"They put a great starting lineup out there," Vaughan said of Caruthersville. "Their five starters feed off of each other well so you know you are going to be battle tested when you go into a game with them right away. We anticipated a tough game. They do a great job with defensive pressure."
Vaughan got exactly what he expected from Caruthersville.
An extra session was needed to determine a winner after the Tigers missed the final shot of regulation after rallying from six down in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Kennett made the most of the extra session. The Indians outscored the Tigers 14-8 in the four-minute overtime to secure an 80-74 win against Caruthersville. It is the Kennett varsity boys basketball program's eighth straight win against the Tigers.
"I couldn't be more proud of my kids," Caruthersville coach Tim Smith said. "We got such a late start because we have such an awesome football team in Caruthersville. We went out and fought hard. It's just hard to win in overtime on the road."
Kennett led the game 59-53 with 3:47 remaining in the fourth quarter before the Tigers rallied to tie the game at 61-61 with 2:21 left. The Indians' Kevonte Mitchell scored the next four points to put Kennett back on top 65-61 at the 1:25 mark.
The Tigers' Darrell Monroe calculated a 2-point field goal with 1:11 left to trim the margin to 65-63 before Kennett's Harold Weeden made one of two free throws with 52 seconds remaining to put the Indians on top 66-63.
The Tigers' Jamal Johnson followed by knocking down a trey to tie the game at 66-66 with 52 seconds left. Kennett called timeout with 35 seconds left and missed three 2-point field attempts following the timeout. The Tigers followed by driving to their own basket in the last 10 seconds of regulation and missing a contested shot at the buzzer.
"We wanted to try to go to the rim and see if they would put us on the line," Smith said of the final shot of the fourth quarter. "We drove and it was a good no call and the shot didn't fall for us."
Caruthersville led 72-70 in overtime before back-to-back field goals by Weeden put Kennett on top 74-72 with 1:47 remaining. Mitchell collected Kennett's next field goal to increase the lead to 76-72 with 1:31 left. Caruthersville never caught up to Kennett after.
"I cannot be more pleased with the mental and physical toughness of our kids in the fourth quarter and the overtime," Vaughan said. "We probably should have ended it before overtime. Kevonte just told me on the way out 'my bad coach. We should have finished that one in regulation, but we didn't.'
"We had the composure to come back and get two great defensive stops that turned into scores," Vaughan continued. "A four-point lead in overtime puts pressure on the other team right away."
Neither team led by more than three points in the first quarter. Caruthersville led 25-18 with 4:13 left in the second period before the Indians rallied to take 31-30 lead at halftime.
"They always lead a couple of guys out on their defensive possessions," Vaughan said. "That was half of their points in the first half so a major point of emphasis was to stop that and we still gave it up. Some of their other transition baskets came out of their press and they do a good job of shooting gaps. But when you play Bootheel Conference games you are going to have some transition and that makes the game fun for fans to watch."
The largest lead by either team in the third quarter was four. Caruthersville never led in the fourth quarter.
"We did a good job at trying to get them out of the middle with the 2-2-1 press," Smith said. "We protected the middle. They burnt us a couple of times, but overall I think we won the battle defensively. We got a lot of steals."
Mitchell finished with 24 points and 18 rebounds. Antonio Primer added 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Indians.
"That's a pretty good two-headed monster," Vaughan said. "Everybody has to admit that is our two go-to-guys in most situations and they were go-to-guys tonight."
Antavies Drake hit Kennett's only two treys. He scored eight of his 12 points in the first half.
"He hit two 3's and was 2 of 2 from the line," Vaughan said. "Those two 3's in the first half were big. They kept us in it the first half. "
Monroe scored 19 of his 21 points after halftime.
"Obviously they were going to make an emphasis about getting him the basketball in the second half," Vaughan said of defending Monroe. "He was pretty relentless going after offensive rebounds and I thought Collin Smith did a great job of making it hard for him to rebound tonight. We got him up to four fouls in the overtime, but he's tough to contain. He's a Division 1 football player hands down and tough to stop on the basketball court regardless of what you do with him."
Jamal Johnson and Steven Rodgers hit two 3-pointers each for Caruthersville. Johnson scored 22 points and Rodgers tallied 18.
"These kids in the past have been used to jacking up shots and forcing things," Smith said. "We just wanted to trust in our offense and in each other and get good shots."
Caruthersville (3-2) is back in action Thursday when it hosts Senath-Hornersville (2-3).
"We've lost in overtime and [triple] overtime," Smith said. "It's an encouraging start. We've just got to get our legs underneath us and get in basketball conditioning. These kids are also learning a new system. I figure by Christmas we should be clicking on all cylinders."
Kennett (3-2) has a week off before it hosts Malden on Dec. 11.
"Malden is not sized so they are going to have speed," Vaughan said. "I'm assuming they will turn the game into an up-tempo game. They have some nice half-court trap stuff. We will try to do our homework and make sure we prepare for them. We are not looking past any team. They've got a sophomore that's lighting it up offensively right now. So we've got to be prepared to defend him.
"We will take a day off Wednesday and then come back in Thursday through Tuesday and get ready for next week," Vaughan added.
Varsity Boys: Kennett 80, Caruthersville 74 (Overtime)
CHS 17 13 16 20 8 - 74
KHS 15 16 17 18 14 - 80
CARUTHERSVILLE (74) - Jamal Johnson 22, Steven Rodgers 18, Jeremy Grant 4, Cortez Gooden 3, Darrell Monroe 21, Tyler Grissom 2, Coleman Trumble 4. FG 29, FT 12/22, F 23. (3-pointers: Johnson 2, Rodgers 2. Fouled out: Grissom)
KENNETT (80) - Antavies Drake 12, Akeem Nelson 5, Jay Edgington 2, Collin Smith 5, Kevonte Mitchell 24, Harold Weeden 9, Antonio Primer 20, Materion Jones 2, Divante Taylor 1. FG 30, FT 18/29, F 22. (3-pointers: Drake 2. Fouled out: Primer)