Kearney brought 12 players to the Show-Me Showdown at Hearnes Center. The Bulldogs needed six of them to beat defending state champion Ozark.
"It takes a lot for me to make a substitution," Kearney coach Chuck Minor said.
Four Bulldogs played the entire game as Kearney defeated the Ozark Tigers 83-70 in the Class 4 semifinal on Friday. The only Kearney reserve that played was Trent Kohlstaedt, the team's sixth-man.
Kearney (26-4) advances to play Vashon at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the state championship.
Ozark (26-5) plays Dexter at 10:50 a.m. in the consolation game.
Kearney's David Nurse led all scorers with 27 points on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.
"Some of those are shots I would recommend he not take but he's really confident this time of year," Minor said.
Nurse made his final 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter to put the Bulldogs ahead 60-56. During the quarter the lead changed hands eight times but after Nurse's basket Kearney never trailed, building up a 17-point lead with 1:43 remaining in the game.
Jake Schermer led the Ozark Tigers with 17 points and 10 rebounds but the Bulldogs defense focused on 6-9, 250 pound Sam Singh, a Butler recruit.
Kearney's Jake Massey, a second team All-State tight end who stands 6-3, drew the assignment of guarding Singh who finished with 14 points.
"It's just mano a mano," Massey said. "I've got to do my best to stop him."
Kearney's Tommy Saunders, the Class 4 Defensive Player of the Year in football, scored 17 points.
"I give the football team and our weightlifting program credit all the time for the toughness of our team," Minor said.