Face Jonesboro Westside at 5:30 Wednesday.

In order to keep their chances to go to the state tournament alive, the Booneville Bearcats had to find a basket with less than four seconds left and down by two points against Shiloh Christian last Wednesday.

They found a way, as Camryn Lawson found a wide-open Mason Weaver for the basket to force overtime, and then the Cats survived some missed free throws with good defense and punched their ticket to the state tournament with a 58-57 win. It was also Booneville’s 20th win of the season, the first time a BHS senior boys’ basketball team has reached 20 wins.

After a loss to eventual region champion Pottsville, Booneville found themselves in another tight game in the third-place matchup with Pea Ridge and in almost exactly the same position, down two with 3.9 seconds left. But this time they couldn’t cash in and the Blackhawks escaped.

The Bearcats will play Jonesboro Westside in the first round of the state tournament today in Brookland, just outside of Jonesboro. The Cats will need to slow down a Warrior team that averages 72.4 points per game and specifically guard Avery Felts who checks in at 29 ppg. It will also be a virtual home game for Westside. But the Cats allow only about 45 points per game and they will need a good defensive effort. The winner takes on South champion Bauxite tomorrow.

Bearcats 58 Shiloh Christian 57 (OT)

Logan Bradley scored the first two Booneville baskets but Shiloh got two three-pointers from Seth Turpin as part of an 11-2 run that put the Saints up 11-4. Booneville pulled within one as Blakley Cobb hit a pair of three-pointers but SC came back with two of their own for 19-12. Jacob Gregory then swished two bonus shots, getting BHS within one, but Reagan Neal’s three left Shiloh ahead 22-18 after one. They boosted their lead to nine early in the second quarter before Nate Riley got a basket and Chandler Fritsche converted a three-point play to get BHS within three.

Shiloh took it back out to eight, but the Cats closed with a 12-2 run. Gregory started it with a layup before Camryn Lawson dropped a three-pointer. After a Shiloh basket Bradley hit two from the line, then Cobb dropped a three to tie the game and then beat the buzzer with a layup for a 36-34 Bearcat lead at the break.

In a slower-paced third quarter, Booneville only got a Bradley layup in the first four minutes and the Saints retook the lead. John Morrison’s layup put SC up 39-38, but the Cats scored the next six with a basket each by Mason Weaver, Bradley and Cobb to make it 44-39 before Seth Rosenfeld hit a three to pull Shiloh within two after three. Riley hit a 15-footer to start the fourth quarter, but Shiloh took the lead after Jack Hutchinson hit a layup and Rosenfeld dropped another three. The teams traded free throws before Cobb hit from six, but Gregory Bryant converted a three-point play and Hutchinson dropped two free throws for 53-49.

Cobb then buried a three-pointer with less than a minute left and the Cats got a 10-second count on Shiloh, but Cobb then missed and Hutchinson was fouled. He got only the first one to go, leaving Booneville time and opportunity and Lawson, on the left sideline, found Weaver alone on the right block for the tying layup.

Weaver was fouled to start the overtime and hit both shots and then Shiloh could not cash in on a Booneville foul. But Bradley also missed two free throws and Hutchinson tied it at 56. Bradley’s layup made it 58-56 and then Hutchinson again missed a chance to tie the score, hitting only one free throw. Riley and Weaver both missed the front halves of one-and-one opportunities, leaving the Saints a small window to win the game, but a Turpin three fell well short.

Cobb hit for 18 points, with Bradley scoring 16 and getting 13 rebounds. Weaver scored six points but had the two biggest of the game, and the Cats got some good minutes from Tyler Hall on the defensive side. The 20 wins surpassed the 1982-83 record of 19.

Pottsville 52 Bearcats 30

Wesley Heikes, as he had done last week, started hot for the Apaches with two baskets but Logan Bradley responded with two free throws and an 8-footer. But Landon Reed hit a pair of threes to offset a Nate Riley basket; a Bradley layup got Booneville within two but Samuel Dunlap put the Apaches ahead 12-8 after one. Pottsville then held the Cats to four second-quarter points, on baskets by Blakley Cobb and Chandler Fritsche, while Reed opened the PHS scoring in the second quarter with another three-ball. This started an 11-2 run, and Pottsville led 23-12 at halftime.

Another Reed three started the third quarter, one in which Bradley scored all eight of the BHS points. The Apaches led by as many as 16, but Bradley converted a three-point play at the end of the period to make it 33-20. But PHS put it away in the fourth quarter as Heikes scored inside and Reed buried his fifth three-pointer of the game. Jacob Chisum also scored before the Cats were able to reply with a Brandon Bradley three. However, the Apaches continued to pour it on and took as much as a 23-point lead. Logan Bradley led Booneville with 14 points, but Cobb had an off night, shooting only 2-for-12 from the field with no threes.

Pea Ridge 42 Bearcats 40

Nate Riley got the Bearcats off to a flying start with a steal and layup, and the Cats would hold the lead throughout the first quarter. Camryn Lawson scored the next Booneville basket and after a Blackhawk free throw, Blakley Cobb scored twice and the Cats led 8-5 before Nick Coble hit one from the baseline to pull PR within one. Cobb opened the second quarter with a three-pointer and then Mason Weaver surprised the Blackhawks with a bonus ball—his first three-point attempt of the season—to make it 14-7. But a Coble three started a rally that pulled Pea Ridge within one. After a Logan Bradley free throw, Wes Wales and Coble both hit baskets for a Pea Ridge lead, but Cobb buried a three and PR missed just before halftime, and the Cats led 18-17.

Coble’s three-pointer started a 9-1 run that gave Pea Ridge a 26-19 lead midway through the third quarter and the Blackhawks later stretched it to eight on threes by Kobe Rose and Carson Rhine. But Cobb got two free throws to go and Lawson hit a three late in the quarter to pull the Cats within 29-26. After a Pea Ridge free throw, Booneville scored the next six points and retook the lead on a Cobb three-pointer. Mikey Mahoney found his way inside for a basket, but Bradley responded with a three out of the corner.

After a Mahoney basket and a Mason Weaver free throw, Rose buried another three and the Blackhawks had the lead. Bradley’s 6-footer put BHS up 38-37 but Rose threw in another bonus ball for 40-38. Bradley tied it at 40 but the Cats fouled Hayden Holtgrewe, who nailed both free throws. Booneville got it to halfcourt and called three time outs to set up the play, but a Bradley three was off the mark.

Cobb tallied 19 points to lead the Cats but this time it was Bradley who was a bit off; while he scored nine points, he was only 3-for-10 from the field. The Cats did take good care of the ball, committing only six turnovers. The statistics were nearly dead even with each team hitting six three-pointers and six free throws, but the Blackhawks had one more field goal which turned out to be the difference.