Johnson, Sanchez have career highs as Bearcats beat Danville

Chuck Hayes
Jordan Sanchez (23) looks to post up against the Danville defense during last Tuesday night’s game. The senior scored a career high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Bearcats rolled to a 77–41 victory.

Booneville sophomore C.J. Johnson already had several games in which he played an integral part, but last Tuesday against Danville he had a breakout game.

Johnson scored a career-best 21 points, including hitting five out of six from the three-point line, and handed out five assists in a runaway 77-41 win over Danville.

Austin Hill knocked down six threes for his 18 points and Jordan Sanchez also had a career high, chipping in with 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Cats (13-4, 7-4 conference) were coming off a disappointing loss to Charleston in which they had a four-point lead with three minutes to play, but then suffered some costly turnovers.

In their only action of the week, the LadyCats were hit with a 10-0 Lady Tiger run after having pulled within three points early in the third quarter. The subsequent 49-32 loss dropped their record to 9-8 and 4-6 in conference play. Their scheduled game with Danville last Tuesday was postponed until the following Monday due to COVID-19 concerns at Danville.

Senior night will take place tomorrow at Bearcat Gym, when the Bearcats and LadyCats host Paris in what could be a critical game for positioning for all teams involved. A Paris sweep of Charleston last Tuesday put a lot of variables in motion for Thursday night’s game.

The district tournament will begin on Saturday. It was to have been held at Cedarville, but due to COVID-19 regulations, instead will take place on home courts of higher seeded teams. At this writing, the Bearcats have a chance to finish as high as second if scores go their way, but are more likely to finish third or fourth. The LadyCats could finish anywhere from fourth to sixth with fifth the most likely scenario.

Bearcats 77, Danville 41

Jordan Sanchez scored the first three baskets for Booneville, but Terrell Macon fought back for the Little Johns with two twos and a three for a four-point Danville lead. After the teams swapped baskets, C.J. Johnson dropped in a pair of free throws and then Austin Hill rattled home a bonus ball at the buzzer for a 13-10 lead. Macon put Danville back ahead with two baskets, but a Johnson three-pointer sent the Cats ahead for good. Sanchez added three more baskets for a 23-14 lead; Danville pulled within five but Hill fired in another three-ball and after the Little Johns got back within four later, Johnson hit again from beyond the arc and then Hill banked in a three at the buzzer for a 35-25 lead.

The Bearcats removed all doubt early in the third quarter by scoring the first 10 points. Johnson started it with a three-pointer and then hit from 15, then Hill hit again from bonus land and Jacob Herrera put in a 12-foot floater for 45-25. Danville scored the next five but Brooks Herrera had an answer for that by scoring the next three. Blake Jones hit his only three of the night and Sanchez followed with a layup for a 53-34 lead after three. Johnson and Hill each hit two three-pointers early in the fourth quarter; that, combined with two Sanchez free throws, initiated the sportsmanship rule with a 67-37 BHS lead. Austin Goff scored six points in the waning minutes and Raiden Ferguson added a steal and a dipsey-doodle layup.

Johnson was 5-for-6 from three-point land and scored 21 while also handing out five assists. Hill knocked down six threes for all of his 18 points and Sanchez was 7-for-10 from the field and scored a career high 16. While Jacob Herrera only scored two points, he was a big contributor nonetheless with 13 rebounds and four assists, while Jones dealt out seven assists as well.

Charleston 49, LadyCats 32

Joleigh Tate knocked down a three to open the scoring and would also have one later in the quarter, and a Heaven Sanchez putback gave BHS a 10-6 lead. But Gracie Koch hit a three-pointer to end of the quarter and she was just getting started. The Charleston junior converted a three-point play to start the second quarter and added a free throw for 13-10. Karmen Kent and Hayley Roberts followed with baskets inside, but then the Lady Tigers scored the next eight before Sanchez could answer. Her layup narrowed the Charleston lead to 23-16 at halftime.

Kent and Leigh Swint looked to get Booneville going in the third quarter, narrowing the deficit to three, but Koch knocked down a pair of threes in a 10-0 Charleston run that put them up 33-20. The LadyCats could only manage four free throws the rest of the quarter and Charleston put in three baskets make it 39-24 with one quarter to go. They removed all doubts early in the final period as Rylee Ross and Brooke Groen each hit a three to make it 47-25. Swint answered with a three of her own, but it was too little and too late. Kent led Booneville with nine points, while Koch scored 21 for Charleston.

Charleston 59, Bearcats 56

An Austin Hill three narrowed an early Tiger lead to one point but Charleston, with Brandon Scott leading the way, racked up the next seven points before Hill fired in another bonus ball. Blake Jones followed with a layup and after Trenton Goodson hit a three, C.J. Johnson replied and cut the lead to three points. Johnson also started the second quarter with a triple to tie the score, and two Charleston baskets were answered by Jordan Sanchez. Hill hit a three to put BHS in front and after Goodson replied, Jones buried a triple for 30-29. But Scott had the last answer, hitting from three-point land to give Charleston a 32-30 lead after a half.

