Kennett's Kaytlyn Parker handles the ball near the Kennett sideline. [Order this photo]
The Lady Indians improved its record to 8-5 with the 38-point Bootheel Conference regular-season home win and snapped a 3-game losing streak.
"We talked to the girls about having one ball," Kennett girls basketball coach Rod Baxter said. "There is one ball in the game and we've got 15 players. We are pretty equally talented. We were able to implement multiple defenses tonight we had worked on in practice. This was a game we wanted to use multiple defenses. We understand we are not 100 percent on a couple of them, but we've got them put in and feel like we will need them in our defensive arsenal the remainder of the season.
Multiple defenses allowed multiple Lady Indians players to touch the ball frequently on breakaways. 13 Kennett players scored before the final buzzer sounded.
Kenna Hounihan paced Kennett with 16 points. Lara Abmeyer finished second in scoring with 10 points.
"Offensively Kenna got a lot of breakaways early, but she was receiving great passes," Baxter said. "Abmeyer, Anna Kay and Darby made some unselfish passes.
"Courtney played very well tonight," Baxter continued. "I could go through all 15 players. They handled the ball and shared the ball."
Kennett never trailed Malden. The game was tied 4-4 before Kennett went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-4 lead with 3:46 left in the first period. Malden trimmed the deficit to 12-8 before Kennett scored the next 21 points to take a 33-8 lead with 40 seconds remaining in the first half.
Malden tallied three field goals after halftime. The Lady Green Wave did not score in the fourth quarter.
"I thought it was a very good team win for us and I'm happy for the girls," Baxter said. "I'm sure it is frustrating with the playing time, but with one ball, 15 girls and a running clock in the fourth quarter you've got to be a team all the way and if you aren't there is going to be some unhappy people. But it looks like to me the girls are having fun playing together and I think it will help us to have more bodies and better prepare us to go against some full-court man pressure. That's why we are trying to get everyone as much playing time as possible."
Kennett is currently at the top of the Bootheel Conference regular-season standings with a 5-0 conference record. South Pemiscot also entered Thursday with a 5-0 regular-season conference record.
"I think it's going to be competitive," Baxter said of the Bootheel Conference Tournament. "You have to have some goals you want to achieve during the season and this being our last year in this conference you want to be competitive and be in the top. We have to recognize this is important to us and work to achieve our goals."
Kennett's remaining regular-season conference games are at Campbell Jan. 15 and at home against South Pemiscot on Jan. 28.
"We are going to roller coaster into some non-conference games next week and travel the entire week," Baxter said. "One reason we are trying to play a lot of people is to save their legs. But we are excited about the Bootheel Conference and all the things that could be."
Kennett won the junior varsity game against Malden 38-29 Thursday night.
Thursday night's games marked the first time this season the players got to sit in the recently purchased chairs at the Kennett High School Gymnasium.
"I believe that was an administrative decision to go ahead and make that purchase this year," Baxter said of the black chairs. "I will tell you they are extremely comfortable, well built and safe. They are so nice and the girls are excited to have them."
Kennett is back in action Monday when it play at Sikeston. Kennett and Sikeston will compete in the same Class 4 district at the end of the season.
"The Sikeston girls are very competitive," Baxter said. "They have a couple of veteran girls and they have mixed in some younger girls with them. They are well-coached and a disciplined team. They are probably going to play their best ball at home so when we walk in that gym Monday night we've got to play that game. We cannot be looking to Twin Rivers, Campbell or that St. Louis trip. We've got to take it one game at a time plus you have to play a little bit better on the road to get a win. So we will keep encouraging the girls to stay focused and play team-ball."
Kennett varsity players look on from the bench at the Kennett-Malden game Thursday. [Order this photo]
MHS 8 2 7 0 - 17
KHS 16 17 14 8 - 55
MALDEN (17) - Mercedes Butler 2, Shamyiah Stone 6, Savannah Jones 2, Kiara Newton 1, Kenya McCoy 2, Andrea Hughes 4. FG 8, FT 1/7, F 8. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)
KENNETT (55) - Darby Sparks 4, Lara Abmeyer 10, Khadijah Whitfield 1, Shon Wynne 2, Kenna Hounihan 16, Kate Shetley 2, Anna Kay Hilburn 4, Logan Vaughan 2, Mary Callaway 2, Daqueshia Duckworth 2, Courtney McElhaney 2, Sarah Siebenhuener 2, Jenny Lockhert 6. FG 26, FT 3/8, F 10. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)
Kennett's Courtney McElhaney completes a shot in the paint. [Order this photo]