"I just came out and played hard for my team and did what I had to do for us to get the win," Jenkins said.
What he did was score a season-high 31 points, including 18 in the second half as NMCC knocked off the No. 4 team in Class 3 and the top seed in the upcoming Class 3, District 1 Tournament that starts next week in Kennett.
"Dontre is our leader," said NMCC coach Travis Day. "He's our vocal leader and gets us where we need to be. He stepped up when we needed him. When we needed a bucket he got it or got us in the right spot for that and that is what a point guard should do."
The Eagles led for nearly the entire game, jumping out to a 14-7 lead after one quarter and taking a 31-25 advantage into halftime. They stretched their lead to 43-35 with 3:08 remaining in the third quarter, when momentum seemed to change.
Going up to catch a pass, NMCC senior Kony Ealy and a Kennett player fell to the ground hard, leaving Ealy wincing in pain. As he hobbled off the floor, it looked as if the Indians had an opportunity to make a run, but Jenkins had other plans.
On the ensuing possession, the guard stole the ball at halfcourt and drove the ball in for a slam dunk, exciting the Eagle crowd and putting NMCC up 45-35.
"People have been asking me all season when I was going to dunk," Jenkins said. "I broke my foot in football so I had to wait until I got healthy. I just had the opportunity and I took it."
The Eagles looked like they had the game in hand until the end of the third quarter when Kennett got two quick baskets in the final seconds, seizing momentum heading into the fourth trailing 48-43.
However, NMCC turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter and started the frame on an 8-2 run, giving them a 56-45 lead.
"We played harder with more intensity," Ealy said of the fourth quarter. "I think we played good when we got down to business and got our heads together and were on the same page. We made the extra pass and got the rebounds when we needed them."
Following a basket by Kennett's Jack Walls, a Jenkins bucket was followed by an emphatic Ealy slam dunk giving the Eagles a 60-47 lead with 3:35 to play. Ealy then made two free throws and followed that up with two nice assists to G'Darius Stevenson and NMCC put the game out of reach 66-47 with 2:35 remaining.
"We rebounded and guarded," Day said of the Eagle fourth quarter. "We had it too many times when we didn't box out and they got the offensive board and put it back or we lost site of (Fred) Garmon and he penetrated and got everybody involved and that is when they made their run at us. We guarded like we should be guarding tonight."
While Jenkins finished the night with 31 points, Ealy ended with 13 points and seven rebounds while Stevenson finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Kennett (18-7) was led in scoring by Garmon's 11 points.
"We were due," Day said. "To me we still aren't clicking on all cylinders like I want us to. Our effort was there and guarded pretty well. Kennett is a great team and if you make a mistake they are going to make you pay for it and they did well at that."
NMCC disrupted the Kennett fast-paced attack by slowing the ball down on offense and defensively tried to keep the Indians from penetrating.
"Our goal was to clog up the paint," Day said. "They want to get out and they want to run and our goal was to sprint back and get out in those lanes and make it hard for them to make those outlet passes and slow it down."
The game could be a preview of a potential district championship game next week as Kennett earned the top seed and NMCC drew the second seed. Jenkins said the win was big for the Eagles' confidence.
"We've got to get our respect out here," Jenkins said. "We haven't been getting any respect so we have to earn it."
NMCC (15-9) will begin district play Monday when they take on Malden at 7 p.m. in Kennett.
Notes: The game was the final home game for seniors Jenkins, Ealy, William Bledsoe, Aron McCormick and Michael Darter who were honored before the game and all started the game.
"The Dontres, the Ealys and the Bledsoes are hard to come by," Day said. "Dontre is the type of kid he's not only the leader on the floor but he's the leader in the community and the school. Those guys are not only good on the court, but their good off the court. They are the type of kids you want your kids to be around."
KENNETT (48) -- Andy Lack 6, Cameron Wallace 2, Jack Walls 8, Fred Garmon 11, Jay Shavers 4, Randrick Caruthers 4, Adam Grantham 4, Jimmy Gooden 9. FG 20, FT 6-10, F 15. (3-pointers: Lack 2. Fouled out: none).
|NMCC||(68) -- Dontre Jenkins 31, Lamonte Nelson 2, Keith Holmes 4, G'Darius Stevenson 12, Kony Ealy 13, William Bledsoe 6. FG 26, FT 14-22, F 14. (3-pointers: Jenkins 1, Holmes 1. Fouled out: none).|
NMCC 45, Kennett 41
NMCC built an 8-4 lead after one quarter and led 18-12 at halftime and then held on to defeat Kennett 45-41 in the junior varsity game.
CJ Chism led NMCC with 12 points while Earl Grissom added 10.
KENNETT (41) -- Cameron Harper 9, Clemmie Lane 2, Collin Smith 1, Jajuan Wallace 15, Divante Taylor 5, Travon Weeden 7. FG 15, FT 11-16. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none).
NMCC (45) -- Zach Rucker 2, Earl Grissom 10, Armondo Thatch 3, Datrae Hicks 6, Tevin Winfield 8, Darrin McGlosson 2, CJ Chism 12, Gabe Smith 2. FG 21, FT 3-6. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none).