Finding themselves down to Dardanelle by 10 points early in the fourth quarter on Tuesday in the 4-4A district basketball tournament in Subiaco, the Booneville Bearcats engineered a rally. With the help of missed free throws and turnovers by the Sand Lizards, the Cats closed the gap and, with 11 seconds left, found themselves down by a single basket. They got the ball to Adam Haney, who drove and popped from about the same point he had hit three times previously. But this time the shot rimmed out and the Bearcats were left wondering what might have been as the 54-52 loss ended their season at 16-11.

The LadyCats were given no chance by Pottsville to replicate some of the upsets previous Booneville girls’ teams had pulled off. The Lady Apaches scored 21 of the first 22 points and though Booneville played much better the rest of the way, the damage had been done and the season likewise ended for the LadyCats.

Nevertheless, there was a lot accomplished this season. The Bearcats twice beat Charleston, who won their district tournament; claimed a win over Subiaco who was the runner-up in the 4-4A tournament; resoundingly beat Western Yell and Arkoma who are on their way to their respective regionals as well, and played several other quality teams very competitively. The LadyCats established superiority over rival Mansfield by beating them four times and could easily have won a few more games than the five victories they finished with.

Dardanelle 54 Bearcats 52

Booneville took an early 7-4 lead in large part thanks to a Logan Bradley three-point play; Dardanelle came back to briefly lead, but a Tucker Knight basket tied it, then Camryn Lawson’s layup put the Cats up 13-11 before a Demetrius Scott layup tied it after one. Blakley Cobb hit a free throw and Adam Haney dropped one in from 15 for a three-point lead. Later, Haney would bump the lead to five with two free throws before a set-to at midcourt resulted in the Cats’ Josh Scott getting a technical foul. The two free throws hit by Austin Nash were part of an 8-0 Lizard run that gave them a 25-22 lead. But Haney and Cobb each hit a three-point basket to offset Josh Bunting’s bucket, and BHS led 28-27 at the break.

Dardanelle had an 8-2 run to start the third quarter, with Haney getting the only Booneville score. Bunting’s follow shot gave DHS a 35-30 lead; Cobb then hit a three-pointer but the Sand Lizards dropped in the next eight points for 43-33 before Haney could stem the tide with a 12-footer near the end of the period. Landon Bryson made it 45-35 Lizards before the Cats started their rally. Caden Yarborough leaned in and hit from 6 before converting a three-point play for 45-40. Bryson scored twice more and Dardanelle still led by eight, but two Knight baskets halved that deficit.

After Bryson scored yet again, Yarborough fired in two free throws and Nash did the Cats a favor by missing two. Haney put in a 15-footer to make it a one-possession game at 51-49. Demetrius Scott only hit one free throw at the other end but Booneville missed, and Nash was again fouled. He could only convert the front end, and Bradley cashed in three the hard way to put the Cats within one. Nash could only convert the back end of a two-shot situation and Booneville had a chance to tie or win. Haney wound up with the ball and got a good look from 15, but the ball rattled around the hoop before coming out.

Haney led the Cats with 15 points with Yarborough and Cobb contributing nine each. Yarborough finished as the third leading scorer in Bearcat history with 781 points; only Brett Green and TJ Hoover have scored more. He also broke the career records for 3-pointers and steals.

Pottsville 64 LadyCats 28

Skylar Campbell scored half of Pottsville’s opening 14-0 flurry; she would wind up with 15 points. Beth Wilkinson got the LadyCats on the board with a free throw midway of the first quarter, but the Lady Apaches replied by scoring the last seven points of the quarter to lead 21-1 after eight minutes. Booneville came out much better in the second quarter, showing more aggression as Wilkinson took it sraight to the hole for a layup to start it. She would add two more baskets before Bailey Denton banked in a three-pointer high off the backboard. That made it 27-10, but PHS scored the next two baskets. The LadyCats got baskets from Adria Coffer and Wilkinson before the half ended with Pottsville up 39-14.

Wilkinson got things started in the third quarter with two free throws, but PHS canned the next seven points to bump the lead to 30. Coffer got a 12-footer to go and Wilkinson hit twice from 10, but the Lady Apaches had answers for them and they led 55-22 entering the final quarter. Coffer continued her best game of the season, getting two offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and turning each into points with a basket and two free throws. Wilkinson scored the final BHS basket of the season on a putback with two seconds left.

Wilkinson led all scorers with 17, while Coffer established a new career high with eight points. Pottsville would go on to the championship game where they were defeated by Ozark.