Kelly kept the game close in the first quarter with solid play in the paint from 6-foot-6 Zach Hamm and Spencer Ayers. Hamm had six points in the quarter and Ayers chipped in four, as the Hawks and Bulldogs played to a 12-12 tie after one.
In the second quarter, Portageville changed from a man defense to a 1-3-1 half-court trap in the quarter which seemed to confuse the Hawks.
The score was tied at 14 with 5:10 to play in the second when Portageville went on a 10-0 run fueled by seven Hawk turnovers and the Bulldogs led 29
-19 at halftime.
The Bulldogs scored the last five points of the quarter, capped by a Trey Mosby 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Kelly is a big, physical team and they were killing us early inside," said Portageville head coach Jim Bidewell. "We tried to change up the defense and go to a trapping look because what we were doing was going to get us beat."
The Hawks committed 24 turnovers in the game and were ineffective on offense after the first quarter.
"Turnovers have been the story of our season," said Kelly head coach Cory Johnson. "We have problems handling the basketball and the 25 turnovers a game we have been averaging is a testament to that. Portageville tried to speed us up with the half-court trap, which we expected and we couldn't handle it."
Portageville hit four 3-pointers in the first half against a Kelly defense that was sagging in the lane for most of the half, but Bidewell was not pleased with the team effort in the half on defense.
"I thought the guys didn't put enough pressure on the ball," said Bidewell. "Kelly was ready to play early and we were not. I guess that is to be expected from a young team that hasn't played together much. It is going to take some time for everybody to get on the same page."
The Bulldogs took control of the game in the third quarter as Portageville went on a 13-2 run and led 42-23 with two minutes to play in the quarter. Marcus Greene went to work for the Bulldogs in the third after foul trouble in the first half.
Greene had eight points in the third and 6-5 freshman Kony Ealy had five points, including a 3-pointer at the top of the key for Portageville. Kelly had only eight points in the quarter, six from forward Dallas Tew and the Hawks trailed 44-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We played hard at times," said Johnson, "but in the second half we stopped competing. We let them score at will in the paint and it seemed that we just stopped playing with intensity. It is going to be a long season if we don't give maximum effort in every quarter, not just the first half."
Greene continued to beat the Hawks down low in the fourth quarter and had seven points, for 15 in the second half and finished with a game-high 20 points for the Bulldogs.
Mosby continued his spirited effort recovering from a broken arm and finished with 13 points and seven steals.
Ealy had nine points and led Portageville with nine rebounds in two quarters of action. Ealy played two quarters in the junior varsity game.
Despite the win, Portageville was out rebounded by Kelly 34-18 in the game and shot only 6-16 from the free throw line.
"The name of the game is rebounding and we can't get beat on the boards," said Bidewell. "Our positioning was bad and rebounding is about one thing, desire. I don't think we have the desire to rebound right now."
Hamm led Kelly with nine points and Tew finished with eight points and led the Hawks with nine rebounds. Spencer Ayers ended the game with six points and eight rebounds for Kelly.
Kelly (1-3) travels to Perryville on Friday to take on St. Vincent at 6 p.m.
Portageville (2-0) travels to Hayti on Friday to take on the Indians. The junior varsity game is slated to begin at 6 p.m.