Seemingly buried under a barrage of Arkoma three-pointers in the Bill Frye Classic semifinals, the Booneville senior boys fought back. Down by 15 at one point in the third quarter, the Cats took four points off the lead before the end of the period, then nailed four bonus shots in the fourth quarter, including Jacob Gregory’s game-winner with 38 seconds left to advance BHS to the finals with a 50-48 win.
Another Oklahoma team, Vian, awaited in the finals and once again the Bearcats found themselves in a hole, trailing by 13 early in the third quarter. Booneville slowly crept back into the game and had it down to five with plenty of time left, but this time the Cats could not complete the comeback and finished as runners-up.
They returned to Mansfield last Friday for regular-season play and after only leading by two at the break, erupted for 37 second-half points. Nate Riley scored 16 points and Blakley Cobb had all 13 of his in the second half as the Bearcats (12-5, 2-2) won going away, 54-38.
The LadyCats faced Mansfield in the consolation bracket of the Frye Classic as well as in a regular-season game the following Friday, and Beth Wilkinson continued her mastery of the Lady Tigers. In the tournament game Wilkinson had 20 points, 17 rebounds and 5 steals in the 41-33 win, then added 19 points, 14 boards and seven steals in the conference game; she outscored Mansfield by herself as Booneville (6-9, 1-2) won 32-18.
It is a big week upcoming as two rival schools visit Bearcat Gym: Ozark on Friday followed by Paris next Tuesday. In between, the Bearcats travel to Baptist Prep in Little Rock on Saturday, where they will play 8-4A Conference member Dumas in the Martin Luther King Classic.
LadyCats 41 Mansfield 33
Except for a Hannah Gregory three-pointer, all the LadyCat points in the first quarter came from Beth Wilkinson. The senior had 11 points and 8 rebounds in the quarter while going 7-for-7 from the line. She hit four free throws in a row to give Booneville a 14-10 lead after one. But Maggie Strunk led a Mansfield 12-0 run with two three-pointers and a 10-footer, and the Lady Tigers led by eight. But Wilkinson threw in two more free throws, then Baylee Moses did the same before picking Brooklyn Carlton’s pocket and scoring a layup that brought BHS within 22-20 at halftime.
Mansfield got a 6-1 run to start the second half with a Carlton layup making it 28-21. But that would be Mansfield’s last field goal as Booneville used an 11-0 run to take the lead. Bailey Denton started it with a putback, then Gregory fired in a three. Wilkinson tied the game with a 12-footer and then Gregory and Wilkinson had baskets before Mansfield finally broke the run. The LadyCats led 32-30 after three and Wilkinson started the fourth quarter with a steal and pulled up from 15 feet for the score. Moses and Shelby Posey followed with putbacks before Moses got another steal and layup. Mansfield got back within seven, but the last two minutes saw a bevy of missed free throws by both teams before Kasidey Thompson set the final by finally hitting one.
Wilkinson finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and five steals; Moses and Gregory added eight points each and Posey was also in double figures in rebounds with 11. The LadyCats grabbed 48 rebounds for the game.
Bearcats 50 Arkoma 48
The Bearcats started slow and Arkoma went out to an early 7-2 lead with Kobe Ragsdale getting all the Mustangs’ points. Blakley Cobb scored all the Booneville points in the period but Arkoma nailed a trio of three-pointers and led 15-7 after one. Ragsdale dropped two more bonus shots and it became 21-7 before three Bearcat baskets, the last by Logan Bradley, cut the lead to eight. But the Mustangs countered with the last seven with a Ragsdale layup giving AHS a 28-13 lead at the break.
Booneville roared back with the first eight points of the third quarter, including a seven-point possession. Noah Reyes collected a rebound, with an Arkoma player going down in the process, and finished a layup while another Mustang fouled him. The player that went down was nailed with a technical and after Reyes completed the three-point play, Cobb hit both technical free throws and then drove for a layup for 28-21. But Ragsdale, who scored 24 points, fueled another eight-point Mustang run, making it 36-21 before Jacob Gregory put in a three-pointer. Nate Riley dropped a bonus ball at the end of the third quarter to get the Cats within 41-30 after three.
