Tigers corner Kennett, advance to SEMO title game
Cape Girardeau Central improved to 5-0 and will meet Sikeston on its home court Friday after the Tigers beat Kennett 72-40 in a SEMO Conference Tournament semifinal.
Sikeston had a much more difficult time reaching the championship game in the other semi as the host Bulldogs nipped top-seed Charleston, 52-51.
There was one lead change in the Central-Kennett contest as the Indians led for just 40 seconds midway through the first quarter, 9-8. The Tigers led wire-to-wire otherwise, going up by 13 at half, and winning going away by 32 at the final buzzer.
“We played very soft,” said Kennett coach Andrew Halford, “especially rebounding the ball.”
“Giving up 41 points (to Central) in the first half was a bad starting note for us.”
Central, the third seed and defending Class 4 District 1 champion, saw three players in double figures — with 6-foot senior Doreante Tucker leading all scorers with 16.
Tigers coach Drew Church said the unsung hero for his unbeaten squad is junior Darion Triplett, who came off the bench to notch 11 points, including a three-pointer.
“Darion hasn’t played a whole lot this season,” said Church, “(but) he guarded and rebounded well.”
“Da-Da played with a motor (tonight),” added Church, “and gave us some key baskets.”
Central’s reliance on the jumpshot was noticeable in the first half.
“We got called on some charges early,” said Church. “and this may have made our guys a little hesitant going to the rim.”
Central was effective at the 3-point line, converting 70% of attempts from the charity stripe.
Kennett’s Halford was dispirited afterward, giving praise to Central but noting his team played poorly.
“Not taking anything away from (Central),” said Halford, “(but) a lot of things we did helped them out.
Halford noted the superior rebounding of the Tigers and had particular dismay for his squad’s sloppy play.
“We were content to just watch loose balls,” Halford said. “(Central) was quicker and more aggressive, plus we had some bad turnovers that led to quick baskets for them.”
Charleston plays Kennett in the third-place game at 7 p.m. at Sikeston Field House.
The Tigers face the fourth-seeded Bulldogs in the tournament championship game at 8:30.
Sikeston has won four-straight SEMO Conference tournaments, and eight since the tourney was revived in 2006.
Church says the two teams are quite familiar with one another.
“In the last year, we’ve played (the Bulldogs) four times,” Church said, “and usually here in Sikeston.”
“At home,” he added, “Sikeston shoots pretty well.”
CAPE CENTRAL 72, KENNETT 40
CAPE CENTRAL (72) — Doreante Tucker 16, Dorian Triplett 14, Darian Triplett 11, Cam Williams 9, Tyrus Reddin 9, Anthony Mackins 8, Zach Moore 3, Rodlandis Robinson 2. FG 27, FT 14-20, F (3-pointers: Williams 1, Do. Triplett 1, Da. Triplett 1, Moore 1, Reddin 1. Fouled out: none)
KENNETT (40) — Jackson Henfling 15, Ben McMullan 11, Quav’aun Harrell 5, Marsayv’aun Harrell 4, Kobe Gates 3, La’quez Pulliam 2. FG 14, FT 5-13, (3-pointers: McMullan 3, Henfling 1, Q. Harrell 1, Gates 1. Fouled out: none)