KENNETT -- Instead of celebrating a huge senior night victory over a SEMO Conference foe, the Kennett Indians are left to wonder what could have been.
Down by as many as 13 points in the first quarter, the Tribe rallied to force overtime before dropping a 53-49 decision to the New Madrid County Central Eagles Tuesday.
"In a game like that, (an) overtime game, you could pinpoint a thousand different things," Kennett coach Jim Vaughan said. "If we'd have done this different in the second quarter, this different and made that shot or whatever it was -- New Madrid could do the same thing.
"I'm sure they're thinking they could have put it away plenty of different times."
The Eagles (5-19, 2-7 SEMO) finally did put it away with some clutch free-
throw shooting, going 8-for-8 in the extra session after making just seven-
of-18 (39 percent) in regulation.
"I told the guys it never should have got to that point ... " NMCC coach Travis Day said. "I told the guys the basketball gods blessed you because we should have lost. We made enough mistakes, missed enough free throws that we gave them a chance to get back in the game."
Kennett (4-19, 1-8) trailed 42-38 in the final minute of regulation, but back-
to-back buckets by Ashton Harrell and Tevin Hampton tied the score with 16 seconds to go.
Corey Rowe's free throw with 13.1 seconds left put the Eagles back ahead at 43-42, but Dontrey Washington fouled Mario McGraw with no time left on the clock. McGraw made the first but missed the second to force overtime.
In the extra session, Washington put NMCC up 47-43 with 3:25 to go, but a pair of Blake Parr foul shots and a Jimmy Gooden basket evened the score again with 1:30 remaining.
After both teams traded free throws, Dijuan Waters made two foul shots with 25.3 seconds remaining to snap a 49-all tie and put the Eagles ahead to stay. Patick Guest added two more free throws with 5.7 seconds left to ice the game.
"I just basically got onto them and said, 'Guys, you're lucky to be at this point," Day told his team before OT started. "'We should be having our heads hanging down and walking out of here with a loss. So you've got four minutes to get this thing back.' We got lucky."
Leslie Williams and Lance Price paced NMCC with 10 points each, while Washington added nine.Gooden led all scorers with 11 points, while McGraw added 10 before fouling out.
NMCC 53, Kennett 49
NMCC (53) -- Williams 10, DWashington 9, Price 10, Rowe 3, Perkins 4, Robinson 2, Smoot 2, Guest 6, Waters 7. Totals: 18 15-26 53.
KENNETT (49) -- Percifull 3, HWashington 4, Howard 2, Gooden 11, McGraw 10, Harrell 6, Hughes 2, Parr 9. Totals: 19 8-14 49.
3-pointers: NMCC 2 (Williams 2); Kennett 3 (Gooden, McGraw, Percifull).