Perhaps smarting from giving up 35 fourth-quarter points to Mena last Thursday, coach Ronnie Denton’s basketball Bearcats put on a defensive clinic in their two games at Hackett this past week.
They defeated the host team 51-34 in the opener on Monday before dropping Western Yell County 64-29 on Tuesday. Monday’s game was a breakout for Booneville center Logan Bradley, who dominated with 26 points and 6 rebounds.
After a loss to Hackett on Monday the LadyCats got in on the defensive act the next night. They broke out of a 10-10 tie with five minutes left in the second quarter and only allowed Mansfield to score five points the rest of the way in the 37-15 win. That was the third fewest points ever allowed by the LadyCats in a single game and their best defensive effort since 1988, when they allowed just 13 points to Paris. The record is 12, set in a 1980 game against Hartford.
Hackett 42 LadyCats 33
The lid was on the Booneville basket in the first quarter as a Beth Wilkinson three-pointer was all the LadyCats could muster, while Hackett was flying early and led 15-3 after one. Maggie Bell’s three extended the lead before the LadyCats finally found their stroke. Bailey Denton’s putback was followed by two Wilkinson baskets which countered another HHS three-ball. Denton then converted a steal to a layup and Baylee Moses closed the first-half scoring, cutting the LadyCat deficit to 21-13 at halftime.
Hackett took the lead back out to 10 before Booneville made another run. Denton hit from 10 and Hannah Gregory scored twice before Wilkinson converted a three-point play, with only one Lady Hornet basket intervening. That made it 25-22 and an exchange of baskets kept the margin at three entering the fourth quarter. HHS took the advantage back to seven but Moses hauled in a rebound and scored before Wilkinson hit from 18. Kasidey Thompson then took a charge, but was slow to get up and was substituted. The LadyCats couldn’t take advantage of the Hackett turnover and the Lady Hornets stretched the lead to 10 points at the 2:00 mark and went on to the win.
Wilkinson had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead Booneville. Denton added 11, while Moses led in rebounding with nine. The LadyCats only had three free-throw attempts while Hackett shot 23.
Bearcats 51 Hackett 34
Logan Bradley started the game with a three-point play and then hit from just inside the three-point line; Hackett countered both baskets but Booneville outscored the Hornets 7-1 in the rest of the period with Bradley hitting from 15 to make it 12-5 Cats after one. Midway through the second quarter, the lead grew to 21-9 on a Camryn Lawson three and BHS led by 10 at halftime.
Booneville took full control in the third quarter with an early 11-4 run, in which Bradley had seven of the points. This made it 32-17 and Lawson then dropped back-to-back three-pointers, adding a third after Hackett hit two from the line, and the Bearcats led 41-20 after three. A seven-point flurry by Hackett’s Tanner Hamilton cut the lead back to 14, but Bradley started a 6-2 run with a layup and Booneville cruised in from there.
Bradley had a career game with 26 points and six rebounds, with Lawson adding 17 including four three-pointers. Mason Weaver didn’t score but pulled in 10 rebounds, and Nate Riley dished out seven assists.
LadyCats 37 Mansfield 15
Beth Wilkinson and Baylee Moses opened the scoring for the LadyCats; Mansfield almost kept the pace but Moses kept the hot hand, hitting from 15 and from 12 to push BHS to a 9-6 lead after one. Mansfield scored the first two baskets of the second quarter and took a short-lived lead, but a Wilkinson free throw tied it up and two by Shelby Posey put Booneville up for good. The LadyCats continued to be hot from the line as Wilkinson and Hannah Gregory each cashed in both of their free throws, then Wilkinson and Bailey Denton each claimed a steal and layup for a 22-10 BHS lead at the break.
The Booneville run grew to 19-0 over parts of two quarters when Wilkinson, Karlie Campos and Denton scored to make it 28-10. After MHS finally scored again, Wilkinson countered with a layup and Campos cashed in two from the line for a 32-13 lead after three. Mansfield had the first basket of the fourth quarter but would not tally again; Denton hit from 15 and Moses applied the coup de grace with a three-pointer.
Wilkinson had 11 points while Denton and Moses each added nine. Denton also had nine rebounds. Booneville was 10 for 12 from the line in the game, and the number 4 was worn by a Booneville girl’s basketball player for the first time ever when Lindsey Bastion made her LadyCat debut in the fourth quarter.
Bearcats 64 Western Yell 29
The Cats had a 10-2 run to start the game, and it could have been more but for Booneville struggling from the line, hitting four of eight. After a WYC basket cut it to eight, Tyler Hall and Logan Bradley each scored baskets, but the Cats missed three more free throws. WYC scored the last basket of the quarter and Blakley Cobb tried to shoot a three. There was a lot of contact but no foul called, and when Bearcat coach Ronnie Denton came out to encourage Cobb to play through it, the officials hit Denton with a technical. The resulting Gavin Rambo free throws cut the lead to six but Cobb then dropped a three, starting an 8-2 run that made it 22-10. The Wolverines cut it to eight but Cobb scored the next six points for Booneville, who led 30-17 at the break.
WYC made a run at the start of the third quarter to cut the lead to nine but the Bearcats then started rolling with a 23-1 run. Bradley and Camryn Lawson each had six points with Lawson also handing out three assists in the blitz. Cobb also had three baskets and the lead grew to 53-22. WYC scored the last basket of the quarter to temporarily avoid the mercy rule but two Cobb free throws started the running clock. Hall got a layup and threw in a three-pointer as the lead grew to 60-26.
Cobb led Booneville with 20 points, with Bradley adding 10, while Lawson and Hall scored seven each. The Cats shot 54 percent for the game and are at over 51 percent so far this season.