Kennett coach Jim Vaughan coaches his players near the bench Saturday. Kennett defeated South Pemiscot 77-66. It was Vaughan's 100th win as the varsity boys basketball coach at Kennett.
South Pemiscot's Jaleel Johnson completes a jumper.
Kennett will be the No. 1 seed in the Bootheel Conference Tournament, which will take place at Malden Jan. 28 - Feb. 1. South Pemiscot will be the No. 6 seed.
"We congratulated each other for that in the locker room," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said of winning the Bootheel Conference regular-season title. "On kind of a dismal day for us that's still a positive to look at. We want to carry that into next week and just be able to move forward."
A short-handed South Pemiscot team, which was without the services of junior starter Logan Carter Saturday, gave the Indians everything it wanted and more.
The game was tied 19-19 at the end of the first quarter before South Pemiscot built a 31-24 lead with 4:58 left in the first half. The Bulldogs missed a trey that would have increased the lead to 34-24 before Kennett ended the half on a 14-2 run.
South Pemiscot's Anthony Primer completes a contested shot.
"We knew coming into today that both teams might be a little bit sluggish," Vaughan said. "When it got down to it we had five that we could count on to finish the half and that's the five that finished it well for us. It was awfully key to come into the locker room with a halftime lead.
"I am disappointed in how we carried ourselves in the first half," Vaughan continued. "Not out of effort, but I'm disappointed in who we were as people today."
The Indians led South Pemiscot 37-33 at halftime.
South Pemiscot coach Aaron Bidewell said a defensive switch by Kennett in the second quarter may have led to the Indians strong finish to the first half.
"They switched up defenses," Bidewell said. "Senath-Hornersville switched up defenses against us last night and we struggled with it. One of the things we are going to really work on in practice moving forward is being able to change offenses in-game and not just at halftime. One of the things we really struggle with right now as a team, and this is my fault as a coach, is we struggle adjusting to defensive changes. When they went man it took us a long time to get in our man-offense tonight. Tip your hat to Kennett for making defensive adjustments tonight."
Kennett's Harold Weeden battles his way to the basket.
"He got free a little bit and was able to be aggressive," Vaughan said of Mitchell. "He was able to be aggressive early in the second half. He did a nice job attacking early, but it wasn't a great day for him and he's frustrated. But I think throughout the second half he tried to maintain and compete. He didn't score what he usually scores and that's frustrating for him, but that's part of it."
South Pemiscot's Collin Gilmore and Anthony Primer were both whistled for their fourth foul before the four-minute mark of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs cut Kennett's lead to 57-51 with 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. Kennett's Cameron Harper followed by drawing a foul on Primer and Gilmore on the Indians' next two offensive trips. The fouls sent the Bulldogs' guards to the bench with five fouls.
"One of our better players, the Carter kid, wasn't able to make it today," Bidewell said. "And then we lost two of our really good ball-handlers to foul trouble. I was just proud of our kids' effort the whole night. I think we outrebounded our opponent tonight. We are very proud to be able to come in here and compete against a quality opponent. I was proud we didn't back down and fought the whole time and at then end."
Kennett's Kevonte Mitchel takes a shot in the paint.
"We never come to a place thinking we are going to lose," Bidewell said. "But you have to tip you hat to Kennett, the great program they have and the great job Coach Vaughan did to propel them to this win."
Kennett hit eight of its nine 3-pointers in the first half after going 0 of 7 from 3-point range in an 84-80 loss to No. 1 ranked Sikeston Friday night.
"That's huge to be able to knock down some perimeter shots, especially that many," Vaughan said. "That's a big chunk of offense right there. That's a life when you see those going down. It can give your team a little more energy."
Mitchell led Kennett with 14 points. Weeden scored 13 points.
Kennett's Materion Jones hit a team-high three treys. He also finished with 13 points.
South Pemiscot's Collin Gilmore brings down a rebound.
Jacob Trammel calculated four of South Pemiscot's five treys. He finished with a team-high 15 points.
Anton Wilbourn and Seth Harris scored 14 points each for South Pemiscot.
Vaughan, who is in his seventh season as the varsity boys basketball coach at Kennett, improved his career record as the varsity coach to 100-75 with Saturday's win.
"That means you have had a good run of players and a good run of teams ," Vaughan said of reaching the century mark. "That's who gets you those wins. I'm fortunate to be at a place where we had one particular group that really helped turn things around and set an expectation for the program. We are trying to keep this a solid program and keep it going. When you can amass wins at a place that means you've got players that are willing to get the job done."
South Pemiscot's Cameron Harper prepares to make a pass.
South Pemiscot's Deshawn Pruitt pushes the ball down the floor.
South Pemiscot (12-7) will host Scott City Thursday.
"I heard they played Portageville awfully tough and Portageville gave us all we wanted," Bidewell said of Scott City. "They have one of their better kids, the Sanders kid, back. They also have six-foot-five kid so we will have to be able to press, no doubt. Getting Logan Carter back will help us a bunch because he really provides us toughness and rebounds."
Kennett (11-5) is back in action Tuesday when it hosts Twin Rivers.
"Twin Rivers will be an absolute huge challenge for us," Vaughan said. "All of us got to bounce back. We are going to take Sunday off and be ready to go in and fix a few things Monday."
South Pemiscot's Seth Harris is guarded by Kennett's Materion Jones. [Order this photo]
SPS 19 14 7 26 - 66
KHS 19 18 18 23 - 77
SOUTH PEMISCOT (66) - Collin Gilmore 4, Anthony Primer 6, Anton Wilbourn 14, Seth Harris 14, Jaleel Johnson 9, Jadarius Knight 2, Jacob Trammel 15, Deshawn Pruitt 2. FG 28, FT 5/11, F 23. (3-pointers: Trammel 4, Wilbourn 1. Fouled out: Gilmore, Primer)
KENNETT (77) - Cameron Harper 3, Akeem Nelson 9, Jay Edgington 8, Collin Smith 7, Kevonte Mitchell 14, Harold Weeden 13, Materion Jones 13, Rantrell Caruthers 10. (3-pointers: Caruthers 2, Nelson 1, Edgington 2, Weeden 1, Jones 3. Fouled out: none)