steals, while Pratt added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Farmer went on to say that the key for the Bluejays was to shut down the inside easy buckets that the Bulldogs often get.
"We tried to put it to them on defense," he said. "They wanted to get some easy cuts to the bucket. We wanted to take that away and make them earn the outside shot."
Smith earned his outside shots for Portageville, as he finished with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Wright finished with 14 points as well, including one basket beyond the arc.
For the Bulldogs, head coach Jim Bidewell said that the easy shots that they gave up early to the Bluejays is what put the score too far from reach.
"We gave up a lot of easy shots early," said Bidewell. "We gave up some layups, and they run the ball up the floor well. We really weren't ready and for the most part they battled.
"We battled hard, too," he added. "But, they were more aggressive early, and it kind of caught us off-guard at first. We had to use up all of our energy to catch up. We were a little spent there in the second half."
Bidewell added that if they can put a stop to their opponent's easy baskets, then they can be contenders against any team they face.
Portageville was led in scoring by Jones, who racked up 19 points and six rebounds.
Up next for Charleston (15-7) is a contest at home, Tuesday night against the Cape Central Tigers.
The Bulldogs (13-8) will be on the road Friday evening against the New Madrid County Central Eagles. Junior varsity match-ups will square-off at 6 p.m. with varsity action to follow.