HAYTI -- Portageville rolled to the Bootheel Conference title on Friday night, defeating Kennett in the championship game, 51-36.
With the win, the state-ranked Bulldogs have now avenged both of its losses this season.
"We lost to Kennett in the first game of the year at their place," explained Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell. "We had that game, but we kind of let it slip away. Tonight, our kids were really focused on not giving up a lot of easy baskets and not beating ourselves. We really played well."
Eric Booker led the Bulldogs with 13 points, followed by J.T. Williams with 11 and Aaron Bidewell with 10.
For Kennett, Julius Taylor led the charge with 16 points. Dustin Pritchett finished with 13.
As a team, Portageville shot 14-for-18 from the foul line. The Bulldogs have won 10 straight.
"I'm proud of the way we played tonight and how we've been playing the last couple of weeks," said Bidewell. "We know know how we can play, and looking back on it, I couldn't be any more please with what we're doing."
Portageville (18-2) will travel to East Prairie on Tuesday. In the Bootheel Conference Tournament junior varsity championship, Kennett defeated Portageville 59-30.
Games are either won or lost at the free throw line.
On Friday night, Kelly proved that theory by hitting 30-of-35 foul shots in an 83-75 overtime win against Puxcio.
With 1:30 left, Kelly trailed by seven points. Ashley Hahn had two huge steals and a 3-point play down the stretch, and Major Burger hit two free throws to send the game into overtime.
The Hawks outscored Puxico 11-3 with all 11 points coming off free throws in the extra period to pull out the win. "The boys gave a tremendous effort tonight and showed a lot of character down the stretch," said Kelly coach Nick Lanpher. "Those free throws were really vital."
Along with the two huge steals, Hahn hit 15-of-16 foul shots in the game to finish with 21 points overall.
"He's coming on," said Lanpher. "Not playing last year really hurt him, but it's all coming back to him. He did an outstanding job tonight."
Burger led the Hawks in scoring with 23, hitting 12-of-14 shots from the charity stripe. Tyler Schlosser contributed 20 points.
Derek Binford and Cainan Jordan paced Puxico (7-12) with 20 points each, and Jasson Wright had a career night, finishing with 15.
Kelly standout Barry Ziegler did not play in the game. Kelly (4-14) will host Scott City on Tuesday.
BELL CITY -- The third time was a charm for Bell City, who beat Oran for the first time Friday night, 52-44.
Eric Henry scored 17 points and Dominitrix Johnson added 12 as the Cubs improved to 18-4 on the year. Bell City has now won 17 of its last 19 games.
"It's good to beat them," said Bell City coach David Heeb. "We didn't play very well, but we're just glad to finally get a win against those guys. Even though we won, (Oran is) still probably the favorite in our district. They were missing a player."
Missing for Oran was leading scorer Ryne Wood, who is out with a broken nose. Patrick Friga and Tyler Cookson led the Eagles' offense with 12 points each.
Holding a shaky 45-50 lead in the fourth quarter, Bell City attempted to get Oran out of the lane by holding the ball. The outmanned Eagles took their chances and stayed put as four minutes ran off the clock.
"(Oran) was really packing the lane, and our intention was to pull them out," explained Heeb. "I told Dominitrix to hold the ball until somebody came to get him. I thought it would take (Oran's coach) 15 seconds to figure out what we were doing and come after us, but he was content to sit there. We really hate playing like that, but sometimes you do what you've got to do. We scored on that possession, and I think that was a big turning point in the game."
The Cubs were able to extend their lead to win 52-44.
Bell City (18-4) will travel to Dexter on Tuesday night, while Oran (14-5) hosts Sikeston on Tuesday. "We've run off a pretty good string here, and I think we're playing our best ball at the right time of the year," said Heeb. "I think this team can still improve. We're getting a lot of help from a lot of different kids. If we can come together just a little bit, I think we're going to be awfully tough to beat."
EAST PRAIRIE -- Scott City defeated East Prairie 70-52 Friday night, outscoring the Eagles 27-17 in the fourth quarter.
D.J. Walton hit two 3-pointers to finish with 22 overall.
Craig Jungers and Tyler Ward scored 11 each. Chris Wheatley paced East Prairie with 19. Matt Boyer nailed five 3-pointers and finished with 17.
East Prairie (3-11) will host Portageville on Tuesday.
NEW MADRID -- New Madrid County Central improved to 18-3 Friday night, blistering Scott Central 95-50.
No individual statistics were available for the game. NMCC also won the junior varsity game over Scott Central, 60-26.
Vaughn Shepard led the Eagles with 22 points, followed by Luke St. Mary with 12, Remond Willis with eight, Mack Kimble with six, Brandon Williamson with six, Bryan Williams with three and Michael Rose with three.
Pullen paced the Braves with eight points. NMCC's junior varsity improves to 9-3 with the win.
NMCC will travel to Jackson on Friday.
JACKSON -- Defense reigned for the Indians, who held the Knights (11-10) to 16 points through three quarters. Jackson led the Knights 28-11 at halftime.
Jeffrey Beck's 15 points led Jackson (13-9). Tyler McNeely added 14 and Seth McDowell 10.
PERRYVILLE -- St. Vincent (7-8, 1-6) fell behind early and suffered a Jefferson County Conference loss. Tyler Wengert paced St. Vincent with 19. De Soto got double-figure scoring from Rodney Kelly (30), Andy Sides (21) and Josh Aylesworth (10).
Some information provided by Southeast Missouri News Service.