By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
It took three quarters for Kerens to look like Kerens on Friday night.
But anyone who gets lulled to sleep by the Bobcats' record or their sloppy play better be careful. Because the defending state semifinalists can still turn it on.
Up by only three, Kerens blitzed Hubbard with a 21-point fourth quarter to make it to another Kiwinas Classic Championship Game, beating the Jaguars 56-41 at the K. and Ida Wolens Special Events Center.
Kerens (8-5), ranked No. 11 in the state, trailed for much of the second quarter and led only 35-32 after three as Hubbard played stubborn defense.
The Bobcats opened up the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run. Tobyus Thomas made a baseline shot, Nate Betts nailed a 3-pointer, Kevin Townsel made a lauyp and Thomas scored four more poins.
Hubbard crept back within 45-37 on a layup by Trey Henderson, but Kerens again went on a run, this time scoring seven straight points sparked by two putbacks by Daedrion Tolliver.
Hubbard surprised Kerens when it took a first-quarter lead on a basket by D'Warren Simmons for 10-8 lead. The teams were tied at 14-14 and 16-16 in the second quarter, and Simmons gave the Jaguars another lead at 19-18 with a bucket with 2:42 left before halftime.
Townsel's drive gave Kerens back the lead late in the half and the Bobcats had a 21-19 advantage at the break.
The third quarter saw four more lead changes and three ties. A 3-pointer by Ashton Hawthorne had Hubbard leading 29-28 with 4:01 left in the third quarter as the Jaguars, missing two starters, continued to frustrate Kerens.
Shelton Sayles swished two crucial baseline jumpers late in the quarter to give Kerens back the lead at 35-32 headed to the final quarter.
Hubbard made only four shots in the final eight minutes as the Bobcats' defense picked up to playoff level.
"We played defense," Townsel said. "We still have to come up with some consistency on offense."
Kiwanis Classic: Boys Championship Semifinal
Kerens 56, Hubbard 41
Hubbard 10 9 13 9 -- 41
Kerens 8 13 14 21 -- 56
Hubbard -- D'Warren Simmons 16, Bradley Walker 3, Casen Martin 2, Ashton Hawthorne 6, Trey Williams 10, Dylan Harris 4.
Kerens -- Tobyus Thomas 17, Kevin Townsel 11, Shelton Sayles 11, Nate Betts 11, Daedrion Tolliver 4, Talon Modester 2.
Records -- Hubbard 8-5, Kerens 8-5.