The boys’ championship game between Booneville and Waldron at the Bearcat Hoops Classic on Saturday started out slow.

But the finish was worth it.

With the score tied late, Blakley Cobb delivered a clutch three-point play and then blocked a potential tying three by the Bulldogs, and the Cats successfully defended their championship with a 55-51 win.

The championship came after Booneville (6-1) had lopsided wins over Hector and Cossatot River earlier in the week.

The LadyCats’ stay in the tournament was shorter after losing a heartbreaker to Hector on Tuesday, but they came back in the consolation game the next day as Baylee Moses scored 21 points and Kasidey Thompson had a very good all-around game as the LadyCats (2-4) beat Western Yell County.

Danville won the girls’ portion of the tournament, defeating Cossatot River 44-37 in the championship game.

Booneville hosts Fountain Lake on Friday night, the first time the Bearcats and Cobras will have faced each other on the basketball floor.

Hector 43 LadyCats 41

The teams both got off to slow starts, but three of four from the line for Hannah Gregory put Booneville ahead and Baylee Moses added a layup as the LadyCats led 8-7 after one. However, the Lady Wildcats scored the first nine points of the second period, five by Evelyn Riley, and a three put the visitors up 19-10. Shelby Posey hit from eight and a Gregory steal and layup got BHS within 20-14 at the break.

The LadyCats quickly closed it to one with two Gregory free throws and a Moses three-ball, but a second Courtney Barnett three started a 7-3 run, leaving the Lady Wildcats ahead 30-24, and they maintained that lead at 32-26 going to the fourth quarter. The lead became 10 before Booneville fought back, starting with a three from Brittnie Maness. Posey drove for a layup, then Moses was fouled and hit both shots to make it 39-37. Alyssa Gilliland dropped a pair from the line which was answered by Moses and then BHS forced a turnover. Posey drove the lane, appeared to be fouled but no call was made and her shot was short. Riley then scored on a breakaway for 43-39, but Moses once again dropped two from the line with eight seconds left. However, Booneville was unable to get to a Hector player for a foul.

Gregory scored 15 to lead Booneville with Moses adding 14, with 12 of Moses’ points coming in the second half. Booneville continued their good free throw shooting, hitting 10 of 14.

Bearcats 59 Hector 21

Booneville scored the first 12 points of the game in short order, as Blakley Cobb and Grant Goers each converted a three-point play, with Cobb adding another basket and Logan Bradley two. After Hector finally scored Bradley hit from 15 and Nate Riley made it 16-2. Camryn Lawson hit a three and Cobb closed the period with another three-point play for a 24-7 lead after one. Hector scored first in the second quarter but then a Bradley putback was followed by a dunk from Cobb, a Riley layup, and Jacob Herrera’s three-ball to make it 33-9. Another Riley basket made it 33-12 at halftime.

Cobb’s three-pointer countered one by the Wildcats to start the second half, and Booneville then made a 16-2 run the rest of the quarter. Mason Weaver scored his first basket of the season after having to sit out the first four games, and Blake Jones followed with a 15-footer. Two Keaton Canada layups ended the third period as BHS led 54-19, and the junior tacked on a three to complete his tally for the night. Andrew Matteson’s layup completed the Bearcat scoring.

Cobb led the Cats with 13 points and seven rebounds, with Bradley adding 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Weaver also blocked three shots as eleven different players scored.

LadyCats 59 Western Yell 50

The LadyCats started sluggishly, as Western Yell took the early lead before Hannah Gregory evened matters with two free throws and a three-ball. Brittnie Maness’ basket put Booneville up and Shelby Posey added to the lead, but WYC fought back to tie it up at 9 after one quarter. After the teams traded baskets Booneville hit the Lady Wolverines with a 10-2 run, with Posey and Kasidey Thompson each hitting three-pointers in the run. Booneville would add three more bonus balls in the quarter, two from Allison Michael and the third by Thompson, and two Baylee Moses free throws made it 33-27 at halftime.

Another slow start by the LadyCats in the third quarter meant that Western Yell would take the lead at 34-33 before Posey finally got BHS started with a three-ball. Gregory then followed with a steal and layup, and then Moses got going. She scored the next 13 Booneville points, with four free throws, three two-point baskets and a three, and Booneville led 51-40 after three. Western Yell pulled within four after five Andrea Balbuena points and a Kenia Gomez basket, but Thompson hit two free throws and then fed Moses for a layup for 55-47. WYC got within 55-50, but off a press, Moses found the entire left side of the floor unguarded and laid the ball in, and hit two more from the line for good measure.

