Kennett's Akeem Nelson is defended by the Royals' Michael Snider.
Kennett's Cameron Harper handles the ball.
"That's the first time we've played zone this year," Benson said. "We are a man team. We had success in the junior varsity game with the zone so we decided we would try it in varsity as well.
"We started off in a man-to-man, but they were penetrating and getting by us," Benson added. "We went zone and did a better job keeping them in front of us. They made some shots, but I felt like we were better off making them live or die by the three as opposed to allowing them to beat us off the dribble all night. I thought for the most part, especially since it was the first time we had played it all year, we did a pretty good job of it."
Kennett won the first quarter against Twin Rivers 13-5.
Twin Rivers outscored the Indians by three points or less in each of the next three quarters and won a four-minute overtime session 11-10 to secure a 54-53 win at Kennett
"We went to the locker room with a lead," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said. "Then we almost doubled our turnovers the second half. A lot of those were on careless or unagressive possessions. We had different guys in different spots tonight. We knew we were going to have to look for scoring in other places. We struggled offensively in a low-scoring overtime game.
Kennett's Akeem Nelson (left) and Collin Smith (right) guard the Royals' Michael Snider near the rim.
Kennett led the game 43-41 with 1:01 remaining in regulation before a field goal by Michael Snider tied the game at 43-43 with 27 seconds left.
Kennett's Harold Weeden had a desperation 3-pointer rim out at the buzzer.
The Indians scored the first two points of overtime to take a 45-43 lead. Twin Rivers followed with an 8-0 run to move on top 51-45 with 1:23 remaining.
Kennett cut the deficit to 54-53 with two seconds remaining. Twin Rivers missed two free throws with two ticks left on the clock.
Weeden rebounded the second miss and fired a shot the length of the floor as time expired. The Indians were out of timeouts when Weeden took the desperation attempt, which did not make contact with the rim.
Twin Rivers' Blake Moore soars to the basket.
Kennett's top two scorers Kevonte Mitchell and Antonio Primer were on the bench, but did not see playing time Tuesday. Mitchell entered the game averaging 22.6 points per game. Primer was averaging 14.1 points per game.
Weeden led Kennett's offense against Twin Rivers.
The sophomore guard, who is averaging 7.7 points per game this season, tallied 16 points. He also brought down nine rebounds. He recorded at least one field goal in every quarter and the overtime session.
"He tried to take on some more responsibility tonight," Vaughan said of Weeden. "I'm proud of him for wanting to shoulder some of that load. He's an aggressive kid that has always been a scorer all the way through. He hasn't scored as much this year, but he is in a position right now where we can start relying on him more and we will starting doing some things to find him in our offensive sets because he does have a knack for putting the ball in the basket a little bit."
Kennett's Rantrell Caruthers jumps toward the basket.
"Michael Snider in the fourth quarter and the overtime kind of took over the basketball game," Benson said. "Early he was kind of hesitant, but that second half he really took control of the basketball game and kind of put us on his back right there."
Kennett's largest lead was 13-3 with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.
Twin Rivers did not lead in the second half until it took a 47-45 advantage with 2:17 remaining in overtime. Its only lead in the first half was 2-0. The Royals largest lead was six in overtime.
Twin Rivers had five team fouls in the game. Kennett was 5 of 6 from the free-throw-line.
"We haven't seen a 1-3-1," Vaughan said. "We prepared for a man because they have played that all year long. He started out in that and we were able to get by them a little bit. We had so many looks at the basket that we did not finish. We only shot six free throws and that's not officiating. We did not go to the basket tonight. I bet we missed 10 points worth of easy baskets tonight in the first half. We were stagnant against zone a little bit and had to run a zone offense we haven't had to run much because you don't see a lot of 1-3-1. I don't anticipate seeing a lot of 1-3-1's in the future, but that's another thing we can look at and get better at."
The Royals were 6 of 17 from the charity strip. Twin Rivers made 3 of 7 free throws in overtime.
Akeem Nelson had eight points, six rebounds and four steals for Kennett. The Indians' Collin Smith scored nine points and brought down five rebounds. Materion Jones tallied 11 points for Kennett.
"They came out with lots of energy without two of their key players," Benson said. "I'm sure those young kids were really excited about getting to play a lot of varsity minutes tonight. They played really hard defensively and we couldn't get anything going offensively early because they were putting so much pressure on us. We kind of settled down and I think the new kind of wore off for them maybe. We started attacking the basket more instead of being hesitant and once we did that it created better shots for us around the glass, plus it opened up our shooters more."
Blake Moore and Eric Ray tallied 11 points each for the Royals. Moore hit two of Twin Rivers' three treys.
Twin Rivers defeated Kennett 46-38 in the junior varsity contest.
Twin Rivers (10-7) returns to action Friday when it hosts East Carter County.
Kennett (11-6) will host state-ranked Charleston Friday. Charleston defeated Caruthersville 104-68 Tuesday night.
"Charleston is a creature in general," Vaughan said. "They've got arguably the best point guard in the area and I'm sure in many regards he can be considered one of the top point guards in the state. They've got a kid in Michael Hull that can flat out stroke the basketball. He has a good game off the bounce and can rise up and shoot it. They just get down and guard so hard so we will have to be composed and be able to execute a half-court offense with a tremendous amount of toughness and a tremendous amount of composure Friday night. We've also got to do what we've been doing defensively and rebound their misses.
"Right now this group of kids is going to have to come together," Vaughan added. "That's what we just said in the locker room 'Whatever we do right now we do together as we move forward.' But I think we can stay together a little bit and grow through the rest of the season."
Kennett's Materion Jones takes a shot. [Order this photo]
TRS 5 10 17 11 11 - 54
KHS 13 7 15 8 10 - 53
TWIN RIVERS (54) - Blake Moore 11, Michael Snider 21, Wes McCollum 4, Eric Ray 11, Cade Lowe 7. FG 22, FT 7/19, F 5. (3-pointers: Moore 2, McCollum 1. Fouled out: none)
KENNETT (53) - Cameron Harper 6, Rantrell Caruthers 3, Akeem Nelson 8, Collin Smith 9, Harold Weeden 16, Materion Jones 11. FG 22, FT 5/6, F 16. (3-pointers: Harper 2, Caruthers 1, Jones 1. Fouled out: none)