BIG STONE GAP - The J.J. Kelly girls have been playing in the shadow of second-ranked Gate City all season.
Perhaps the Lady Indians' biggest challenge is getting out from under the shadow of their own doubts.
Kalen Collins scored 22 points as Kelly held off upset-minded Powell Valley 52-37 in Lonesome Pine District action Tuesday night.
"When things aren't going right we get too down on ourselves," said Kelly coach Robin Dotson.
"We feel like we can play with anybody if we put together four quarters of mental and physical effort. But you have to go out and do it. We didn't do that tonight."
The Lady Indians (13-4, 8-2) led 25-11 at the half but let Powell Valley climb back into the game in the third quarter. The Lady Vikings (7-10, 4-6) closed to 27-26 on Brette Harding's stickback at 1:04 left in that period. A three-point play from Collins kept Kelly ahead 30-26 moving into the final stanza.
The Lady Vikings were still knocking at the door by Harding's bucket at 4:59 left to play, cutting Kelly's lead to 36-33. A couple of free throws by Samantha Brummitte gave Wise a little breathing room.
A back-door layup by Kayli Bates and a strong move in the paint by Lauren Mullins gave the Lady Indians two more unanswered buckets. A couple more free throws from Collins at 2:24 and Kelly was in command for good, 44-33.
"We made a bucket or two that gave us a little spark and we decided we were going to play in the last four minutes of the game," Dotson said. "I'm extremely disappointed in our mental effort tonight. They just took it to us."
Mullins and Jaydee Brewer finished with eight points apiece for Kelly.
Tessa Burton scored 14 points for the Lady Vikings while Tasha Trent contributed eight.
"We got ourselves in a hole in the first half. In the second half we fought back and were able to put up some points and get back in the game," said Powell Valley coach Kelly Smith. "We just have to learn how to finish and play a whole game."
In the boys' game, J.J. Kelly shot 22-for-32 at the free throw line as the Indians ambushed Powell Valley 53-49 in overtime.
Matt Dotson led the Indians with 16 points, going 14-for-19 at the charity stripe.
"I try to practice free throws as much as I can. I know that in a big game in a pressure situation we're going to need free throws and I'm going to be on the line," said Dotson, who went 4-of-6 from the line in overtime.
Mobeen Reza scored 14 points for the Indians (7-11, 5-5), nailing four 3-pointers.
Blake Roberts and Devan Sproles added seven points apiece.
"We've been talking about finishing games. We've played everybody in the district, we've played everybody tight," said Kelly coach T.J. McAmis.
"I think (Powell Valley) was ranked second headed into the season and we were next to last. But we've got a hard-working group and we've gone through the intimidation factor."
The Vikings (9-9, 4-6) got 13 points from Cedric Mitchell, an 11-point outing from Thomas Haines and 10 points off the bench from Theo Johnson. Starter Delmas Lawson sat out the game with an ankle injury.
"We didn't come here to play. I could tell from the tip," said Powell Valley coach Zack Moore. "We had to scratch and battle all night and ran out of energy in overtime."