It's the fourth time this year Sikeston has lost a game after holding a fourth quarter lead.
Sikeston led 48-44 with 6:53 left in the game but the Hawks exploded down the stretch, out-scoring the Bulldogs 25-14 in the final six minutes of the game.
The Hawks' Kent Deason scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory.
Kendall Deason tied for game-high honors with 21 points. Michael Glastetter followed up with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
"People always talk about stopping the Deasons, but that's not always the case," said Kelly coach Cory Johnson. "Because you've got a guy like Michael Glastetter that can step up and a guy like Derek Felter and Jordan Felter. I can't emphasize the total team effort tonight."
Jordan Felter had 15 rebounds to go with his seven points.
Kelly came out of the gates with a fiery aggression and it stunned the Bulldogs early. Sikeston misfired on its first 17 shots of the game and didn't make its first field goal until the 7:00 mark of the second quarter.
The game was so physical that the two teams combined for 45 fouls and 52 free throws attempted.
"They came out real aggressive and we struggled early and weren't aggressive," said Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield. "They did a really good job defensively. They were aggressive and they were up in us. We weren't getting good looks and couldn't get into a flow.
"It was real physical for both teams. Bodies were banging and flying. It's just one of those things that you have to adjust to that type of game. It was a tough, hard-fought game."
Kelly raced out to a 10-0 lead before Sikeston finally broke the scoreless drought on a free throw by Drew Cole with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
Despite not making a field goal the entire first quarter, Sikeston only trailed 12-7.
"Defensively I thought we played an unbelievable ballgame," said Johnson. "Our intensity level on the defensive end was fantastic. We really forced them to take a lot of bad shots. We didn't let them get into their game -- they didn't get a lot of 3s like their accustomed to doing. We rebounded once they got the shots off and we took care of the basketball late when it mattered."
The Bulldogs settled down some in the second quarter as they held the lead through most of the period until late.
Two Kendall Deason free throws gave the Hawks a 28-27 halftime edge.
Sikeston was just 8-of-35 from the field in the first half, including 1-of-14 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs (7-9) heated up from the field in the third quarter as the lead changed hands several times before Robbie Howard sank a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Sikeston a 44-42 lead heading into the fourth.
The Bulldogs opened up a 48-44 lead on Cole's basket with 6:53 left.
Sikeston held its last lead of the game at 50-49 on two Julian Beard free throws with 5:31 left.
A Kash Bratcher 3-pointer with 4:22 left in the game cut the Kelly lead to 54-53 but the Bulldogs would get no closer.
Bratcher finished with 14 points and eight assists, but was only 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
"We focused our defense on Kash early," said Johnson. "The scouting reports I got that's what everybody seemed talked about -- how well he could shoot the ball, how deep he could shoot it. We really looked to hedge on him and push him out as far as possible. We wanted him to shoot it six or seven feet behind the line and take our chances."
Beard also had 14 points, including 8-of-8 free throw shooting, but he spent much of the night on the bench in foul trouble.
Rod Moore had his best game since suffering a concussion last week as he had 12 points. Joel Nabors had six points with eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Bulldogs shot just 19-of-60 (32 percent) from the field, including 6-of-24 from 3-point range.
Sikeston played Portageville on Saturday. Results from that game will be in Monday's edition.
Kelly (12-5) hosts Clarkton on Thursday.
The Sikeston junior varsity improved to 4-9 on the season with a 50-30 win against Kelly.
Sikeston led through the whole game, taking a 10-7 lead after one quarter and 25-10 by halftime.
The Bulldogs were led by Blake Taylor's 12 points and four assists and Tarryl Booker's 12 points and 10 rebounds. Andrew Sales had 10 points.
Kelly was led by Tim Mayall and Spencer Ayers with seven points apiece.