Charleston rebounds to take third-place with win over Kennett
SIKESTON, Mo – They may not be hoisting the SEMO Conference trophy like many expected, but the Charleston Bluejays found a way to end their week on a high note.
After getting upset by fourth-seeded Sikeston in the semifinals, the top-seeded Bluejays rebounded Friday night with an 81-63 over seventh-seeded Kennett to take third place in the tournament.
“That’s what we were trying to do tonight, just end the tournament on a high note,” Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said. “We didn’t want to lose two in a row, especially to one of our district foes. We wanted to beat a district opponent to keep that number one standing in our district.”
In the same game last year, Charleston fell 79-58 to Poplar Bluff to leave the week with fourth-place in the conference.
Charleston (5-1) never trailed by more than a possession and built double-digit leads in both the second and third quarters only to see Kennett (5-1) work their way back into a two-score game.
Six-straight points by Charleston early in the second half built their lead to a then-high 16-points, 49-33, but and Indian timeout helped Kennett regroup.
By the final minute of the quarter, the Indians closed the gap to 59-55 and remained within five points of Charleston early in the fourth.
An effective Bluejay press started to take its toll, however, and the turnovers started to mount for Kennett.
A free throw and back-to-back Charleston baskets pushed the Bluejays lead in double-digit territory once again.
A 14-2 Charleston run started midway through the quarter, fueled by three Kennett turnovers, and effectively iced the game.
The Bluejays outscored the Indians 19-8 in the fourth quarter.
“We had some good life in the third quarter cutting it down to five,” Kennett head coach Andrew Halford said. “We had some fight, but they went full-court pressure on us, and we let them make us turn the ball over.”
Blessin Kimble led Charleston with 25 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Sam Bledsoe was close behind with 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and four boards.
Isaiah Gillespie and Terridean Bogan scored 14 and 13 points respectively to leave four Bluejays in double figures. Gillespie also seven rebounds and five steals while Bogan had six boards and seven assists.
“We pressed,” Farmer said. “We wanted to practice on our press tonight, and I think we got them a little tired at the end. Then we started getting it into our big guy (Kimble).”
“Sam shot it well, and Blessin played well inside. He took care of the easy buckets.”
Kimble was particularly efficient for the Bluejays, going 11 of 14 from the field to finish with 26 points. As a team, Charleston shot 31 of 59 (53 percent) on the night and 26 of 44 (59 percent) from inside the arc.
Quav’aun Harrell did the bulk of the scoring for the Indians with 31 points, hitting five 3-pointers and going a perfect 4 of 4 at the free-throw line. Ben McMullan added 20 points to the cause.
“We’re giving up a lot of points against good teams,” Halford said. “It was 42 in the first half that Charleston scored. That’s too many points to be giving up against good teams.
“We gave up 41 to Cape (in the same span) last night. A lot of it is on us not performing on the defensive end.”
KENNETT (63) – Quav’aun Harrell 31, Marsayv’aun Harrell 6, La’quez Pulliam 2, Jackson Henfling 4, Ben McMullan 20. FG 25, FT 6-6, F 18. (3-pointers: Quav’aun Harrell 5, McMullan 2. Fouled out: none.)
CHARLESTON (81) – Terridean Bogan 13, Sam Bledsoe 25, Brian Visor 4, Tyrell Ware 2, Isaiah Gillespie 14, Blessin Kimble 26. FG 31, FT 14-20, F 12. (3-pointers: Bogan 1, Bledsoe 4. Fouled out: none.)