BENTON -- A resurgent third quarter couldn't save Kelly from a rough start Tuesday night when the Hawks took on visiting Bloomfield.
Falling behind by as many as 18 points in the first half before entering the break down 41-27, Kelly (5-14) used a hot third quarter to cut the Wildcats (14-11) lead down to six entering the fourth frame.
After Bloomfield's Dylan Bader went on an eight-point tear midway through the final quarter, however, the Hawks quickly found themselves back down by double-digits and were unable to rebound, falling 81-69.
"For the most part we played real hard the whole game," Kelly head coach Josh Eftink said. "It's just at times we were just a little impatient offensively and had a few turnovers in key spots. Other than that the boys played really hard. You can't fault their effort."
Still down by 13 points at 49-36 three minutes into the second half, the Hawks ascent started when Stosh Lovett hit a free throw and 3-point basket in the span of 23 seconds to cut Kelly's deficit to nine with 4:30 left in the frame.
Just over a minute later after the Wildcats had pushed their advantage back to 12 off a Bader 3-point play, Kelly went on their biggest run of the quarter, scoring six straight to close back within six.
Starting with Ian Kuykendall scoring off an offensive rebound, Sawyer Elfrink dropped in a bucket soon after to close to within eight with 1:55 left in the third period. Kuykendall capped the drive only 25 seconds later, picking off the ball on Bloomfield's end before driving down the court for a layup.
"All of us seniors came together and told each other we (only) have a few more games, so let's pick it up," Kelly's Trey Drury said. "We did and brought it back up to a six point game."
Though the Hawks were able to stay within six of the Wildcats nearly two minutes into the fourth, Bloomfield's grip on the lead grew tighter as the quarter dragged on.
Getting 14 points from Bader in the frame, the Wildcats started to distance themselves once again with 6:16 left to play as Hill was fouled going to the basket, hitting both the basket and ensuing free throw.
Soon after Bloomfield opened up a 12-3 run that included eight points by Bader to put the Wildcats up 71-53 with 3:24 to play. After that, Kelly's offense was able to keep pace, but was unable to get any closer than 10 points to Bloomfield.
"We give up two offensive rebounds in the first half and then we give up ten in the second," Bloomfield head coach Dustin Hicks said. "That's just kind of where we've been all year. We can go down and play with Portageville and teams like that tooth-and-nail, then we come against a team that maybe we should be a little bit better than and we let them hang around.
"We always have a tendency to play to the level of our opponent. Hopefully we quit doing that."
Easily leading Bloomfield, Bader finished with a game-high 34 points, including 23 in the second half. Seth Hills was the lone other Wildcat in the double-digits, finishing with 16.
"That's probably his third time this year he's been over 30 and he's been in the high-20's another three or four times," Hicks said of Bader. "I really hope he gets some consideration for all-district, maybe even all-region. He's had a really good year for us."
Leading Kelly's charge, Drury ended the night with 26 points with 16 of those coming in the fourth quarter as the Hawks tried to work their way back in the game. Lovett and Garrett Alsup had 11 points apiece.
"He's really starting to get some confidence here at the right time of the year," Eftink said of Drury. "We'd like to keep him going for our next game and then districts. It's good to have somebody like that going.
"Now we have to have to get some more people going around him too."
BLOOMFIELD (81) -- Paul Fox 1, Brett Ruch 3, Logan Cowart 5, Seth Hill 16, Matt Merick 9, Dylan Bader 34, Adam Vandiver 5, Austin Cooper 2, Mitchell Skaggs 6. FG 28, FT 22-32, F 22. (3-pointers: Cowart 1, Hill 1, Merick 1. Fouled out: none)
KELLY (69) -- Stosh Lovett 11, Trey Drury 26, Sawyer Elfrink 4, Michael Kuykendall 8, Ian Householder 6, Garrett Alsup 11, Gabe Felter 3. FG 26, FT 14-20, F 22. (3-pointers: Lovett 1, Drury 1, Alsup 1. Fouled out: Householder, Alsup, Felter)