CHAFFEE -- Having beaten Kelly by 43-points just last week, third-seeded Chaffee looked to have drawn a easy matchup in opening up the Scott-Mississippi Conference tournament against the sixth-seeded Hawks on Monday.
After going up by as many as 24-points late in the first half, however, the Red Devils found themselves facing a near upset before holding on for a 48-44 win.
"You have to give Kelly and coach (Josh) Eftink a lot of credit," Chaffee head coach Josh Govreau said. "After we beat them the way we did Friday and then after that first quarter they could have just folded and disappeared on us.
"But they didn't. They battled and kept fighting."
Most of the first half was reminiscent of the teams prior meeting as the Red Devils opened up the game on a 21-2 run in the first six minutes before going up 35-11 with a minute left in the second quarter.
In was in that final minute of the half, however, that the Hawks slowly started to swing momentum in their favor with eight straight points from Brent Forck chipping their deficit down to 19, at 38-19, entering the break.
Opening the second half with a 6-0 run, Kelly continued to eat at Chaffee's lead all through the third until an open layup by Aaron Grainger had closed the Hawks to within four, at 42-38, with 5:54 left in the fourth.
"I'm sure (Chaffee's) plan was to speed us up and go faster than what we wanted to go," Eftink said. "We took the bait early on and finally we started pecking away a little bit at a time in the second half and got back in the game.
"But that's because we started playing our style."
Forced to call a timeout having been outscored 27-7 in the last 11 minutes of play, the Red Devils found a little breathing room when back-to-back buckets from Jordan Yahn and Peyton Montgomery stretched their lead back out to eight with three minutes to play.
Still trailing 46-38 after a couple empty possessions, the Hawks spent the last minute of the game sending the Red Devils to the line for three consecutive 1-and-1 attempts.
Only converting the first of four shots, Chaffee's lead was whittled down to three when the Hawks connected on the second of two straight 3-pointers with 2.8 second remaining.
Keeping Kelly from one last desperation heave and a chance to tie things up, Alex Crowe sank one final free throw for the Red Devils to put the game out of reach.
"It's one of things where the kids fight so hard and then all of the sudden (Chaffee) hits a shot to go up a couple more points," Eftink said. "Instead of being a four point game they took it to six, then eight. So that's when it almost feels like we did all this and now we're falling a little short."
Leading Chaffee, Alex Crowe had a game-high 18 points on the night, including 13 in the first quarter alone. Montgomery and Zach Dannenmueller had 10 and eight points respectively.
"Last year when we played them here on our home floor we let them hang around," Govreau said, referring to a come-from-behind Kelly win. "We had beaten them big in the Christmas tournament. If you let teams like that hang around and hang around they just more confident and more confident.
"Then they're going to be tough to beat. It was big that we were able to jump out on them early."
For Kelly, Forck had 15 points in the contest, including a pair of 3-pointers. Grainger had nine points while Jeff gates and Gabe Felter scored eight and seven respectively.
"I told the kids in the locker room, you can't really say anything bad about the second half," Eftink said. "We battled and that's the kind of second half effort we've been looking for all season.
"It's just really that first four or five minutes of the game when we were down 19-2. We tried to dig our of it, but it was just a little bit too much."
With their win the Red Devils will play Scott City in the semifinals on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
KELLY (44) -- Gaven Ray 4, Aaron Grainger 9, Brent Forck 15, Jeff Gates 8, Josh Roberts 1, Gabe Felter 7. FG 19, FT 2-5, F 17. (3-pointers: Grainger 1, Forck 2, Felter 1. Fouled out: Ray.)
CHAFFEE (48) -- Alex Crowe 18, Peyton Montgomery 10, Zach Dannenmueller 8, Cody Johnson 2, Layton Tenkhoff 4, Jordan Yahn 2, Alex Davie 2, Charlie Montgomery 2. FG 19, FT 8-15. F 8. (3-pointers: Crowe 3. Fouled out: none.)