Mexico goes 11-of-34 in 4-point loss to Kirksville
Going into tonight’s Class 4 District 8 semi-final matchup between the #2 seed Kirksville Tigers and the #3 seed Mexico Bulldogs, everyone expected a back-and-forth, closely contested game. They were not disappointed.
These two teams had split wins and losses during the regular season with each getting a win on the road and they are built very similar. Both teams are led by talented guards that can score the ball in a variety of ways.
Like predicted, it was a whale of a game as Kirksville eked out a 66-62 win over the Mexico Bulldogs in Moberly to advance to the district championship.
Mexico, who had to win Monday night to get into this game, looked a little stronger early, as they jumped to an early first quarter lead. The Bulldogs led 18-12 after one quarter and posted the biggest advantage of the game for either team at eight points.
Kirksville gained the hot hand to open the second and went on a 9-3 run to tie it as 21-all on a Justin McKim shot from just inside the left wing. Ike Danielson then gave the Tigers their first lead at the 1:52 mark with a floater in the paint. DJ Long immediately responded for Mexico with an add-1 drive to the paint. It went back and forth for the final minute and a half as the teams would be tied at 27 at the intermission.
Mexico again came out strong to open the third behind Jaydon Eldridge’s seven points, and they went to the fourth leading 42-38.
Mexico extended that lead when Jordan Shelton opened the fourth with a steal and run-out lay-up. Most of the fourth was played at the foul line as both teams were in the double bonus early. Mexico led by eight with 3:20 left when point guard DJ Long fouled out. Danielson’s resulting free-throws cut it to six.
After a couple of PJ Perkins missed free throws, Cole Kelly cut it to three with his first points of the night, a trey from the far corner. However, with 1:52 left Perkins got a layup and then was fouled after an MHS steal. He hit one of two free throws to extend the Dawg lead to 59-52.
Kelly answered with a conventional three-point play before Anthony Shivers hit two free throws. Then Danielson went for an and-one of his own to cut the lead to 61-59 with :59 left.
The final points were all scored at the free throw line where Mexico went 3-of-9 in the last minute of play, while the Tigers were 7-of-8.
Shelton finished with a team-high 19, while Long added 18, Eldridge 11 and Perkins 9.
The Tigers were led by Danielson who had a game high 31, Keaton Anderson added 16 and Kelly added 10, all in the fourth quarter.
Kirksville (19-7) will now face the #4 seed Hallsville Indians in Friday night’s district championship. Hallsville advanced with a 78-65 win over #1 Macon (22-5). Hallsville is now 21-7 and they were led in scoring by 6’5″ senior forward Kolton Garner with 25 points.