The last time Booneville played Hackett the Bearcats had an extended run in which they did not allow the Hornets to score. On Thursday night at the Bill Frye Invitational in Mansfield, the Cats found themselves only on top 19-17 at halftime.

And then the defense came again.

The Cats kept the Hornets off the scoreboard for the first 13:17 of the second half and in the meantime they put up enough offense to pull away to a 40-23 win.

The LadyCats had a promising start against West Fork, but scoring droughts in the second and fourth quarters consigned them to defeat at the hands of the Lady Tigers.

The Bearcats (10-4) played Arkoma in the semifinals last Friday while the LadyCats were involved in a consolation game against Mansfield. Due to an early holiday deadline the rest of Booneville’s tournament story will be in next week’s paper.

Bearcats 40 Hackett 23

With starting point guard Camryn Lawson sitting out the game due to an injury, it was Nate Riley who would run the show and things started well, with Riley feeding Logan Bradley for a layup and then driving for a basket of his own. But the Hornets outscored the Cats 11-2 the rest of the period and led Booneville 11-6 after one. Bradley would score three baskets and Blakley Cobb added another as the Bearcats sought to take control. Cobb then added a three and Bradley scored again to make it 19-13 but Hackett would get the last two baskets of the quarter to draw within 19-17 at halftime.

But then the defensive intensity increased with Cobb and Jacob Gregory getting several steals. Bradley started the quarter with a basket before Riley and Gregory hit back-to-back threes. Mason Weaver then scored twice inside and Cobb ended the period with a three from the wing, giving the Cats a 34-17 lead after three. Layups by Riley and Bradley increased the lead and the defense went the first 5:19 of the quarter holding Hackett off the board until Brady Hester picked off an errant pass and scored. By then, the Cats had established total control and cruised to victory.

Bradley finished with 16 points, with Cobb adding eight; Riley scored seven points and handed out six assists while Weaver had six rebounds and three blocks.

West Fork 51 LadyCats 26

Things started off well as Beth Wilkinson started it with a steal and layup and after a West Fork response, Bailey Denton swished a three-pointer. After WF took the lead, Wilkinson banked in a three from the top of the key and the LadyCats led 8-6. But that would be their last lead as a pair of three-pointers highlighted an 8-2 Lady Tiger run that put them up 15-10 after one. Hannah Gregory scored in the paint and Kasidey Thompson dropped a free throw early in the second quarter, but West Fork’s Brooke Tedford knocked down three bonus shots in the quarter, including one in response to a Shelby Posey triple. The Lady Tigers were up 30-16 at the break.

West Fork pushed the lead to 17 before Gregory got a free throw to go, then grabbed a defensive rebound and went all the way for a layup. Wilkinson then scored inside to cut the lead to 12, but the Lady Tigers scored the last two baskets of the quarter and led 38-22 after three. Posey launched a 15-footer to cut the lead back, but Booneville would only score on two Wilkinson free throws the rest of the game as the Lady Tigers closed on an 11-2 run. Wilkinson led Booneville with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, as the LadyCats were badly outrebounded 35-24.