Portageville's No. 20 Denzell Simmons attempts to stop Bernie's David Baker from completing a shot.
"That first eight minutes ended up being decisive tonight," Portageville head coach Jason Irby said. "I really can't explain why we came out so flat.
"Of course Bernie knocked down some shots, but defensively we didn't do the things we
B.J. Jenning knocked down four 3-pointers for Bernie in the first seven minutes of the game, leading the Mules to a 20-6 going into the second frame.
Portageville finally found their rhythm on a 10-1 run to start the second quarter and by halftime only trailed 28-25.
Bernie pulled out six point to start the fourth, but with 1:48 left to play the Bulldogs knotted things up at 45-45 with a 3-pointer from A.V. Banks.
A few missed shots allowed the Mules to pull ahead by six with 18 seconds remaining before another clutched shot from Banks behind the arc closed Portageville back to within a score.
With only 7.1 seconds to tie things up the Bulldogs made one last defensive stand to force a Mule turnover on an inbounds play on Portageville's baseline.
The Bulldogs inbounded and launched a quick, unsuccessful 3-point attempt that wound up out of bounds with Portageville maintaining possession.
Only 1.9 seconds remained when the Bulldogs inbounded from their base line straight to the top of the arc where a Bulldogs sat unguarded. He sent up a shot only to see it bounce off the rim and to the right side of the court as time expired.
"It looked good where I was at," Irby said of the final shot. "It was straight on. (The shooter) is not one of our three-point shooter necessarily, but at that point you don't have a timeout and are just glad to get an open look.
"We got an open look, it just didn't do down."
The Mules were perfect on their final six shots from the charity stripe on the night. They finished the game 16 of 21 (76 percent) from the line while the Bulldogs went 12 for 21 (57) percent in the contest.
"We got contributions from a lot of different kids," Bernie head coach Brad Botsch said. "We shot free throws better tonight and showed some guts at different times.
"When Portageville went on a run we'd emphasize being sure we stopped it and I thought we did a good job of that."
Bernie was led by 20 points from David Baker while Jenning finished with 15, all on 3-pointers.
For Portageville, Dominique Walker had a team-high 15 points withA.V. Banks close behind, scoring 14.
Irby credited the Bulldogs troubles on the boards as the main cause for the loss.
"I know at the end of the first quarter they had out-rebounded us 10-3 and that can't happen," Irby said. "There's no excuse for that. We have big, strong kids who are athletic and we just didn't put bodies on them.
"I thought if you look at one stat, that was the decisive stat. They out-rebounded us on the game and that shouldn't happen."
Bernie advances to the tournament semifinals, where they will meet Holcomb Sat. at 8:30 p.m.
The Bernie bench cheers from the sideline.
BHS 20 8 8 17 -- 53
PHS 6 19 5 20 -- 50
BERNIE -- (fg-ftm-fta-tp) Landon Woods 2-2-3-6, B.J. Jennings 5-0-0-15, Justin Stanfield 0-3-4-3, Bubby Schwent 1-1-2-3, David Baker 6-8-10-20, Sam Turner 2-2-2-6. Totals: 16-16-21-53.
PORTAGEVILLE -- (fg-ftm-fta-tp) Dion Foster 1-3-4-4, Dominique Walker 5-2-3-15, Robert Anderson 1-0-1-2, Denzell Simmons 0-1-2-1, A.V. Banks 5-1-2-14, Daniel Allen 2-2-5-6, Caleb Gooch 2-3-4-7. Totals: 16-12-21-50.
3-Pointers: Bernie 5 (Jennings 5); Portageville 6 (Walker 3, Banks 3).