It is hard to imagine a more exciting game than the one between Sikeston and Ozark in the Class 4 boys’ semifinals on Friday. It wasn’t the best-played game, mind you, but it was certainly exciting.

In the end Sikeston was able to hold on to beat Ozark 84-79 to advance to their first-ever state championship game. The Bulldogs jumped out to a commanding 14-0 lead and were seemingly on their way to a romp, but the Tigers had something to say about that. They responded with an 11-0 run of their own to cut the Sikeston advantage to 14-11.

Sikeston gained control of the game and eventually got their double-digit back and led 42-32 at the half.

Ozark once again mounted a come back. They trailed 46-33 with 5:30 to go tin the third, when they began to slowly chip away at Sikeston’s lead. Cody Menzies put the Tigers up 56-54 with a bucket midway through the fourth. They later tied it 57-57, but never led again. The Bulldogs made 18-straight free throws in the fourth quarter and hit 21-of-23 in the second half to ice the game.

There were a total of 44 turnovers in the game, with Sikeston committing 25 of them.

Julian Beard led the way with 22 points for Sikeston, with Kash Bratcher right behind with 21. Michael Porter had 18 and Isaac Porter was the fourth Bulldog in double digits with 12.

Tyler Oakley’s 30 points for Ozark led all scorers.

Ozark’s season ends with a 21-10 record, as Sikeston moves on with a 23-6 mark.