Led by 5-foot-9 senior forward Taylor Nelson and 5-10 junior center Bailey Stanley in the post, Dexter outscored Kelly 42-25 in the paint which was the difference in the contest.
"Our post players did a nice job down low tonight when they got the ball," said Dexter head coach Gavin Miller. "Nelson needs to get the ball down and at times tonight, we had some issues executing that game plan."
Dexter looked to run away with the game in the first quarter, with a 10-0 run to start the game. Led by the inside play of Nelson and Stanley who scored six points apiece, Dexter led 14-9 after one.
Kelly did not help their cause in the first quarter, as the Lady Hawks committed 12 turnovers in the quarter. Kayla Cissell did her part down low for the Lady Hawks in the first quarter, with six points of her own to help Kelly come within five points at the end of the quarter.
Nelson led Dexter at the half with 11 points. Stanley pumped in six points and point guard Natalie Hayes had four assists at halftime.
Kelly was led in scoring at halftime by Cissell with eight points. Freshman center Debra Hall tallied six points and junior point guard Brittany Ponder had three rebounds and two assists for the Lady Hawks at half.
"We played well tonight and that is because all the girls came in with a positive attitude," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter. "The girls understand by being so young, they need to have a positive attitude in order to progress as a team."
Dexter came out of the half in a 2-3 zone and tried to make Kelly beat them from the outside. The plan slowed down the offensive structure of Kelly and the Lady Bearcats proceeded to go on a 6-0 run, and led 35-25 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Ponder drew the Lady Hawks within six points at the end of the third, with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to make the score 37-31 entering the fourth quarter.
Kelly chipped away at the Dexter lead throughout the fourth quarter. With 53 seconds left in the contest, Robert garnered a offensive rebound for Kelly and with the put back for two points, Dexter led 43-41.
Dexter ran off the next seven points from the free-throw line to salt the game away, 50-41.
"We were not totally focused as a team tonight," said Miller. "Our energy level was not at the level I would like to see it. At times, we had good intensity out there, but at other points in the game we kind of relaxed. Kelly is a good team that is coached very well. Fortunately tonight, we took advantage of certain situations and came away with the win."
While the post play carried Dexter, Miller spoke about the contributions his guards made in the game.
"Jessica (Fowler) took care of the ball very well tonight," said Miller. "She is starting to get the hang of her role on the team and every week I see improvements in her game. Natalie (Hayes) also handled the ball well. But I would like to see more production from her down the road."
Nelson finished with 20 points, while Stanley had 10 points and led Dexter with six rebounds. Sophomore Amanda Dooley tallied 12 points off the bench for the Lady Bearcats. Hayes ran the point well with six assists, two points and two rebounds for Dexter. Fowler finished with four assists for the Lady Bearcats.
Dexter had 18 rebounds (five offensive) and dished out 15 assists as a team. The Bearcats had seven steals and committed 16 turnovers for the contest.
Ponder led Kelly with 10 points and four rebounds. Hall and Cissell each chipped in eight points for the Lady Hawks. Mindy Robert had a good night off the bench for Kelly with nine points, four rebounds and four assists.
Kelly had 20 rebounds (five offensive) and nine assists as a team. The Lady Hawks had seven steals as a team and a stat that will come back to haunt them, committed 27 turnovers in the game.
"I was very happy with the effort put forth by the girls," said McQuerter. "We played hard tonight and the mistakes we made were not unforced, but were made trying to make plays. Give credit to Dexter, they made the shots to win the game at the end."
Dexter (12-2) will host Malden tonight at 6 p.m.
Kelly (9-6) is off until Monday when they travel to Perryville to take on St. Vincent.