The Kennett bench looks on as Kennett's No. 22 Harold Weeden celebrates his game-winning field goal against Pine Bluff, Ark., Saturday at the Riverbend Classic.
Kennett's Kevonte Mitchell completes a lay-up.
Kennett, which defeated Covington, Tenn., 61-59 last season when then sophomore Antavies Drake hit a 3-pointer with less than one second left in its Saturday contest, trailed the Pine Bluff, Ark., Zebras by one point with 16 seconds remaining Saturday.
Kennett put the ball in the hands of junior standout Kevonte Mitchell after it inbounded the ball at half court following a timeout.
"We ran our play to try to get me around a screen so I could get it in the post," Mitchell said of the closing seconds. "I saw I didn't have a shot so I pulled it out and kicked it to Harold Weeden inside."
Weeden, a sophomore, handled Mitchell's pass cleanly from the sideline near Kennett's own bench into the paint. He then drove the lane and rolled in a go-ahead 2-point field goal to give Kennett a 71-70 lead with four seconds remaining.
Kennett's Jay Edgington drains a 3-pointer from the corner.
"I figured they would come and defend me hard," Mitchell added. "That's why we set a screen to get me open and it worked out."
Pine Bluff inbounded the ball following Weeden's made shot without calling a timeout and eventually passed the ball to Michael Sission who released a shot approximately 22 feet away from the basket. Sission's shot made contact with the rim, but it did not fall. It would not have counted anyway as officials waved it off shortly after it was released because it was taken less than a second after the final buzzer sounded.
Kennett led the game 69-68 before Pine Bluff's Darren Kee, who calculated a team-high 28 points, collected a dunk on a stickback to put the Zebras on top 70-69 with 21 seconds left. Kennett moved the ball to half court before calling a timeout following the dunk.
"We had a lead late and I thought we could have made it a little easier at the end," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said of the 71-70 win. "But what I'm so proud of is after they took the lead on the dunk we executed what we wanted to do and didn't get anything out of it. Kevonte and Harold remained composed at the end. I was proud of Harold to finish that in the end. He needed that. He played really tough in the second half so I thought it was fitting for him to be able to get to finish it that way."
Kennett's Antavies Drake handles the ball.
"We did well," Mitchell said. "We've just got to get on the boards more and rebound. If we do that we'll be good."
Mitchell and Antavies Drake combined to score 13 of Kennett's 18 fourth-quarter points. Mitchell tallied six of his team-high 28 points in the fourth period and Drake added seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.
"Antavies was at his best in the fourth quarter, but he was fairly consistent throughout the game," Vaughan said. "I would have liked to have seen Kevonte go to the line a little bit more in the fourth quarter. I thought he got fouled a couple of times late, but it was a physical quarter and you are not going to get every bump. That's where he's got to get better about making sure he draws contact. But he did so many things defensively in the end guarding No. 33 and getting rebounds so his fourth quarter was about as complete as you can ask out of that kid."
Jay Edgington hit a 3-pointer in the first, second and third quarter for Kennett. He finished 3 for 3 from 3-point range.
"That's what Jay is going to give us consistently," Vaughan added. "There is not a kid on our team that doesn't say 'Jay shoot in when you are open.' He took the shot when he needed and passed up shots when he wasn't open. All of his shots were timely and in great spots. It was good for him to be able to contribute like that. It's a good feeling for your team to have a guy out there you know is going to knock it down."
Pine Bluff found itself in serious foul trouble late in the third quarter when forwards KaVon Cassidy and Sission were both whistled for their fourth fouls with more than nine minutes remaining in regulation. Cassidy fouled out of the game with 1:21 left in the third quarter. Sission remanded on the bench until the fourth quarter after picking up his fourth foul with 3:26 left in the third quarter.
"That was big for us," Vaughan said of Pine Bluff's foul trouble. "Those two kids were a little bit bigger than we were so it was nice to shrink them down to our size a little bit. What it allowed us to do is go with four guards more often. We were able to rebound even with a smaller team out there and it made us better defensively because we could speed the game up a little bit."
Kennett's Collin Smith at the free-throw-line.
"That's solid and we'll take that every night," Vaughan said. "We are going to keep shooting free throws and get better also. A couple more in the fourth quarter would have helped put it away earlier, but I'll take 20 for 27."
Kennett (1-1) is back in action Friday at 5:30 p.m. when it takes on Valley View, Ark., in the third annual Hall of Fame Basketball Classic at Rector, Ark., High School. Valley View defeated Kennett 62-61 last season.
"I've got to start making phone calls," Vaughan said. "I probably won't get any film on them or get to go watch them. But we will try to find out a little bit about them. I know they did lose their best player last season, but they are still a solid program that is well-coached. We've got a week to prepare for two good basketball games. We need to come out of the Hall of Fame Classic 3-1 this year. Last year we were 1-3 after the first two weekends. We'd like to step it up a little bit this year."
View a complete box score for the Kennett-Pine Bluff game below:
Kennett's Materion Jones with the ball in the paint.
PINE 16 24 13 17 - 70
KHS 20 19 14 18 - 71
PINE BLUFF (70) - Jalon Pullium 5, Quintaurs Walker 8, Marcus Thomas 9, Darren Kee 28, Ervin Jones 10, KaVon Cassidy 4, Michael Sission 6. FG 29, F/T 10/12, F 20. (3-pointers: Thomas 1, Kee 1. Fouled out: Cassidy)
KENNETT (71) - Antavies Drake 19, Jay Edgington 9, Akeem Nelson 2, Collin Smith 1, Kevonte Mitchell 28, Harold Weeden 8, Divante Taylor 4. FG 23, F/T 20/27, F 16. (3-pointers: Edgington 3, Drake 2. Fouled out: none)