The Booneville junior girls are carrying a lot of momentum into this week’s district tournament in Dardanelle. They took an easy win over Mansfield and a rather harder triumph over Waldron to get an advantageous position in the bracket.
With West Fork not participating in the tournament, the district was divided into North and South divisions. The Jr. LadyCats (8-10, 5-6 combined conference) finished second behind Ozark in the South division and played North 3-seed Dardanelle, winners of just two games in the regular season. A win will put Booneville into the semifinals against Dover on Thursday.
The boys’ team had two losses in the week, and they faced Ozark in the first round of district.
Booneville 36 Mansfield 22 (girls)
The Jr. LadyCats turned on the defense in the first half, not allowing Mansfield a field goal until three seconds remained in the half. Baylee Moses and Jadyn Hart started the onslaught with layups, and Hannah Gregory dropped a three-pointer as BJH went on to a 10-1 lead after one quarter. Brittnie Maness scored the first four points of the second quarter before Moses added a layup and Shelby Posey made two from the line. Baskets by Hart and Gregory made it 22-2 before the Lady Tigers hit a runner in the lane to end the half.
Maness again made the first four points of a quarter, this time the third, and Gregory fired home a 15-footer to make it 28-4 before MJH hit a three-pointer. Moses countered that with a three-point play, and Booneville led 31-9 after three. Mansfield scored the first three baskets of the fourth quarter, but Gregory hit two free throws, Jessica Parrish added a basket, and the scoring was closed out with a free throw by Margie Jeffcoat, her first point of the season. Gregory led Booneville with nine points with Maness adding eight.
Mansfield 58 Booneville 35 (boys)
Despite Kaedon Trejo beating a buzzer twice with three-pointers, the Tigers used a 19-point fourth quarter to ease to the win. Booneville took the lead after Mansfield had scored the first basket on baskets by Kaleb Rhodes and Jacob Herrera but Mansfield hit three bonus balls in the quarter and also converted a three-point play, pushing them to a 14-10 lead after one quarter. The Tigers also racked up the first three baskets of the second period before Trejo went on a tear. He started the run with a three-pointer, hit two free throws and a mid-range shot. After another Tiger three-ball, Trejo beat the press for a layup, then made himself some room and sank a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to cut the Tiger lead to 23-22.
But Mansfield outscored Booneville 9-1 over the first three minutes of the third quarter; Rhodes hit two free throws and Trejo hit from six to cut it to five but Mansfield scored the next seven, including two Ethan Stovall threes. But Trejo buried a 30-footer at the third-quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 39-30. A three-point play and a Stovall steal and layup—he finished with 20 points—made it 44-30. Trejo had one more three-pointer, but Mansfield outscored Booneville 14-2 over the remainder of the game.
Trejo scored a career-high 24 points, half of them on three-pointers. In the loss, the Jr. Cats also lost the services of Rhodes for the rest of the season with a broken elbow.
Booneville 35 Waldron 31 (girls)
It was a tight game throughout, but the Jr. LadyCats showed perseverance and were able to grab the win. The teams traded baskets and three-point plays and so the score was tied at 5 until Jadyn Hart buried a three-pointer late in the period for an 8-5 Booneville lead. They stretched it to seven early in the second quarter on a Hart layup, but Waldron chopped the lead back to four. BJH took it back to six twice, but the Lady Bulldogs cut it to 18-16 at halftime.
Waldron tied it early in the third quarter but Hart bagged another three, and the lead alternated between one and three until Waldron scored twice to take their only lead at 26-25. But Booneville replied with two free throws and a basket by Hart and a Hannah Gregory 15-footer. Booneville led 31-28 after three and stretched it out to seven early in the fourth quarter on two Gregory free throws and a Baylee Moses runner. Booneville would not score again, but their defense was enough to hold off the Lady Bulldogs, who did not score a field goal in the period.
Hart scored 14 points and Gregory added 11 for Booneville, and an excellent performance was also turned in by Jaden Lowe. She scored only two points, but grabbed several important rebounds and came up with three blocked shots in relief of Brittnie Maness who fouled out early in the third quarter.
Waldron 61 Booneville 26 (boys)
Kaedon Trejo kept Booneville close early by scoring twice to counter a three and two by Waldron’s Payton Brown, but the Bulldogs scored the next 12 points to take charge. Trejo scored aother basket and Gavin Kent also got one to go, but Waldron, with Brown getting 12 of the points, led 22-8 after one. The Jr. Cats went without a field goal in the second quarter, only getting three free throws by Jacob Herrera and one from Josh Brackett. Waldron led 34-12 at the break.
The Dogs put it away with the first 11 points of the third quarter. By the time Herrera hit a three, Waldron had taken a 45-12 lead. Brackett added another bonus ball but Brown still was not done, dropping two more threes for a total of 29 points before the Bulldog starters were pulled. It was 55-20 after three. Brennan Burtrom dropped a three-pointer and Brackett nailed three from the line after being fouled in the fourth quarter. Brackett and Herrera led Booneville with seven points each.