The Hawks came into the game short-handed on the bench, as head coach Corey Johnson was out with strep throat. Assistant coach Matt Hale stepped in to fill the big shoes left vacant by Johnson.
"This is the second time I have taken over for coach when he has been sick," said Hale. "Feels good to get the win for coach. I am learning from one of the best coaches in the area."
The Braves jumped out quick on Kelly in the first quarter, as sophomore guard D.D. Gillespie pumped in 13 points and Scott Central led 19-16 after one.
Kelly stayed with the Braves in the first quarter, thanks in large part to the play of their postman Spencer Ayers. The 6-foot-3 junior center tallied eight points in the quarter for the Hawks.
Gillespie continued his hot shooting in the first half, and scored 11 points in the second quarter for a total of 24 points in the half. With Gillespie on fire from the floor, Scott Central took a six point lead into half, 38-32.
"Our shooting kept us in the game in the first half," said Scott Central head coach David Heeb. "D.D. (Gillespie) was hot early and he found a way to keep us close in the first half."
Sophomore Caleb Johnson helped out the Braves with four points and seven rebounds in the first half.
Spencer Ayers closed the first half with 13 points and five rebounds for Kelly. Brandon Ayers chipped in with 11 points, four assists and two rebounds in first half of action.
Midway through the third quarter, Kelly exploded for a 13-0 run to put the Hawks up 53-49. The Hawks focused on getting the basketball down low, and the Braves had trouble defending the big men of Kelly.
On the heels of their big run in the third quarter, Kelly held a 55-52 lead heading into the final quarter.
Kelly increased the lead into the fourth quarter, as junior guard Tyler Thurman hit three 3-pointers and Kelly built their lead to 13, 70-57 with three minutes remaining in the contest.
Scott Central battled back within five points, 75-70 with 16 seconds remaining. However, Kelly put the game away with two late free-throws and won 77-70.
The Braves will kick themselves in the morning as they missed 13 free-throws as a team.
"If you shoot yourself in the foot enough times," said Heeb, "you will eventually hit some toes. D.D. played well, but we need some guys to start to step up. Our young guys have a lot to learn. We can't rebound, we just gave them a lot of their points. Nothing against Kelly, they played a good game, but we just gave them the game tonight. We are so young, we can't give anything away."
Gillespie finished with 37 points, four assists and four rebounds in the game. Johnson had 10 points and 12 rebounds (five offensive). Josh Chamberlain had a nice night with eight points and five assists for the Braves. Pershad Owens finished with seven points and nine rebounds for Scott Central.
The Braves collected 37 rebounds (14 offensive) and dished out 13 assists as a team. Scott Central committed 11 turnovers in the contest.
Brandon Ayers led Kelly with 20 points, seven assists and also grabbed seven rebounds. Spencer Ayers scored 18 points and led the Hawks with 10 rebounds. Jacob Glastetter netted 10 points for Kelly.
Jacob Felter chipped in with six points and seven rebounds for the Hawks. Dallas Tew came off the bench for Kelly and scored four points, had seven rebounds and four assists.
Kelly's bench outscored Scott Central's bench 17-0 in the game. The Hawks pulled down 40 rebounds (17 offensive) and had 19 assists for the game. The Hawks as a team committed 14 turnovers in the contest.
"Tonight was a big win for the team," said Hale. "We controlled the boards and the guys played hard for all four quarters. We moved the ball well against their press. Big key in the win was that the kids hit their shots and their free-
Scott Central (5-8) will travel to Charleston on Friday night to take on the Bluejays.
Kelly (9-5) will entertain Chaffee on Friday night.