With a young team such as the Booneville Lady Bearcats are, desire counts a lot. And when execution meets desire, good things will start to happen.

There were signs of that in the second half of last Saturday’s game against Lamar played at Johnson County Westside. After the Lady Cats suffered through a scoreless second quarter, they played probably the best half of basketball they had played all season in the second 16 minutes. Though the final scores of the games do not necessarily reflect it, Coach Jason Wallace sees improvement in each game.

The next chance for improvement comes next Monday when the Lady Cats — and all the Booneville basketball teams — travel to Lavaca.

Elkins 63 Lady Cats 28

The Lady Elks were a Class 3A state semifinalist last season with most of their players returning, and they looked every bit the part. They drew first blood before Logan Lyle scored the Lady Cats’ first basket of the season. However, Booneville would be on the wrong end of a 19-3 run that covered the rest of the period. The Lady Cats would enjoy a small flurry at the beginning of the second quarter, combining an Ashdon Ross basket with free throws by Lyle, Hannah McClung, Selena Guerrero and Alley Vaught to outscore EHS over the first half of the period. But Elkins got rolling again with eight quick points and added a four-point play before Paige Joyce hit from 18 to end the half with the Lady Elks leading 39-17.

Elkins then began the second half on a 15-1 run to erase any lingering doubt. The Lady Cats did not score a field goal in the third quarter, which ended at 61-21. KhyLeigh Cobb had a good fourth quarter, getting a basket, an assist to Morgan Osborne and a blocked shot. Lyle led the Lady Cats with six points, while Vaught pulled down six rebounds.

Mansfield 47 Lady Cats 28

The Lady Tigers scored first but baskets by Kaitlynn Davis and Alley Vaught put BHS ahead. Vaught would score again before the end of the quarter but Mansfield in the meantime scored eight and took a 12-6 lead after one. Selena Guerrero scored a basket and two free throws to put BHS within two but Kaylie Pyles went on a personal 7-2 run and the Lady Tigers led 21-12 at the break.

Baskets by Davis, Alley Vaught and Ashdon Ross combined with a Logan Lyle three-ball kept Booneville in the game as they matched MHS’s point output for most of the third period, but Mansfield scored the last two baskets of the quarter to take a 34-21 lead. Booneville got within eight on Lyle’s second three-pointer and a Davis 10-footer but Erica McKay then launched a three to start a game-ending 13-2 Lady Tiger run.

Davis hit all of her shots, three field goals and two free throws, for a game-high 8 points. Lyle and Vaught added six each, and Morgan Osborne pulled away 13 rebounds.

Lamar 55 Lady Cats 29

Kaitlynn Davis gave Booneville a short-lived lead as Lamar scored the next six points before Booneville’s sophomore post player struck again. The Lady Warriors then went on a 13-2 run before Selena Guerrero’s follow shot ended the first period with LHS up 20-8. The Lady Cats were held off the scoreboard in the second quarter while Lamar added eight points to take a 28-8 lead into halftime.

LHS would add the first four points of the third quarter before two Logan Lyle free throws finally halted the scoring drought. Ashdon Ross then scored Booneville’s next five points and Paige Joyce added a layup off a turnover, but Lamar was in control and led 41-17 after three. Booneville made hay from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter as they hit 10 for 14 from the stripe. Morgan Osborne put in the first three before Holley Maness put in Booneville’s only field goal of the period. She added a free throw and Lyle, Hannah McClung and Joyce each nailed two.

Ross led the Lady Cats with seven points with Lyle, Joyce and Davis getting four each. Davis also led in rebounding with eight. Booneville turned it over 23 times in the first half but cut that number significantly in the second half, to six. In all the Lady Cats hit 13 of 20 free throws.