Portageville beats Malden 60-34 in Bootheel Conference varsity girls basketball championship

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Portageville's Deondra Johnson drives in for two points in last Friday's Bootheel Conference Championship game. She3 led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points and to a championship victory. -Scott Seal photo

PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. - The third time proved to be the charm for the Portageville Bulldogs varsity girls basketball team at the Bootheel Conference Tournament.

After dropping the 2016 and 2017 conference tournament championships to the Malden Green Wave Portageville turned the tables Friday night.

No. 2 seeded Portageville outscored No. 1 seeded Malden in every quarter on its way to 60-34 victory and its first Bootheel Conference Tournament title since 2015.

“I was really proud of the way our girls came out and played tonight,” Portageville coach Kellye Fowler said. “They worked hard and did everything we had talked about. They just played hard from beginning to end. It’s probably the most complete game they’ve put together since Christmas.”

Portageville (15-9) never trailed Malden.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 13-4 lead less than seven minutes into the first quarter and continued to lead by nine points at 17-8 at the start of the second period.

Portageville increased its lead as large as 33-15 with 2:20 left in the second quarter before Malden scored the final five points of the first half to narrow the margin to 33-20 at halftime.

Portageville added a 12-0 run in the third quarter to increase its lead to 47-22 and led by at least 22 points the rest of the way.

“The bottom line is our game plan didn’t work and theirs did,” Malden coach Josh Herring said. “We turned the ball over too much and had a low shooting percentage. The ball just didn’t bounce our way tonight. We dug ourselves a hole early in the first quarter and it was tough to bounce back after that. But it was nice to get this far and have this opportunity because we got this far for a reason and I am humbled.”

The Bulldogs’ offense feasted on field goals near the paint.

Portageville recorded 24 2-pointers and just two treys.

Portageville center Deondra Johnson led the inside attack with 19 points. Sister Dasmine Johnson also finished in double digits with 11 points.

“We struggled some earlier this year finishing around the basket,” Fowler said. “Finishing strong has been a focus of ours. The girls really bought into that tonight and went up strong and finished well.”

The Green Wave, which recorded 21 field goals in a 53-52 victory against Portageville Jan. 19, managed just 12 field goals in a slower-paced contest Friday.

“I felt like we came out tonight and executed what we had been working on,” Fowler said. “We had worked on beating their press and not allowing them to speed us up. We wanted to slow the game down and work the ball and the girls did an excellent job of that tonight.”

Malden senior center Lana Reed recorded a team-high 11 points. Senior point guard Jada Criglar also finished in double digits for the Green Wave with 10 points.

The Green Wave (9-9) received a first-place plaque for winning the 2018 Bootheel Conference regular season title. Malden finished regular season conference play 7-0.

“We went undefeated in the conference,” Herring said. “ I’ve told a lot of people I’m happy to be where I am at and excited to have this opportunity at this level with this team. I’ll take tonight as a good learning lesson and try to make myself better as a coach. I blame myself for not getting these girls more prepared for tonight. But hopefully we can get back here again.”

Malden turns its attention to district play Monday when it visits East Prairie.

“We’ve got five games left before the district tournament and have seen the majority of teams in the district and have our last district game Monday night,” Herring said. “We’ve played with all the teams in our district except for a couple and have high hopes going into the district tournament.”

Portageville hosts Charleston in a pivotal district affair Friday.

“If we can play with this intensity I feel like we’ve got a shot in our district,” Fowler said. “We’ve got to work on that. We’ve been up and down all year. We play a great quarter and then we play a really bad quarter. I didn’t feel like we did that tonight. If we can play four quarters like we did tonight the rest of the season we have a chance to perform well in the district.”

No. 2 Portageville 60, No. 1 Malden 34

PHS 17 16 16 11 - 60

MHS 8 12 6 8 - 34

PORTAGEVILLE (60) - Jauslyn Johnson 3, Garielle Madison 9, Selinah Taylor 8, Savannah Lovins 4, Shaymia Roston 6, Dasmine Johnson 11, Deondra Johnson 19. FG 26, FT 6/16, F 14. (3-pointers: Madison 1, Deondra Johnson 1; Fouled out: None).

MALDEN (34) - Alyexus Lashay 6, Lana Reed 11, Jada Criglar 10, Ally Hoehn 2, Madison Saulsbery 5. FG 12, FT 9/16, F 15. (3-pointers: Saulsbery 1; Fouled out: None).

The Portageville Lady Bulldogs proudly show off their First Place BCT plaque last Friday night. Portageville defeated the Malden Lady Greenwave 60-34 for the title. -Scott Seal photo