But the Lady Hawks turned up the pressure on the full-court press and the Lady Bulldogs couldn't handle it, eventually falling 58-50.
Sikeston, the defending champions in the tournament, will play for third place on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Chaffee.
Kelly advances to the championship game where they will play on Saturday at 4 p.m. against the winner of tonight's Scott Central-Delta game.
Scott Central defeated Chaffee 76-31 in a first round game Wednesday. Scott City defeated East Prairie 54-24 in a consolation game Wednesday.
Fourth-seeded Sikeston controlled most of the first half of Wednesday's game and led by as much as 11 early in the third quarter, but the Lady Hawks' full-court press started taking its toll.
"Their press killed us," said Sikeston coach Tiffany King. "We tried to switch up things but the girls couldn't execute our gameplan."
Sikeston fell behind in the first quarter 14-8, but the long offensive drought by the Lady Hawks allowed the Lady Bulldogs to tie the score at 14-14 after one quarter.
Sikeston extended the lead to 18-14 before Kelly finally snapped the scoreless run on a Kelly Essner 3-pointer with 2:45 left in the half.
But Sikeston closed the quarter strong as Latoya Gipson scored seven points in the final two minutes to give the Lady Bulldogs a 29-21 lead at the intermission.
The Lady Bulldogs did most of their damage on the offensive boards.
"We stressed boxing out yesterday," said King. "We worked on it for 45 minutes yesterday and it really paid off. The girls did a really good job on the boards."
Whitney McCray, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds on the night, did most of the damage on the glass along with sophomore Latoya Gipson, who had a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.
"Sikeston is a very talented and athletic team and we just tried to match their intensity," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter. "They are well-coached and we knew they would come to play. McCray is a very good post player and we couldn't stop her. She was relentless on the boards. We just tried to get our hands up, not back down and tried to block her out."
Kelly quickly erased Sikeston's 11-point lead in the third quarter as they went on an 11-2 run to cut the score to 34-32 capped by Essner's 3-pointer.
Sikeston was able to stay ahead by quarter's end on a shot by Gipson to lead 40-39, but the momentum had already shifted.
Kelly took the lead for good in the fourth on back-to-back baskets by Mindy Robert. Kelly led by as much as 10 late in the fourth before a McCray basket reached the final margin.
"The press helped us in the second half," said McQuerter. "The girls used the press to their advantage and they did it as a team."
Essner had a game-high 18 points followed up by Robert's 17 points.
Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was an awful night from the free throw line for Sikeston as they made just 6-of-23 attempts. Kelly was 8-of-15 from the line.
"Free throws really hurt us," said King. "We hit our free throws the other night against Scott City but tonight we couldn't hit them."
Third-seeded Scott County Central had little trouble with the sixth-seeded host school, winning 76-31 to advance to a semifinal game tonight at 7:30 p.m. against Delta.
Scott Central had four players reach double figures led by Brittney Peet's 15 points and Brittany Godwin's 14 points.
Janet Penrod added 12 points and Nyketia Johnson had 10 points.