(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
BENTON -- Not even an exciting, crowd-pumping performance from junior Shawn Heuring could propel the Kelly Hawks past the Puxico Indians on Tuesday night.
Heuring, who would finish with 11 points, only played in the fourth quarter but what he did in those eight minutes was give the Hawks a chance to win their first game of the season. He hit three 3-pointers in the last four minutes of regulation -- once tying it at 66-66 and then shortly after brought Kelly within one point, 70-69.
Still, an energized Kelly team following Heuring's clutch shots weren't enough as Puxico slipped out of Kelly High School with a 72-69 victory.
"Shawn's kind of like a microwave -- he's instant offense for us," Kelly head coach Nate Wills said. "That got us some momentum going."
Before Heuring began raining 3-pointers, it looked as though the Indians were comfortably on their way towards the win. Puxico was up by nine entering the fourth quarter and would extend that lead to 13. Along with Heuring, Kelly got a little help from Puxico's Corey Davis and Darreck Duvall, both of whom were on the bench with four fouls each.
"That's when they made their run," Puxico head coach Marc Cream said. "We had Corey Davis and Darreck Duvall both on the bench with foul trouble and I think the last part of the game showed that when they're in there we're a different team."
The Hawks would outscore Puxico 35-19 in the fourth quarter, but it just wasn't enough.
Both Davis and Duvall controlled the boards for the most part while in the game. Davis finished with 13 points while Tyler Woodard and Clay Harty each added 11 points each.
Kelly also had to deal with Puxico's John Smith.
Smith scored a game-high 28 points on the night and when the Indians needed a bucket, even while being double teamed, he usually obliged.
"We knew they were going to run double teams at John Smith," said Cream. "We were going to make an effort to get other guys involved. If it was tight in the fourth quarter we were going to cut John loose and let him go a win the game. And he pretty much did."
Kelly's zone defense kept Smith limited through the first three quarters but once the Indians began to pull away, the Hawks had to pull out of that 2-3 zone and guard Smith man-to-man.
Smith scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and was 6-of-8 from the free throw line when it counted most. He hit 4-of-6 free throws with less than 50 seconds remaining.
"When we have to guard him one-on-one or throw two guys at him, he's still going to the rack and he's going to get to the free throw line," said Wills.
Dustin Crowden paced the Hawks with 17 points. Crowden was the equivalent to Smith for Kelly as being the Hawks' most consistent scorer of the night. Although Garrett Alsap and Trent Felter finished in double figures with 12 and 10 respectively.
"Dustin is our leader. Without a doubt." Wills said. "The kids look to him and he's going to take control. That's what he does. We just have to get him to get other people involved."
Kelly remains winless on the season at 0-5 while Puxico moved to 3-4. Puxico will try their luck at the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament on Saturday while Kelly will travel to the Show Me Center for the seMissourian Christmas Tournament.
PUXICO (72) -- Clay Harty 11, Skylar Moore 2, Darreck Duvall 3, John Smith 28, Tyler Woodard 11, Rory Moore 4, Corey Davis 13. FG 27 FT 13-26 F 14. (3-pointers: Harty 3, Smith, Woodard. Fouled out: none.)
KELLY (69) -- Trent Felter 10, Dustin Crowden 17, Garrett Alsap 12, Michael Fisher 5, Blake Wadlington 2, Shawn Heuring 11, Ethan Lee 6, Branden Dambach 6. FG 29 FT 7-9 F 25. (3-pointers: Alsap, Heuring 3. Fouled out: Felter, Alsap, Lee.)
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