Dexter boys basketball offense goes cold in 56-52 senior night loss to Kennett
DEXTER — The Kennett Indians took advantage of a cold shooting night by Dexter to win the rubber match between the SEMO Conference boys basketball teams.
The Bearcats shot 38 percent (18 of 47) from the field, and Kennett took advantage for a 56-52 victory Friday night at the Bearcat Event Center.
The Bearcats and Indians had already met twice this season. Dexter won the first matchup 59-45 in the SEMO Conference tournament, and Kennett won 49-30 at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.
The Bearcats (14-8, 1-4 SEMO Conference) made the game interesting at the end, tying the score at 52 with 41.8 seconds left after trailing by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter.
However, Jackson Henfling scored on a putback on the other end, and Kobe Gates came up with a steal near mid-court. Henfling made two free throws with 13.4 seconds left to give the Indians (11-12, 1-7) a four-point lead.
“One of the biggest plays in the game came after Gates got the steal (and) we pushed it up,” Kennett coach Andrew Halford said. “Marsayv’aun (Harrell) caught it under the basket and then we pulled it out and made them start fouling. That’s a huge possession for us. We didn’t force up a shot. We didn’t turn it over. We got it back out.”
The Bearcats’ Nate Gargas and Andrew Ellinghouse missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds.
“We never gave up,” Dexter coach Lloyd Hyten said. “We got down by eight there in the fourth quarter. I told the guys it’s not our best game of the year, but they didn’t give up. Certainly, it wasn’t our worst game of the year. I didn’t think the defense was too bad. (La’Quez Pulliam) hurt us a lot driving. But the bottom line, the reason we lost the game was because our shots didn’t fall.”
The Bearcats made only two 3-pointers in the loss, one by Ellinghouse and one by Seth Rogers.
“We’ve been shooting an outstanding percentage on 3-pointers,” Hyten said. “I don’t know what we were tonight, but it was awful. We just didn’t shoot the ball very well. I told those guys in the locker room, you same guys have the same shots the next game, I expect you to make them because you hit them all year.”
Garrett Henson paced the Bearcats with 18 points, Braxton Foster had 17 and Rogers 11.
Pulliam scored a team-high 17 points for Kennett with Henfling adding 12 and Quayv’aun Harrell scoring 10.
The Bearcats built a 5-2 lead in the first quarter with Foster making a pair of jumpers and Eric Hahn sinking a free throw.
Kennett rallied behind Pulliam, who scored his team’s next nine points to give it an 11-7 advantage.
Rogers answered with a floater in the lane before Henfling scored inside for a 13-9 Kennett advantage.
Ellinghouse sank a 3-pointer before the end of the quarter, slicing Kennett’s lead to 13-12 entering the second.
The Indians opened the second with a 5-2 run to extend their lead to 18-14.
Dexter tied the score at 20 on a jumper by Foster on a pass from Hillis and a floater by Foster.
Kennett closed the half on a 3-pointer by Gates and a drive inside by Ben McMullan, giving the visitors a 25-20 lead.
The Bearcats used the high-low game of Foster and Henson to take the lead briefly in the third quarter. Foster assisted two of Henson’s three baskets in the third and set up two trips to the free-throw line for Henson with feeds inside.
Foster’s layup on an assist by Ellinghouse gave the Bearcats a 30-29 lead, but Marsayv’aun Harrell scored a 3-point play on the other end to put Kennett ahead 32-30. The Indians never trailed again.
“We did a good job on the perimeter for most of the night,” Halford said, “but Foster and Henson really gave us fits around the basket and the high post, which is something we really didn’t want to give up, but we did do a decent job on the perimeter, accounting for Rogers and Ellinghouse and their other guards.”
After Henson made two free throws to tie the game, the Indians closed the quarter with a 6-2 run to take a 38-34 lead into the fourth.
The Bearcats cut their deficit to four twice early in the final quarter (40-36 on two free throws by Henson and 42-38 on two foul shots by Rogers.)
Kennett pushed its lead to eight on a 3-point play by Pulliam with 2:09 to play, but the Bearcats scored the next eight points to tie the score. Gargas made a jumper and Rogers sank a 3-pointer with 1:10 left. Foster scored on a putback, drew a foul and sank a free throw to tie the score.
The loss spoiled senior night for the Bearcats’ Gargas, Hahn, Rogers, Foster and Ethan Kincy, who all drew starts.
KENNETT (11-12) — Q. Harrell 4(0) 2-3 10. Pulliam 5(1) 6-10 17. Gates 3(2) 0-0 8. Henfling 5(0) 2-2 12. McMullan 1(0) 0-0 2. Maddox 0. M. Harrell 2(0) 1-1 5. Hamer 1(0) 0-0 2.. Wagster 0. Totals 21(3) 9-13 56.
DEXTER (14-8) — Gargas 1(0) 0-0 2. Hahn 0 1-2 1. Rogers 3(1) 4-6 11. Foster 7(0) 3-4 17. Kincy 0. Ellinghouse 1(1) 0-0 3. Hillis 0. Henson 6(0) 6-8 18. Totals 18(2) 14-20 52.