(David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)
PORTAGEVILLE -- The last time the Portageville Bulldogs took on the Scott City Rams, the victory went to the Rams, by a score of 72-48.
Too bad for Scott City that it wasn't in the district tournament, because the second meeting between the two schools ended up with Portageville stealing the win to advance to the championship game. The Bulldogs took the contest into overtime, where they held the Rams scoreless, winning by a final score of 45-35.
Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell had his squad ready for battle Tuesday evening, as they put a stop to the often dangerous 3-point shooting raid of Scott City.
"Those two kids, (Jay Simmons and Shae Simmons) are so consistent (shooting 3-pointers)," Bidewell said. "We just had to do something that would stop them from getting into a rhythm. Every time they got loose, it seemed like they made us pay for it."
The tip went in Scott City's favor to get the game rolling, but the first basket of the game went to the Bulldogs with 5:02 left to play in the first quarter. It was evident that the pace of play would be much slower than the previous meeting between the two teams, as each offensive possession was drawn out looking for the open shot.
Portageville fell behind by four points in the first, but Byron Wright collected nine points of the Bulldogs' 13 total in the opening quarter giving the home team a slight edge 13-12 going into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Alex King totaled up seven points as the Rams outscored Portageville 11-9, gaining a 23-22 lead going into the break.
Coming out of halftime, it was a struggle to hit a field goal for each team, as Scott City didn't connect on any of their shots, and the Bulldogs could only hit one, by Bruce Mathis. Wright added a field goal, and that was all of the scoring that took place in the third, as Portageville scored three points, while the Rams only recorded one.
The Bulldogs were back on top 25-24 heading into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth quarter, the game got interesting.
Scott City trailed going into the quarter, but within 20 seconds, Jay Simmons connected on a 3-pointer giving the Rams a 27-25 lead.
Around 30 seconds later Wright tied the game at 27 apiece, only to see Shae Simmons extend the lead back to three points, 30-27 with a shot beyond the arc.
Scott City held their lead, and built on it to make the score 34-29 as Alex King hit a shot in the lane with 2:31 left on the clock.
However, Portageville's squad was determined not to throw in the towel just yet, as T.J. Smith drove the lane for two points with 1:34 left to cut the lead to 34-31. With 1:03 left to play, it was Wright for two points in the paint making the score 34-33 in favor of the visitors.
A key moment in the game for the home team, came with 42 seconds left on the clock, as King fouled out for the visitors, knocking out Scott City's force down low.
"He's so tough inside," said Bidewell. "Fouling him out made it to where we could put a little more pressure on them."
Just moments later a Bulldog foul sent Caleb Estes to the line for the Rams. Estes connected on just one free-throw leaving the Portageville team a chance to tie or steal the lead with 30 seconds to play.
Eight seconds later, it was Wright providing the magic for the Bulldogs again, as he drained two free-throws tying the game at 35 apiece.
With 14 seconds left in regulation, Scott City had to take two timeouts after failing to get the ball inbounds on two attempts.
Both teams failed to break the tie, sending the game into bonus play in overtime.
The four minute overtime was all Portageville, as Wright and Smith scored four points apiece, while Fred Treadwell added two of his own. The Rams still couldn't find their offense, as they were held scoreless in the bonus action, giving the Bulldogs a 45-35 victory.
"We played probably our best ball game mentally tonight," said Bidewell. "I was so proud of our kids for not quitting. We told them at halftime to just keep playing the way we thought we needed to play to win."
"I really appreciate the way our kids responded on our game plan," he added. "They deserved it. The bottom line is, you can coach all you want to, but those guys on the floor have to do it, and they did it, and had great attitudes doing it tonight. It was fun coaching them tonight."
For the Bulldogs, Wright led the way with 23 points and four rebounds, while Smith knocked down 10 points in the victory.
Terrale Jones chipped in with seven rebounds for Portageville.
Scott City finishes the season with an overall record of 17-8.
"You've got to give a lot of credit to Portageville and Jim Bidwell," said Scott City head coach Lance Amick. "They got the better of us tonight and outlasted us. A lot of things didn't go our way at the end of the ballgame. That's just part of the sporting events -- somebody's got to lose."
Amick added that they will bring back seven juniors for next season's squad, and that they're all good kids.
King led the Rams in scoring with 11 points, adding 11 rebounds in the loss.
Up next for Portageville is the title game against NMCC on Thursday evening. The only meeting between the two teams this season ended in an 80-67 victory for the Eagles. The championship contest will begin at 7:30 p.m.