Hill hit again from 3-land early in the third, but the Tigers subsequently took a five point lead. Herrera and Evan Escobedo, though, he scored a basket and took a charge as BHS pulled within one. Scott hit a two and a three to extend the lead but Mason Goers made it a four-point game going to the final quarter. Scott scored the first basket of that frame but then the Bearcats racked up the next 10. Escobedo started it with a pair of layups, then Herrera converted a steal into a layup. Jones then intercepted a pass and fed Johnson for an easy basket, following that with two free throws, and the Cats led 51-47 with 3:02 left. But after a Charleston timeout, they responded with Goodson hitting a three and a pair of free throws as the Tigers retook the advantage. Brevyn Ketter added two from the line for 54-51 before Herrera scored on a layup. Scott, however, followed that with two free throws and after Herrera was long on a floater, Charleston scored the next five before Jones beat the final buzzer with a three-pointer.

Johnson and Hill scored 12 each for Booneville with Jones adding 10. Jones also led in rebounds with eight and added three assists.

Franklin leads junior girls to win over Charleston; boys beat Danville

Booneville’s Macolen Tillery (24) takes a jump shot against Danville last Tuesday. Tillery was fouled on the play.  He scored 11 points to help Booneville defeat Danville 39-27 last Tuesday.

The Booneville junior girls had their best effort of the season on Jan. 29 in Booneville. Facing a Charleston team that had beaten them the night before, the Junior LadyCats allowed only six points in the middle two quarters and with Lexi Franklin coming up clutch from the line, took home a 36-26 win.

Franklin filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals, and was 6-for-8 from the line. The team only turned the ball over 7 times.

The boys, after losing to Charleston, turned a tight game with Danville into a comfortable win last Tuesday. Macolen Tillery set a season high in scoring as the Junior Bearcats won 39-27.

Junior LadyCats 36 Charleston 26 (Jan. 29)

Booneville started strongly with Angie Brown opening the scoring with a three-pointer; the eighth-grader followed that with an 8-footer before Ryleigh Love converted a three-point play for an 8-5 lead. But Charleston scored the last nine points of the quarter to lead 14-8. Booneville cut it to one early in the second quarter when Lexi Franklin dropped a three-ball, but the Lady Tigers replied. Love scored on a putback late in the quarter to bring Booneville within 17-15.

The defense continued to be solid for the Junior LadyCats in the third quarter, allowing a solitary three-pointer. Meanwhile, Linley Garrett fired in a pair of threes with Franklin and Love also scoring, and BJH led 25-20 after three. Charleston got within four midway of the fourth quarter but then had to foul, and Franklin was equal to the task, hitting 6 of 8 from the line in the last two minutes.

In addition to Franklin’s 13 points, Garrett and Love added eight each and Brown seven, while Roni Tillery played very good defense. The Junior LadyCats did not substitute at all in the game.

Junior Bearcats 39, Danville 27

There was to be no dunk by Dax Goff as there had been at Danville; in fact Booneville got off to a slow start as Danville grabbed an early five-point lead. A Goff layup reduced the lead to three after one period, and then Macolen Tillery scored three times in a row to offset a Weston Blankenship three and tie it at 11. After Danville scored again Colter Fisher’s six-footer knotted the score at 13 at the break.

Goff put BJH ahead to stay with a three-pointer to start the third quarter. The teams then traded baskets a couple of times until Tillery again got loose for a layup for 22-17. Goff’s 10-footer and a Tillery free throw made it 25-19 before Blankenship converted a three-point play to get the Little Johns back within three with a quarter remaining. Goff hit from 15, and then Fisher took a charge which elicited a reaction from the Danville bench, resulting in a technical foul. Goff hit one of the free throws and then Fisher knocked down a three pointer for 31-22. The Junior Bearcats then converted six-of-eight free throws to ensure the win.

Fisher led with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists; Goff added 12 points and 9 rebounds with Tillery scoring 11.

Charleston 34, Junior LadyCats 29 (Jan. 28)

Charleston stormed to a 13-3 lead early on before Ryleigh Love scored a pair of baskets to narrow the Lady Tiger lead to six after one quarter. After a series of turnovers by both sides, Lexi Franklin got BJH within 15-10, but CJH outscored Booneville 8-2 the rest of the period and led 23-12 at the half.

Franklin put the Junior LadyCats on her back in the third-quarter, scoring all nine of the team’s points. But even then, Booneville made little headway, chopping only one point off the Charleston lead after three quarters. BJH clamped on the defense in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t score themselves until Angie Brown picked off a pass and went in for a layup. Following a Charleston basket, Linley Garrett scored, and then a miss at the other end was followed by Roni Tillery scoring her first three-pointer of the season off the glass. She was also fouled on the play and converted the free throw. Booneville then had to foul and was rewarded when Charleston missed at the line; however the Junior LadyCats couldn’t capitalize. Franklin led BJH with 13 points.

Charleston 36, Junior Bearcats 25

An early three-point play by Dax Goff put Booneville ahead 5-4, and later Noah Stewart hit a three for an 8-5 lead. The score was tied at 9 after one quarter but Jace Washburn gave Booneville the lead with a three. However, the Tigers went back in front by scoring the next five points before Goff narrowed it to 15-14 at the break.

Booneville retook the lead early in the third quarter with Jonah Nguyen and Goff getting the baskets for an 18-17 lead. Charleston scored the next six before Stewart buried a three to make it 23-21. The Tigers scored the last basket of the third-quarter and then Booneville struggled to score in the fourth period, as they had in their previous game against Charleston. Meanwhile, the Tigers put it out of reach by scoring nine points in a row to take a 13-point lead. Washburn and Fisher each scored off steals late. Goff had seven points with Fisher and Stewart adding six each.