PORTAGEVILLE - In their first overtime game of the season, the Portageville Bulldogs won their 11th straight game and their 15th of the season by outlasting the Kennett Indians 56-52 Thursday night.
The win puts the Bulldogs into the Bootheel Conference title game Friday night against Caruthersville, who beat Hayti 73-59.
Portageville will be playing for its third straight conference title. Game time is 7:30.
The victory by Portageville avenges a season-opening loss to Kennett back in December when the 'Dogs scored only 35 points. The two teams have a history of this pattern as Kennett has won the opener three years running and then losing to Portageville in the conference tournament.
In Thursday night's game, both teams had a pair of players in double digits. Portageville was led by Willie Hassell's 20 and Antonio Scott's 16.
Kennett's Cody Robinson, who couldn't be stopped when he got the ball in the paint, collected 19 and Danny Ragsdale chipped in 12.
Both teams had trouble getting traction in the opening quarter. Jordan Penn's bucket at the 5:41 mark of the period opened the scoring for the Bulldogs, but Kennett responded and grabbed the lead on successive buckets.
Jimmy Larry's first trey of the contest gave the Bulldogs a 9-8 lead after one quarter.
Hassell collected 11 of his 20 points in the second period and Scott canned three of four free throw attempts. Kennett's Robinson got six of his 19 in the period, but Portageville led by 25-20 at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Kennett as the Indians held the Bulldogs to 12 points while scoring 17, including a 3-point buzzer-beater by Aaron Taylor to knot the score at 37 at the end of three.
The fourth quarter featured numerous twists and turns. A technical foul at the 6:04 mark against Portageville put Ragsdale at the line, which put the Indians ahead 39-38. The Bulldogs promptly went on a 6-0 run capped by freshman Trey Mosby's bucket to make the count 45-40 and it appeared they would win in regulation.
The Indians clawed back and with eight ticks on the clock, Robinson put Kennett up 47-45.
Portageville managed to call a timeout with seven seconds left. Hassell took the inbounds pass and dribbled to midcourt where he passed the ball to an open Scott, who beat his man off the dribble for the game-tying layup just before the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.
Kennett had been whistled for its 10th foul by the opening of the overtime period, so the 'Dogs were shooting two on every Indian foul.
Antonio Scott shot six of the team's 10 in the overtime, hitting three. The Bulldogs scored nine in the extra period to five, all of which were scored by Cody Robinson.
"We didn't play very smart offensively and they battled. They put some bodies on us and pressured us. It got us out of our offense and we just got out and tried to play a little street ball," said Portageville coach Jim Bidewell.
"On the defensive end the kids really battled. If you have an off offensive night and play good defense, at least you are going to be in the ballgame and that's what happened." continued Bidewell.