BENTON -- The Portageville Bulldogs started slowly Tuesday night against the Kelly Hawks, but rallied from a first-half deficit to whip the Hawks 60-49 to even their season record at 1-1.
Kelly is also at the .500 mark at 2-2.
Kendal Deason and Trey Simmons set the tone for the first half when they combined for three 3-pointers in the opening frame to lead the Hawks to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first period.
The Bulldogs seemed to react too slowly to the Kelly offense, giving the Hawks open looks at the basket in the early going, but were not able to build a large lead.
In the second frame, both teams found the range a bit better with Kelly scoring 14 while the visitors garnered 13. Antonio Scott's buzzer beater pulled the Bulldogs to within four at 25-21, at the half.
"We came out and got off to a slow start and played sporadically. It's our second game and we're not feeding the ball around, letting everybody get a touch. We just woke up the second half and decided to do the little things right and came out and fortunately won tonight," said Portageville's head coach Jim Bidewell.
The Bulldogs finally assumed a 36-35 lead in the contest on an Antonio Scott bucket with time running out in the third quarter. The momentum had taken a turn toward the Bulldogs and they were able to gradually pull away from Kelly.
With time winding down in the game, the Hawks had to foul. Portageville was 15-of-23 in the game from the charity stripe, but Jordan Penn nailed 8-of-8 in the fourth quarter to hold off Kelly. Willie Hassell hit both of his free throw attempts in the stanza.
All of the Bulldog starters got into the scoring column, with Scott, Penn, Hassell, and Jimmy Larry all in double digits. Ramone Kershaw added six.
Hassell, who led all scorers with 17 points, had back-to-back steals with about 6:50 left in the fourth quarter and made two easy layups to make the score 42-36.
The Hawks did not go down without a fight. With just over two minutes left in the game, Michael Glastetter's bucket cut the Bulldog lead to only six points at 49-43, but the home team could sink only 3-of-8 free throw attempts at that critical juncture of the game.
For Kelly, Deason and Simmons reached double figures with 16 and 13 points respectively.
"The kids played hard, played a good defensive game, but we had 25 turnovers and shot 40 percent from the free throw line and you can't beat a team like Portageville like that. We had bad passes, didn't come back and meet the ball. We didn't do a lot of the little things," bemoaned Kelly head coach Nick Lanpher.
Kelly's next contest will be next Tuesday at Bloomfield. Portageville will host Hayti Friday night.
The junior Hawks jumped out to a big early lead and held off the junior Bulldogs 64-51 behind double-digit efforts by Jordan Felton and Russell Carroll who combined for 36 points.