Kennett's Jack Walls goes up for a lay-up. Walls finished the night with a double-double.
"It's really special," Indians' senior Cameron Wallace said following the trophy presentation. "We love playing in the Bootheel Conference. We've won the conference every year since the seventh grade and we just wanted to keep the tradition going. It was a special to get to be in this gym your senior year in front of these amazing fans and play a great game in front of them."
The Indians controlled the game from the beginning, never trailing after a Fred Garmon basket broke an 8-8 tie with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter.
"Our kids were on a mission tonight," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said. "Not only were we not going to lose we were not going to be out efforted tonight. That's not taking anything away from Caruthersville, they are a great team that still stands a chance to win our district tournament in March. We were what we had been the last few years tonight, just a team that is going to lay it on the line. I think what sparked that team effort tonight is they did it for each other and it wasn't one guy."
The Indians' Adam Grantham managed to get his hands on the basketball in the paint frequently during the first half, recording six points in the first quarter as Kennett stretched its lead to 22-13 by the end of period.
"They did a good job of feeding me the ball," Grantham said of his teammates.
"We broke them down on dribble-penetration a little bit," Vaughan said. "We were a good offensive-attack team in the first half tonight. We were able to split the lanes and get into the gaps a little bit. We got some dump-downs to Grantham and he did a great job. A handful of our guys did a great job of making sure they had a controlled shot when they caught it in the paint."
Kennett's Adam Grantham is surrounded by Caruthersville defenders as he snatches a rebound.
Caruthersville started the second half on a 6-0 run as the Tigers' Darrell Monroe recorded multiple field goals for the Tigers and finished with 10 points in the quarter. Following a Kennett timeout, the Indians recorded the next eight points, stretching its lead to 52-32 with just under two minutes remaining in the third.
The Indians' Jack Walls became a force underneath in the second half, collecting rebound after rebound and finishing the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"Coach told us to crash the boards and that's what we did," Walls said when asked about his rebounding performance. "Before the game coach gave us a speech about being a family. It's very hard to rebound against Caruthersville. You have to block out, but it's all about heart."
Caruthersville entered the final period trailing by 20, 58-38. The Tigers managed to trim the lead to 13 with 5:12 remaining and again with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter. Claude Taylor calculated three field goals for the Tigers in the final eight minutes of play, finishing the contest with 16 points and helping Caruthersville outscore Kennett 20-15 in the final period.
But the ultimate prize - the first place plaque - went to the Indians when the final buzzer sounded.
"Kennett's better than us period," Caruthersville coach David Heeb said following the loss. "Everything that could go wrong went wrong and that's just because Kennett is better than us. When all of your bad habits come out in a game like this that is who you are. You are who your habits say you are and right now we've got some bad habits that came up again tonight and if they want to fix it they can fix it. We've got enough talent to fix it and we've got a great group of kids, but right now Kennett is better than us period."
"We couldn't catch the ball tonight," Heeb continued. "I don't know if [Kennett's] got flashing lights on their jerseys or something, but they just scare us to death. At one point in the game I wanted to go get a marker so they could ask for autographs. I've never seen a team play as good as we played last night and play as bad as we did tonight, but when they do it to you four or five times in a row you've just got say they are better than you."
Kennett improved to 16-4 with the victory and will next host New Madrid County Central on Tuesday. Caruthersville dropped to 15-5 and will next travel to Meridian, Ill., Tuesday.
The Kennett Indians varsity basketball team with its first place trophies following its 73-58 victory over the Caruthersville Tigers in the championship of the Bootheel Conference Tournament.
Kennett 73, Caruthersville 58
CHS 13 11 14 20 - 58
KHS 22 20 16 15 - 73
CARUTHERSVILLE (58) - Belton McWilliams 8, Perry Middleton 4, David Shaw 5, Elbie Fonda 3, Jamal Johnson 2, Darrell Monroe 15, Vohland Fonda 5, Claude Taylor 16. FG 24, F/T 10/22, F 17. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: McWilliams)
KENNETT (73) -- Jay Shavers 4, Randrick Caruthers 12, Cameron Wallace 5, Fred Garmon 23, Jack Walls 12, Ryan Richardson 2, Adam Grantham 7, Andy Lack 4, Jajuan Wallace 4. FG 30, F/T 9/17 F 20. (3-pointers: Caruthers 2, Garmon 2. Fouled out: none)
The Kennett junior varsity also walked walked away with a first place plaque, defeating the No. 6 seeded South Pemiscot Bulldogs, 70-55.
The No. 1 seeded junior varsity Indians outscored the Bulldogs in every quarter of the contest, maintaining a double digit lead for the final 13 minutes of the game.
"We're so proud of them," Kennett junior varsity coach Aaron Bidewell said. "We've been proud of their work ethic since day 1. They definitely deserved to win tonight because they work hard."
The Indians were led in scoring by Antavies Drake who tallied 25 points, including three 3-pointers and Kevonte Mitchell who scored 16 points. South Pemiscot was led in scoring by Seth Harris who scored 19 points, Jaleel Johnson who picked up 14 points and Collin Gilmore who added 12.
Kennett 70, South Pemiscot 55
SPHS 9 10 15 21 - 55
KHS 17 11 19 23 - 70
SOUTH PEMISCOT JV (55) -- Logan Carter 9, Seth Harris 19, Collin Gilmore 12, Jaleel Johnson 14, Thomas Jones 1. FG 18, F/T 17/26, F 15. (3-pointers: Carter 1, Harris 1. Fouled out: none)
KENNETT JV (70) -- Clemmie Lane 3, Tyson Campbell 2, Jay Edgington 6, Kevonte Mitchell 16, Antavies Drake 25, Amon Wilbourn 3, Antonio Primer 8, Materior Jones 2, Divante Taylor 5. FG 26, F/T 13/22. F 17. (3-pointers: Mitchell 1, Drake 3, Wilbourn 1. Fouled out: none)