When the game was on the line the Deasons were there to respond.
Kelly's senior guards Kendal and Kent Deason scored all 20 points for the Hawks in the fourth quarter to help Kelly edge visiting Jackson 64-62 on Tuesday in a rematch of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament finals.
"They've done that all year," Kelly coach Cory Johnson said. "That's expected of them, and they expect it out of themselves. They make everyone better."
The Hawks erased a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter to improve to 16-5 and 8-0 at home. Kendal Deason broke a 64-64 tie with a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining to win the game.
"Free throws don't win all ball games, but they win the close ones," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said.
Deason's free throws capped an exciting fourth quarter which saw seven lead changes and two ties. Kendal Deason was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the quarter, with his first two free throws tying the score at 59 with a little more than a minute remaining. Overall, Deason finished 6-for-6 from the line.
"I try to pattern myself after J.J. Redick," Deason said, referring to Duke University's 93 percent free-throw shooter. "When he goes to the line, he makes the big shots."
After pouring in 10 points in the third quarter, Kelly was able to neutralize Jackson's 6-foot-7 post player Ryan Mirly down the stretch. Mirly only had three points in the fourth quarter and finished with 23 points.
"We talked about that two or three times in the huddle," Johnson said. "We tried to push him away from the goal. Earlier we were letting him get too many easy buckets."
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter Kelly had erased a 48-44 deficit and led 49-48 on a Kendal Deason layin. The teams traded baskets the next three times down the court, until Jackson was able to widen its lead on an Aaron Redecker jumper midway through the quarter.
Kelly grabbed the lead back with three minutes remaining on Kent Deason's second 3-pointer of the quarter. With the score nodded at 59, Kent Deason hit another 3-pointer to put Kelly ahead 62-59 with 40 seconds remaining, only to have Jack Puisis respond with a deep 3-pointer to tie the score with 25 seconds left.
Puisis attempted a desperation shot at the end of regulation from 3-point range but failed to hit the rim.
Kendal and Kent Deason combined for 34 of 36 Kelly points in the second half. Kent Deason had 15 points in the second half, all on 3-pointers.
"I was actually surprised," Kent Deason said of finding himself open several times in late in the game. "Actually, in my mind, I took some bad shots that somehow went through."
Kent Deason finished with 22 points. Kendal Deason led the Hawks with 31 points, including three 3-pointers.
"This game is huge," Kendal Deason said. "It definitely boosts our confidence. Hopefully it can continue into our last three games and into district."
After losing to Jackson in overtime of the Christmas finals, Kelly came out hot on Tuesday. The Hawks jumped out 8-2 early in the opening quarter and led 17-11 after one.
Kelly led by as many as 11 points midway through the second quarter before Jackson made a late run. A last second 3-pointer by Puisis made the score 28-27 Kelly at halftime. Jackson (22-3), ranked sixth in Class 5, scored the first bucket of the second half to take its first lead of the game.
Jackson led by as many as six points late in the third quarter but could not put the Hawks away.
"We knew after the Christmas Tournament we could play with them," Kendal Deason said. "We were 7-0 at home and we wanted to make it 8-0."
Puisis finished with 25 points to lead Jackson.
Kelly 64, Jackson 62
JACKSON (62) -- Jack Puisis 25, Ryan Mirly 23, Aaron Redecker 4, Kyle Pridemore 4, Eric Poythress 6. FG 23, FT 11-14, F 11 (3-pointers: Puisis 4. Fouled out: none)
KELLY (64) -- Kendal Deason 31, Kent Deason 22, Michael Glastetter 9, Jordan Felter 2. FG 24, FT 6-8, F 13 (3-pointers: Kent Deason 5, Kendal Deason 3. Fouled out: none)