A recent Tuesday was an unusual night for Booneville basketball, as the senior high teams were playing in two different places.
Due to COVID-19 related concerns surrounding the Danville boys team, the Bearcats picked up a home game against Mulberry while the junior and senior girls teams played at Danville as scheduled.
The Bearcats opened a 10-point halftime lead but by the beginning of the fourth quarter found themselves having to rally again as they had against Magazine. Again, they got the job done, scoring 25 fourth-quarter points to subdue the Yellowjackets 60-51. Booneville remained undefeated with the win at 7-0.
The junior girls (5-4, 1-1), with Lexi Franklin getting a double-double, pulled out of a tight game in the third quarter to win 29-20 while the senior LadyCats (6-4, 1-2) played good enough defense to win most games, but couldn’t get enough shots to go and thus dropped a 32-27 decision.
Bearcats 60, Mulberry 51
Mason Goers had the hot hand early on, as his three-pointer and layup staked the Cats to a 7-2 lead. After Mulberry scored, Booneville racked up the last nine points of the quarter with Goers dropping another three-ball for a 16-4 lead after one. The junior further extended the lead with a put back and CJ Johnson hit from 15 for 20-7. The Yellowjackets cut the advantage to seven but Blake Jones dropped a bonus shot and scored inside to make it 28-16 before Mulberry scored the last basket of the half.
That spurred Mulberry to a great start in the second half, as their scoring duo of Joseph Lewis (19 points) and Dominic Belt (17) lead them on a 15-2 blitz. This put the Yellowjackets in the lead; Jones tied it with a three but Tuff Villines answered right back, and the visitors took a 38-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Jacob Herrera cut into that with a basket but Belt banked in a three-pointer for 41–37. But with the score 44-40, Booneville made the decisive run. Austin Hill bagged two free throws to start it and then he and Jones each hit three pointers to give the Cats the lead for good. Johnson then hit from 10 and Herrera threw in a bonus shot for a seven-point lead. mulberry got back within 54-51 but would not score again has Jones hit another three-ball and then snaked inside for a layup to remove all doubts.
Jones finished with 19 points while Herrera had a double-double, 15 points and 13 rebounds, and also blocked four shots. Goers added 13, while Hill and Johnson dealt out four assists each.I
A Heaven Sanchez layup proved to be the only BHS points of the first quarter, as the Lady Little Johns staked themselves to a 9-2 lead. It could have been more except that Danville failed to hit a free throw in seven attempts in the quarter. After three more misfires from the line by the home team, Booneville began their comeback with a Leigh Swint three-pointer. Joleigh Tate followed with a layup and a putback by Swint tied the game. Tate then answered a Danville basket and, after Swint drew a charge, hit a free throw for a 12-11 lead. Hally Rial answered with two free throws and the hosts led 13-12 at the break.
They expanded the margin to four points before Karmen Kent hit two from the line and a layup to tie the score at 16. Danville scored the next two baskets but Swint canned another three and her layup off a Sanchez steal put BHS on top. A Danville free throw tied it at 21 going to the fourth quarter, which started with Tate scoring inside for a two-point LadyCat lead. But Danville then made an 11-0 run which proved to be decisive. Kent and Layla Byrum each scored late, which might prove important if the LadyCats get involved in a tiebreaker.
Swint tallied 10 points with Tate scoring seven and getting eight rebounds before fouling out. Those two, along with Sanchez, were sent to the bench in the fourth quarter with five fouls; Danville shot 29 free throws to four for Booneville.
Junior LadyCats 29, Danville 20
Baskets by Angie Brown and Linley Garrett put Booneville ahead after Danville had scored the first basket, but the hosts tallied the next seven before Brown cut it to 9-6 after one. BJH only allowed two second quarter points; meanwhile Brown knocked down her first three-pointer of the season and Lexi Franklin hit a free throw before her steal and layup put Booneville up 12-11 at halftime.
Ryleigh Love hit a pair of shots but Danville kept pace until the last part of the third quarter. that was when Franklin took over the game, making three consecutive steals and turning them into seven Junior LadyCat points. This made it 23-16 after three. After a DJH free throw Roni Tillery, who had five assists on the night, found Garrett and Ellie Smith on consecutive possessions to open a 10-point lead. Franklin put the icing on the cake with a layup.
Franklin finished with 12 points and 11 steals, becoming the first Booneville player at any level to have 10 or more steals in two different games in one season. The freshman collected 10 steals in a game against Two Rivers on Dec. 1. Brown added a career high seven points and played excellent defense as well.