Moses scored 19 points in the last 12 minutes, finishing with 21, and grabbed eight rebounds. Posey added 10 points, and Thompson racked up eight points, six rebounds and eight assists. Booneville was once again stellar from the line as they nailed 13 of 15, completing a week in which they hit 78% from the stripe. Moses was named all-tournament for the second year in a row.

Bearcats 78 Cossatot River 24

The Cats put on a tour de force on defense, not allowing a field goal in the first quarter. A large part of that was because Logan Bradley was cleaning house inside, swatting away seven Eagle shots in the first quarter alone. He, Blakley Cobb, Nate Riley and Mason Weaver spread the scoring out with four points each, and Camryn Lawson added a three-pointer as Booneville led 19-3 after one quarter. Riley would get a steal and layup and two free throws and Cobb put in two more layups before Cossatot got their first field goal, a three-ball from Trenton Rosson. But by then it was 27-7, and Riley added three more baskets before halftime for a 37-9 Booneville lead at the break.

Rosson opened the second half with a bonus shot but then BHS erased all doubt by scoring 19 of the next 22 points. Cobb started it with a three and Bradley scored inside; later Cobb would score five in a row, including a dunk that made it 50-15. The starters left after a Riley layup, but Blake Jones continued the onslaught with a three-pointer, with Tyler Hall and Jacob Herrera adding baskets to put it at 62-20 after three. Rusty Maloy opened the fourth quarter with a layup and Keaton Canada dropped a three, as did Herrera. Austin Hill then scored on two layups, but the loudest cheers came on the next basket, when Cossatot’s Colby Frachiseur drained a three-pointer; the junior has Down syndrome and connected on his second shot of the game, drawing a loud ovation from both sets of fans. Jones ended the scoring with another bonus ball.

Riley and Cobb each scored 16 points for the Cats with Bradley scoring 10 and blocking 10 Cossatot River shots. Grant Goers failed to score but pulled down 8 rebounds. Booneville shot 57% from the field while limiting Cossatot to 13% and the Cats outrebounded the Eagles 45-16; CR did not make a two-point basket, scoring their points on four threes and 12 free throws.

Championship: Bearcats 55 Waldron 51

Both teams started very slowly as there were a lot of shots missed by both teams from point-blank range. Logan Bradley did manage two layups and a free throw as Booneville got an early lead, but Jacob Avila got the next two baskets and the Bulldogs were in front. Bradley dropped two free throws and Nate Riley dropped one in, but Ruben Valdez and Payton Brown each scored to give Waldron a 10-9 advantage after one. Blakley Cobb tied the game with a free throw and Bradley put BHS back in front with a basket; after Brown tied the game, Grant Goers hit a free throw. he missed the second, but got his own rebound, took it back to the outside and found a wide open lane for a dunk. That was the last Booneville field goal of the quarter, but their defense was on as Bradley took a charge from Brown. Riley did get two free throws to go and the Cats led 17-14 at halftime despite only shooting 22% from the field.

Booneville still couldn’t get much to go from the field early in the second quarter, but Camryn Lawson hit two from the line and Cobb another to negate a Mason Ford follow dunk. Lawson then answered a Brown basket with two free throws and Riley picked Brown clean and went in for a layup. Cobb followed with a three and it was 27-18; Brown answered that and Gada Wagner got a basket to cut it to four before Goers hit a three-point shot just before the buzzer to put the Cats up 30-23 after three. Bradley nailed two from the line and Cobb countered a Brown three-point play with a bonus ball, then Lawson canned two free throws for 37-27.

But Waldron was far from finished as Wagner and Brown both dropped three-pointers, and Brown, a UCA commit, added two free throws to draw the Dogs within two. After the teams traded baskets Riley got a layup and Lawson was again 2-for-2 from the line, but later another Wagner three made it 45-44. After Booneville scored teice and Waldron once, Brown tied the game at 49 with a three-pointer. A Cobb basket was answered by Wagner, but then Cobb drove in and made good on a three-point play. He then got down the floor in time to deflect a Wagner three-point shot into the hands of Bradley, who was then fouled and hit a free throw to lock up the championship.

Cobb scored 13 points to lead Booneville and Bradley added 12 to go with nine rebounds and three blocks. Riley also scored 12, but it was Lawson (10 points) who was named tournament MVP after having an outstanding three games passing the ball and scoring where needed; he was 8-for-8 on free throws in the championship game. Riley, Bradley, Goers and Cobb were also named all-tournament. Brown scored 23 for Waldron and Wagner added 10, both of those along with Avila represented the Bulldogs on the all-tournament team.