Strong third quarter helps Kennett boys basketball beat Malden 56-37

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Kennett's Marsayv'aun Harrell guards Malden's Coy Wade in a varsity boys basketball game Tuesday night at Malden High School.

MALDEN, Mo. - After enduring a close first half against the Malden Green Wave the Kennett Indians defense stepped up in a big way early in the second half in a varsity boys basketball game at Malden High School Tuesday night.

Kennett limited the Green Wave to just four 2-point field goals in the third quarter as it outscored Malden 21-8 to build a 44-25 lead by the start of the fourth quarter. The Indians played Malden even the rest of the way on its way to a 56-37 road victory.

“Malden played really well tonight,” Kennett coach Andrew Halford said. “They played us extremely hard on both ends of the floor. Their length bothered us on offense and benefitted them on offense. They got a lot of touches around the basket against us. It was an ugly game for us but we found a way to get another district win before Christmas.”

Malden proved it could keep pace with the Indians much of the first half. The Green Wave trailed by just two points at 13-11 after one quarter of play and scored the first four points of the second quarter to move ahead 15-13 with six minutes left in the first half. Kennett closed out the second quarter on a 10-2 run to move back ahead 23-17 at halftime.

“We matched their intensity for three quarters,” Malden coach Cole McBroom said. “The third quarter they came out and picked up their pressure on us and we didn’t step up to the challenge. If you take away the third quarter it would have been a six-point game and anything can happen in a six-point game.”

A big part of the Green Wave’s offense throughout the game was the post play of sophomore center Marques Jones. The six-foot-four underclassman recorded 10 points in each half to finish with 20 points. Jones tallied a team-high nine 2-point baskets.

Sophomore forward Sientez Lerma also made his presence known down low finishing with eight points for Malden.

“We’ve got to get the ball to the paint,” McBroom said. “We need to work on moving the ball quicker on offense so we can get the ball in the paint. We’ve got to post guys up on offense.”

Junior forward Kobe Gates enjoyed his own success down low for Kennett. Gates recorded six 2-point baskets near the paint and also knocked down a 3-pointer on his way to a team-high 15 points.

“He was active and got some layup opportunities down low,” Halford said. “He also had six or seven blocks on defense.”

Marsayv’aun Harrell also enjoyed a solid offensive night for the Indians. Harrell recorded eight of his 10 points after halftime. He made three 2-point baskets and knocked down four of five free throw attempts.

“He capitalized on the opportunities he got,” Halford said. “Those were a big eight points after halftime because we struggled scoring the ball tonight."

Both teams struggled to knock down perimeter shots.

The Indians knocked down just two treys.

Trey Currie recorded Malden’s only 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we were finally going to have a break through from the perimeter,” McBroom said. “We got one to fall and usually if you can get one to fall you can get a couple to fall. But they just weren’t falling for us tonight.”

Malden (2-4) is back in action Thursday when it hosts Dexter (1-4).

“Their record is not who they are,” McBroom said. “They are huge and will be able to match our length. We are going to have to get down and play good, solid defense. They’ve got some guys that can really shoot it so we are going to have to really work hard and make sure we are guarding on the defensive end."

Kennett (5-2) plays its home opener against Doniphan Friday night. Kennett won the first meeting against Doniphan 59-43 in a semifinal of the Gideon Tournament on Dec. 3.

“Finally a home game,” Halford said. “Tonight was our seventh straight game on the road. It happens but it will be nice to play at home. I thought we had large student sections at home games last year which created a lot of excitement. We are looking forward in playing in front of our home crowd. We know Doniphan will be a tough opponent to play for a second time this month. This will be our fifth game against a district opponent already and there are a lot of implications any time you step on the court against a district opponent.”

Kennett 56, Malden 37

KHS 13 10 21 12 - 56

MHS 11 6 8 12 - 37

KENNETT (56) - Quav’aun Harrell 9, Carter Maddox 4, Marsayv’aun Harrell 10, La’Quez Pulliam 8, Kobe Gates 15, Jackson Henfling 6, Ben McMullan 4. FG 23, FT 4/15, F 14. (3-pointers: Gates 1, Henfling 1; Fouled out: None).

MALDEN (37) - Coy Wade 2, Trey Currie 3, Marques Jones 20, Drew Blankinship 4, Sientez Lerma 8. FG 16, FT 4/9, F 13. (3-pointers: Currie 1; Fouled out: None).

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