Cobb opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back threes; Ragsdale countered with a four-point play but Gregory threw in another three-ball for 45-39. Cobb’s next three was off the mark but Riley collected the rebound and scored, then Gregory picked Ragsdale’s pocket and scored to tie the game at 45. Ragsdale put in two from the line before Bradley tied the score and after an Arkoma free throw, Gregory fired in his fourth three of the game with 38 seconds left and the Bearcats had their first lead, one they held through a couple of missed shots by the Mustangs late.
Cobb finished with 18 points, with Gregory adding a career-high with 14. Camryn Lawson, coming off an injury, did not score but dished out eight assists.
Vian 50 Bearcats 38
The Wolverines ran out to an 8-1 lead that they soon made 13-5, but the Cats came on late in the period with Chandler Fritsche dropping two free throws and getting a putback before Blakley Cobb narrowed the lead further with two more free throws. BHS had a chance to tie or lead but Jamel Harrison got a steal and layup for a four-point Wolverine lead after one. Vian expanded the lead to nine during the second quarter before a Nate Riley layup, and Riley scored again to get BHS within six before a Wolverine basket gave VHS a 26-18 lead at halftime.Riley opened the third quarter with a layup but Vian scored the next seven points as Iman Harrison scored twice for Vian’s biggest lead at 33-20. The teams swapped baskets before Cobb finished a three-point play and dropped a bonus ball to get BHS within seven, and it was 37-30 after three. The Wolverines made it an 11-point advantage before Booneville came on again. Cobb knocked down another three and Logan Bradley converted a three-point play to make it 41-36. But the Wolverines closed the game on a 9-2 run to take home the championship. Cobb finished with 13 points; Bradley added eight and Fritsche scored all seven of his points in the first quarter. Cobb was praised for good defense on Vian’s leading scorer Javier Ramos who was held to seven points.
LadyCats 32 Mansfield 18
Beth Wilkinson was at it again in the first quarter, scoring eight of the LadyCats’ 10 points. Shelby Posey and Baylee Moses each hit a free throw for the other points and BHS led 10-4 before Maggie Strunk closed the quarter with a three-pointer for MHS. Posey started the second quarter with a three-pointer, then Bailey Denton got a layup and Wilkinson fired in two free throws for 17-7. She would add a free throw and then hit from just inside the three-point line, and Denton then made a steal and layup to give BHS a 22-10 halftime lead.
Mansfield made a little run to start the third quarter and got within eight. Booneville struggled to score, only getting baskets from Hannah Gregory and Wilkinson, and a Rylea Weaver hoop left the score at 26-18 after three. But that was all for the Lady Tigers as Wilkinson hit two from the line to start the fourth quarter; later she drove for the layup and Gregory finished off Mansfield with a steal and layup. Wilkinson ended with 19 points, 14 rebounds and seven steals as the LadyCats robbed Mansfield of the ball 20 times.
Bearcats 54 Mansfield 38
The Cats opened with the first seven points on layups by Nate Riley and Mason Weaver and a Jacob Gregory three; however the Tigers scored the last seven of the quarter with a Layton Howard three tying the score after one period. Booneville got an 8-2 run early in the second quarter with Riley and Gregory ending it with consecutive steals and layups. But the Tigers got another run going, scoring six of the last eight points and getting within 17-15 at the break.
After the teams traded baskets to start the third quarter, Booneville hit the Tigers with a 9-2 blitz; Blakley Cobb—who was scoreless in the first half—and Riley each scored twice with a Riley three making it 28-20. MHS got back within four but Camryn Lawson countered with two threes and Riley added a free throw as the Cats led 35-28 after three. MHS got a free throw to start the fourth quarter, but Cobb fired in consecutive threes to give BHS a 12-point lead. With Booneville up by 10, the Cats finished the game on a 9-3 run to win going away.
Riley had a career-high 16 points and also handed out five assists, while Cobb scored all 13 of his points in the second half and Lawson added 10.