STATESMAN TOP 10: Kennett boys basketball rallies from 14 down in fourth to beat Dexter in BCT rematch

Dexter's Garrett Henson (right) attempts a shot against Kennett's Kobe Gates during the first quarter Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, at Kennett High School.

The Dexter Statesman is counting down the 10 best high school games from the previous school year. We will feature a game each week. The criteria for a game to make the list include competitiveness and meaning of the game. A game must involve a team(s) from Stoddard County and must have been covered first-hand by the Statesman or Semoball.

NO. 8: The Dexter boys basketball team upset top-seeded Kennett 60-37 to win the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament earlier in the season, and the Bearcats appeared to have another against a team that won 20 games. However, the Indians had to overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to achieve the victory.

KENNETT — The Kennett Indians avenged their loss in the championship game of the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament.

However, they needed a late rally to beat Dexter 60-59 Friday, Feb. 14, at Kennett High School.

Ben McMullan made a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Indians their first lead of the game with 9.5 seconds left.

“I don’t know if he had shot the ball well for most of the game, but he hit the one that mattered,” Kennett coach Andrew Halford said. “It was a huge, huge shot. He’s a good player for us. He’s a good kid. I’m excited for the moment.”

Dexter upset the top-seeded Indians 60-37 to win the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament in December.

Despite calling two timeouts, the Bearcats couldn’t get a shot off before the final buzzer, and Kennett fans stormed the court after the dramatic victory.

Jackson Henfling led Kennett with a game-high 20 points and Marsayv’aun Harrell added 17. McMullan finished with eight.

Andrew Ellinghouse paced Dexter with 16 points, and Garrett Henson had 14.

Kennett began trapping near midcourt and forced several turnovers late in the fourth.

“When they were up 14, we were put in a position where we had to press and try to create some turnovers,” Halford said. “We were able to do so. We hit some big shots late. We got to the free throw line. I know we didn’t convert on some of those free throws but we were stopping the clock.”

The Bearcats began the final quarter with an 11-2 run to take a game-high 14-point lead (56-42).

Dexter committed seven fourth-quarter turnovers with many coming in the closing minutes.

“When they threw that press on, we haven’t seen pressure like that,” Dexter coach Chad Allen said. “We just made mistakes down there toward the end. They picked up the pressure. We’ve just got to learn from this.”

Kennett answered with a 7-0 run behind a 3-point play by Henfling and four points by Harrell.

The Indians cut the lead to 57-51 on a post move by Henfling and to four (58-54) on three free throws by McMullan. Kobe Gates nailed a 3-pointer with 1:04 to play to slice the lead to 59-57.

Dexter appeared to gain some momentum when Henson drew a charging foul with 30 seconds to go before McMullan hit the game-winner.

The Bearcats threw the first punch, as Kennett sputtered out of the gate, committing four early turnovers.

Henson scored on a post move and Ellinghouse sank a 3 to give the Bearcats a 5-0 lead.

“We told the guys at the start of the game, we had to get off to a great start. We couldn’t get down,” Allen said. “I’m proud of the guys. We played well at the beginning of the game. I thought we did a great job coming out the second half. We extended the lead.”

Kennett committed only one turnover over the remainder of the first quarter and cut the lead to one on a second-chance basket by Carter Maddox and layup inside by La’Quez Pulliam.

Dexter responded with 7-0 rally to take a 12-4 lead. Ellinghouse hit another 3, and Henson scored a couple of baskets on feeds inside by Ellinghouse and Peyton Driskill.

The teams exchanged a pair of 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater by Dexter’s Ryder Boles, and Dexter took an 18-10 lead into the second quarter.

The Bearcats stretched their lead to 12 points four times in the second (23-11 on a driving layup by Cole Nichols, 26-14 on a 3 by Dylan Sitze, 29-17 on a free throw by Driskill and 31-19 on a driving layup by Ellinghouse).

Kennett finished strong, forcing several late turnovers and closing the half with an 8-2 run in the final 2:14. Harrell scored on a pass from Gates to cut the halftime lead to 31-25.

The Indians trimmed their deficit to five points twice late in the third on a pair of 3-pointers by Harrell (42-37 and 45-40).

Dexter led by as many as nine twice in the third (38-29 and 40-31).

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