With a pair of wins last week, the Bearcat basketball team put themselves in a very good position headed into their 4-3A conference finale, which was played last night at home against Perryville. A win would give the Cats an 8-6 record in the conference, which would enable them to finish as high as third if they got help from other teams.
The LadyCats were hitting on all cylinders last Tuesday, limiting Paris to one point in the first 12 minutes of the game. Booneville opened a 24-1 lead and coasted to a 58-32 win. But the shoe was on the other foot at Two Rivers as the LadyCats were limited to nine first-half points; despite a much better second half Booneville took a 49-38 defeat. A win over Perryville last night or one Fountain Lake loss in their last two conference games would lock the LadyCats into the number 7 seed.
Booneville hosts County Line on Friday for Senior Night, when Bearcat seniors Andrew Mattson and Keaton Canada, and LadyCat seniors Baylee Moses, Shelby Posey and Brittnie Maness, will be honored.
LadyCats 58 Paris 32
Baylee Moses started the game with a three-pointer and would add another later on the way to 10 points in the first quarter. Heaven Sanchez hit a pair from the line and Lindsay Wallace added a basket, while Paris was limited to a single Jadyn Hart free throw in the first quarter. It was 14-1 at that point and there was no letup in the early part of the second period as Shelby Posey dropped a pair of three-bombs, to which Wallace and Sanchez would add baskets for 24-1. Harlie Watts nailed a three for Paris’s first field goal but that was immediately countered by a pair of baskets from Moses. After a Joleigh Tate bucket and a putback from Posey, it was 32-6, and the LadyCats enjoyed a 33-9 halftime lead.
Wallace hit a three-pointer to start the second half as Booneville flirted with a 30-point lead, but Hart hit a basket and two free throws. Posey responded with a pair of bonus shots but saved the best for last, when she fired a rainbow from the corner at the buzzer that tickled the twine for a 45-20 lead after three. Nine of Booneville’s 13 fourth-quarter points came from the line as Booneville nailed nine free throws in a row. Wallace and Moses added baskets to complete the scoring.
Posey finished with 21 points and became the first LadyCat to hit five three-pointers in consecutive games. Moses added 17 to that total and Wallace was 4-for-4 from the field for 9 points while also taking her 25th charge of the season. Booneville shot 53 percent for the night.
Bearcats 56 Paris 34
Blake Jones and Jacob Herrera started the game with three-pointers, but with Nick Bazyk scoring a pair of baskets the Eagles kept within striking distance. But a Mason Goers bonus ball left the Cats with a 13-9 advantage after one quarter. Zac Costa began the second quarter with a putback followed by a steal and layup; Paris got back within two but Herrera made good on a three-point play. That five-point margin stood until Evan Escobedo beat the buzzer with a putback for a 25-18 cushion for the Cats at the break.
Booneville started to blow it open in the third quarter as Andrew Mattson and Herrera each hit a two and a three to counter a single basket by Bazyk. It was 35-20 at that point, and later Mattson and Austin Hill got baskets and Herrera added another three for 45-26. After Mattson’s third three-pointer of the game made it 48-32, the teams emptied their benches and senior Keaton Canada promptly racked up a three-point play for his first points of the season. Then after a Jordan Sanchez bucket, little-used sophomore Austin Goff put the icing on the cake with a corner three-pointer that elicited a rousing response from the fans.
Herrera and Mattson finished with 17 points each, with each hitting three two-pointers, three three-pointers and two free throws. Mattson also added nine rebounds, while Costa added seven rebounds and three steals to his four points.
Two Rivers 49 LadyCats 38
Heaven Sanchez made a layup to counter a Kaitlin Hunnicutt basket at the start of the game, but Hunnicutt and Somer Frost then hit a three and a two each without a LadyCat response for a 12-2 lead after one. It became 20-2 before Booneville was able to respond with a six-point run capped by a Baylee Moses three-ball. But that only made it 20-8, and the Lady Gators went on to a 27-9 halftime lead.
Two Rivers would extend the lead to 20 midway through the third quarter before a Shelby Posey three halted that run. Booneville would take two more points off that lead but still trailed 36-20 after three. A Brooke Turner three-pointer opened the fourth quarter. Later, with the score 43-26, Sanchez scored eight points in a row with two free throws, a three-pointer and a three-point play. This cut the TR lead to 43-34 with three minutes left, but Hunnicutt responded with a three-point play of her own which halted Booneville’s resistance.
Sanchez finished the night with 13 points, with Posey adding nine; Tate scored seven and pulled down 15 rebounds, becoming only the third LadyCat to register 200 or more rebounds for a season as a sophomore. The others were Karen Wilkins and Paula Swint.
Bearcats 77 Two Rivers 62
Austin Hill scored five of Booneville’s first seven points with a three and a layup, but the Cats had trouble shaking the Gators as a Jack Coates three-point play made it 10-9. Later, a Coates three tied the game at 14; Evan Escobedo and Andrew Mattson scored inside but a pair of Two Rivers free throws tied it up at 18 after one. Jacob Herrera and Mattson opened the second quarter with baskets and after Mason Goers and Mattson hit threes and Herrera got a layup, it was 31-24. But the stubborn Gators kept coming, hitting several difficult shots in the lane, and Coates racked up seven in a row to tie it at 35. Mattson responded with four free throws before yet another Coates basket gave him 18 points for the half and drew Two Rivers within 39-37.
Booneville tried to pull away again as a Blake Jones three made it 46-41 but once again TR rallied to tie it up before Zac Costa got a three-point play. A Herrera layup made it 56-52 but Coates scored on a putback and Myles Anderson hit a pair of free throws to once again knot the score at 56 heading to the fourth quarter. Goers, Jones and Mattson each scored inside and after an Anderson bucket, he fouled Mattson while the latter was driving for a layup. He was also slapped with a technical and Mattson converted two of the three free throws for 66-58. Booneville then set about finally putting away the Gators, as they outscored Two Rivers 11-4 the rest of the way with seven of those points coming on free throws.
Mattson set a career high with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Herrera also had a double-double of 20 points and 10 boards. Goers also was in double figures with 10 as he did not miss a shot in the game. Mattson also dealt out four assists and Booneville outrebounded Two Rivers 38-26.