Kennett's Kevonte Mitchell (left) glides to the basket. [Order this photo]
"They run good stuff and run it well," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said of Valley View. "They executed in the end and we didn't execute real good defensively at the end. We gave up 27 points in the fourth quarter."
Kennett trailed the game 33-19 with 1:21 remaining in the second quarter before it ended the first half on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 33-25. The Indians outscored Valley View 23-7 in the first seven minutes of the second half.
"We definitely took momentum into the lockerroom," Vaughan said. "We finished the second quarter good. We really started the third quarter well. That was definitely our best quarter tonight defensively. That's a positive we can go back and look at."
Six-foot-seven center Preston Graddy, who tallied 14 points against Kennett in the first half, was limited to one field goal in the third quarter. Graddy picked up three additional field goals in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 25 points.
"I don't think we defended him as much in the third quarter as we did their guards," Vaughan said of guarding Graddy. "We made it hard on him so they weren't able to get him the ball as much. We tried to speed the game up a little bit and when you do that it's not as easy to get into a half-court offensive set and get post touches. We lost Antavies late in the third quarter when he got sick. That was one speedy defender we didn't have the final eight minutes and we weren't able to keep the game as fast in the fourth quarter."
Valley View trailed until the 4:44 mark of the fourth quarter when back-to-back free throws by Isaac Horn put Valley View on top 54-52.
Antonio Primer recorded a field goal for Kennett with 1:04 remaining to tie the game at 63. Graddy followed with an old-fashioned 3-point play to put Valley View back on top 66-63.
Primer was fouled on Kennett's next offensive possession and made one of two free throws to trim the deficit to 66-64 with 42 seconds remaining. The Indians did not score after.
Primer tallied seven of his eight points after picking up his fourth foul with six minutes remaining in regulation. Primer recorded three of Kennett's six field goals in the fourth period.
"He got done in the fourth quarter what we anticipate him getting done in a full game," Vaughan said of Primer. "He had seven rebounds tonight in very limited minutes because he was in foul trouble throughout the game. Part of his foul trouble is breakdowns on the perimeter and we've got to get better about that. He's going to have to do a better job of keeping his hands out of the way, but once we get him on the floor more throughout the game that will obviously strengthen our team tremendously."
Indians' freshman Akeem Nelson had multiple breakaway lay-ups on his way to a nine-point night offensively.
"He let his athleticism take over," Vaughan said of Nelson. "He was active defensively and shot gaps well. He got some run outs. I'm proud of him for playing that hard. What it means is we will probably get more of that and then some from him in the future."
Kevonte Mitchell led the Indians in scoring with 21 points.
Kennett finished 13 of 15 from the free-throw-line.
The Indians' Collin Smith was 6 of 6 from the charity stripe and finished with 12 points.
"He did some things we've been working on in his individual workouts," Vaughan said of Smith. "That should give him good confidence. His presence in the post takes a little more pressure off of Antonio and gives us more balanced scoring. I'm proud of the night Collin had offensively tonight."
Kennett (1-2) is back in action Saturday at noon when it plays Crowley's Ridge Academy, Ark., at the Rector Hall of Fame Classic.
"I really don't know much about them," Vaughan said. "I've talked to a couple of guys and read their profile. They were sub .500 last year and I don't know if that means anything. We are going in not knowing a great deal about them, but we've got to bounce back and be mentally strong. It's the first game Saturday. That's sometimes a tough one to play, but I like that because it kind of simulates playing early in the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament for us.
"The good thing is we get to come back and do it early tomorrow and get this taste out of our mouth," Vaughan added.
Kennett's Antonio Primer (right) attacks the basket in the first half. [Order this photo]
KHS 11 14 23 16 - 64
VVS 17 16 10 27 - 70
KENNETT (64) - Antavies Drake 2, Cameron Harper 5, Akeem Nelson 11, Collin Smith 12, Kevonte Mitchell 21, Harold Weeden 3, Antonio Primer 8. Divante Taylor 2. FG 24, FT 13/15, F 25. (3-pointers: Harper 1, Nelson 1, Weeden 1. Fouled out: Primer)
VALLEY VIEW (70) - Isaac Horn 4, Seth Gray 13, Alec Ray 8, Jill Clark 12, Preston Graddy 25, Tyson Lindley 8. FG 23, FT 20/29, F 18. (3-pointers: Clark 2, Lindley 2. Fouled out: none)