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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Big start propels Portageville

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FIRING BACK: Justin Shipp pulls up for a jumper in traffic in action from the Class 2 sectional round March 11 in Poplar Bluff. Thayer fell to Portageville 59-39. Photos/Mullins
With 40 seconds left on the third-period clock, the Portageville Bulldogs looked a bit confused on offense and guard Byron Wright threw the ball to where he thought a teammate should be standing. But there was no teammate there and the basketball sailed into the stands for an un-forced turnover.

Unfortunately for the Thayer Bobcats, that was about the only mistake Portageville made in the Class 2 Sectionals at Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff March 11.

The Bulldogs were in front 36-16 at that point in the game and they went on to end Thayer's season with a 59-39 victory over the Bobcats.

Portageville went on to earn a trip to the Class 2 Final Four in Columbia with a big win over the Bernie Mules in the quarterfinal round March 14 at the West Plains Civic Center.

Portageville (21-5), the state's fifth-ranked Class 2 team, grabbed an early lead against Thayer and just refused to let the Cats (23-4), ranked eighth in Class 2, get within striking distance.

From the beginning, it was obvious that the Bulldogs were not going to be in an kind of hurry.

Portageville worked the ball around the perimeter of Thayer's zone defense for almost two minutes on the game's opening possession, looking for the shot it wanted.

The shot it got was a 3-pointer from D.J. Birdwell, giving the Bulldogs a lead they would enjoy the rest of the evening.

Portageville hit six treys in the sectional round against Thayer, this after the Bulldogs racked up nine 3-pointers in the District 1 Tournament finals vs. Campbell.

Jacob Eckman hit Thayer's first bucket at the 3:40 mark of the first, but as it turned out, those would be the Bobcats' only two points of the frame.

The Bulldogs closed the first on a 7-0 run to move in front 11-2 at the start of the second period.

Birdwell opened the second with a trey to keep Portageville moving.

The Bobcats were down 16-3, their biggest deficit of the season, when Lance Schneider took matters into his own hands.

With 6:52 left until the half, Schneider drilled a baseline jumper for Thayer's second field goal of the first half. He then followed that by jacking a long 3-ball and hitting one of two free throws the next time down court for Thayer.

Schneider capped a personal 8-0 run with a one-handed tipin of a missed shot at the 4:03 mark of the second, pulling the Bobcats within five, 16-11. Schneider paced Thayer with 17 points in the game.

But the rest of the period was all Portageville.

Wright (20 points) hit a 3-pointer, followed by a trey by Dometric Treadwell (17 points), helping the Bulldogs outscore Thayer 9-1 the last three minutes of the second and send the teams to intermission with Portageville holding a 25-12 lead.

The second half played out largely like the first, with the Bulldogs managing to be efficient on offense, while Thayer just could not find its stride at sticking the ball in the hoop.

What didn't help the Bobcats in their attempt to play catchup was when Luke Martin picked up his fourth foul with 2:25 left in the third. Martin fouled out just 48 seconds deep into the final period.

Schneider hit a layup to get the Cats started in the third, but Portageville responded with a 7-0 burst, keyed by a Wright 3-pointer.

Ryan Veatch (five points) halted the Bulldogs' run with a tough shot in the lane, but Wright fired back with back-to-back hoops that pushed Portageville in front 36-16.

Justin Shipp (13 points) stuck a trey for Thayer with 35 ticks left in the third, but the Bulldogs took a 38-19 lead into the fourth period.

Shipp tossed in nine points in the last period, but Portageville's cushion was just too thick and the Bulldogs went on to a 59-39 victory.

Josh Huckabee finished with two points for Thayer.

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