Booneville faced an inconsistent but dangerous Two Rivers team on Dec. 20, but when the Gators’ two top scorers both got into first-half foul trouble, the Bearcats took full advantage.
The Cats racked up 22 points in each of the first two quarters and were able to cruise in the second half as they had opened a 25-point lead at the break. The final was 70-49 as the Bearcats moved to 6-5, 2-2 in the conference.
The LadyCats also established a good lead at the break behind 20 points from Baylee Moses, but the second half was not kind to them as once again a short bench played a factor. Two Rivers rallied to take a 46-40 win which left Booneville at 4-8, 0-4.
The teams finished up play at the Bill Frye Classic on Monday. The tournament stories will be in the next week’s paper because of an early holiday deadline. After the tournament, their next game will be on Jan. 7 at Jessieville.
Bearcats 70 Two Rivers 49
The Gators got an early lead but three different Bearcats helped erase that. Jacob Herrera scored twice and Mason Goers and Zac Costa added baskets for a 10-4 lead. Myles Anderson, who had eight in the quarter, narrowed the gap but meanwhile the Gators’ leading scorer Jack Coates had to hit the bench with three fouls, the last being a technical. Booneville took advantage with a 10-2 run with Herrera scoring four of those points. Blake Jones and Austin Hill each hit two free throws with Andrew Mattson also adding a basket. With the score 20-8, Anderson scored with seven seconds left but that was enough time for Mattson to launch a three that missed, but Hill got the running follow shot to go at the horn. Jones opened the second quarter with a three and Costa followed with a steal and layup. Anderson then hit two free throws but soon picked up his third foul as well and the Cats struck with 15-2 run. Evan Escobedo had all eight of his points in that blitz and Booneville went on to lead 44-19 at the break.
With their two big scorers back in, Two Rivers made a run at the start of the third quarter. Coates hit two threes and the Gators drew within 19, but Herrera and Mattson had four points each in a 10-0 run that stretched the lead to 58-29. With the help of another three by Jones, it became 63-35 after three and Herrera scored twice in short order to put the mercy rule in effect with a 32-point lead. The Gators made it look a bit more respectable playing against Booneville’s reserves in the last few minutes.
Herrera led Booneville with 19 points while Mattson got a double-double, 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jones did not miss a shot in scoring 12 points.
Two Rivers 48 LadyCats 42
Baylee Moses and the Lady Gators’ Kaitlin Hunnicutt traded points early before Heaven Sanchez got a layup and Moses added a free throw and three-pointer for a 10-4 lead. The Lady Gators got a basket back at the end of the period and another to start the second quarter but Moses and Brooke Turner responded with back-to-back threes for 16-8. Moses then scored the next nine LadyCat points, including two more threes, as Booneville took a 25-15 lead into the locker room.
However, the Lady Gators went on a 15-2 run to start the third quarter. With Hunnicutt stifled by Moses, Somer Frost took up the offensive slack for Two Rivers, scoring 13 in the quarter. Two Rivers took a 30-27 lead before Turner tied it up with a three and after Frost scored Moses fired in her fifth three of the game. But Frost would score the last four points, with her steal and layup putting TR on top 36-33 after three. A basket by turner and yet another Moses three-ball responded to three Lady Gator points and got BHS within 39-38. Two Rivers stretched it to four but a Lindsay Wallace putback and another by Sanchez knotted the score again. But missed free throws haunted Booneville down the stretch; Moses missed a pair that would have given the LadyCats the lead and Two Rivers scored the last six points of the game.
Moses finished with 26 points, including six threes to tie the school record that was first set by Hannah Gregory last season and tied by Shelby Posey against Western Yell earlier this season. Turner added eight points but no one else had more than four. In addition to burning up the nets from long range, Moses limited Hunnicutt to 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting and the talented Lady Gator senior had no assists.