Ladycats on roll, upset conference champions Danville

Chuck Hayes
Hayley Roberts (32) drops off a pass to Karmen Kent for a layup during the Ladycats' game at Waldron last Tuesday. Roberts had nine points, six rebounds and four assists while Kent also had nine points and six rebounds in Booneville’s 60-39 win.

The Booneville Ladycats, over the last three games, have had only seven players available as Brooke Turner and Carah Miller have been sidelined. Further, head coach Tim Goers was not available to coach the Ladycats over the same number of games.

Assistant Coach McKenzie Morris, with help from tennis coach Katelyn Holub, took the reins for those three games and the results couldn’t have been any better. After beating Hackett on Feb. 5, they made up their game with Danville at Bearcat gym the following Monday. The Ladycats scored 34 points in the second half and handed Danville only their second conference loss, 50-39. Later in the week, Danville clinched the conference championship by beating Cossatot River and Cedarville.

The Ladycats (12-8, 7-6 conference) maintained the momentum at Waldron on Feb. 9, outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 19-3 in the fourth quarter to take a 60-39 win.

The Bearcats took a comfortable win over Hackett on Feb. 5, but they could not maintain the momentum in their game at Waldron on Feb. 9. They too had two players unavailable for that game, Mason Goers and C.J. Johnson, and while others tried to pick up the slack, the conference champion Bulldogs came away with a 53-38 triumph. That dropped the Cats to 14-5, 8-5 in conference play.

Booneville's games against Paris which were slated for last Thursday were canceled due to weather and travel concerns and will not be made up. The Ladycats hosted a district tournament game on Saturday.

The Bearcats, at the time of this writing, could be either the third or fourth seed and they were slated to host a tournament game Tuesday, Feb. 16, with the winner advancing to regionals next week in Bergman. The weather is a concern with snow in the forecast and may delay any or all of those games.

Ladycats 49 Hackett 18

Hayley Roberts scored the opening four points of the game and after Hackett hit a free throw, Karmen Kent converted a three-point play and Heaven Sanchez added a basket before Layla Byrum canned a three from the top of the key as Booneville led 12-5 after one. Hackett closed within four early in the second quarter, but a Kent layup started a 15-1 run. Roberts had three baskets in that blitz and Leigh Swint buried a three-pointer as the Ladycats led 29-11 at the break.

Kent and Swint each hit two free throws to start the third quarter; in fact, all the LadyCat points in the third quarter came from the stripe until Joleigh Tate fired in a three-ball to end the period with a 38-14 lead. The Ladycats then scored the next 11, with Tate and Swint each hitting a three, to put the sportsmanship rule in effect.

Kent led Booneville with 13 points, while Roberts scored 11 and grabbed nine rebounds. Swint lit up the stat sheet with 10 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists as Booneville outrebounded Hackett 34-21 and forced 19 turnovers.

Bearcats 53, Hackett 40

The Hornets grabbed an early lead at 6-2; Austin Hill replied with a three-pointer but Hackett maintained a two-point lead after one quarter. Despite two Jacob Herrera layups, the Hornets pulled out two more points before C.J. Johnson bagged a three-pointer and then hit from 15. Herrera then tied the game with two free throws and after the Hornets scored the next three, Hill hit a pair from the line and Johnson then made a steal and layup for a 21-20 Bearcat lead at halftime.

Hackett stayed close, in fact taking the lead one more time, before Blake Jones hit two bonus balls and Hill another. In between, Herrera took a charge, and the Cats led 32-25. The Hornets got back within three but Hill buried another three for a 35-29 lead after the third period. Two Evan Escobedo layups started a 10-point run to begin the fourth quarter with Hill and Jones getting threes in the run as well. Jones dropped in another bonus ball and later, Hill got a layup off a turnover and Herrera finished it off with a three-point play.

Hill led Booneville with 16 points, while Jones bagged four threes for all of his points. Those two also combined for 12 rebounds and nine assists. Johnson and Herrera added nine points each, with Herrera getting eight rebounds and four assists.

LadyCats 50, Danville 39

It was a low scoring first quarter, with three-pointers by Hayley Roberts and Joleigh Tate offsetting three Danville baskets. The game was tied at six after one period; Roberts buried another three to start the second but the Lady Little Johns went on a 10-3 run to take a four-point lead. Layups by Karmen Kent and Joleigh Tate tied the score but Lydia Stanley and Hally Rial each scored late in the quarter to put Danville back up by four at halftime.

Booneville came out steaming in the third quarter, with layups by Roberts and Swint tying the score. After Swint took a charge Roberts cashed in from bonus land and Heaven Sanchez followed suit after a Danville score. That made it 26-22 for BHS and Tate would add a three pointer to keep the lead at four, but Jalene Tolbert and Rial each scored to knot the score at 31 after three quarters. At this point, Layla Byrum again came up big, getting a steal and layup to start the final quarter. After Danville replied, Kent and Sanchez both scored and Byrum then took a charge. Stanley replied, but Byrum, Sanchez and Swint all broke free for layups and a 43-35 lead. It then came down to free throws and the Ladycats went 7-for-9 in the last three minutes for the win.

Sanchez led BHS with 13 points, with Roberts hitting all three of her three-point attempts and finishing with 11. Tate added nine and Swint seven. Swint held Rial, who had been a thorn in Booneville‘s side at Danville, to only four points.

Ladycats 60, Waldron 39

In stark contrast to the game at Booneville, the first period at Waldron was fast-paced. Heaven Sanchez bagged two free throws and made a steal and layup to surround a Hayley Roberts three for an early 7-1 lead. The Lady Bulldogs closed within two when Hailey Stidham cashed in a bonus ball, but Leigh Swint followed with a three and then Karmen Kent cashed in a layup which was followed by only her third three-pointer of the year. Joleigh Tate would also hit a three before the end of the quarter, which finished with a 22-11 Booneville lead. Waldron fought back and got within six midway through the second quarter, but Swint and Sanchez scored inside, then Tate hit a three for 33-20 before Rheagan Sanford also buried a bonus shot to get the hosts back within 10 at halftime.

Roberts was fouled shooting a three to start the third quarter and hit two free throws but after Sanchez replied to a Sanford layup, Waldron scored the next nine with a Jessica Ozuna three making it a three-point game. Kent and Swint got layups but Stidman hit two from the line with 0.4 seconds left in the quarter to make it 41-36. Sanford had a chance to cut it to three from the line early in the fourth quarter, but she misfired and Tate dropped in two threes around two Swint free throws. Roberts scored inside, then dished to Kent for a layup, and Swint then hit 5-of-6 from the line for a 58–39 lead.

Swint again had a banner night, with 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Sanchez had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Tate was 4-for-5 from three-land for her 12. Roberts and Kent shared the other 18 points equally. The Ladycats were 7-for-12 from three-point range and controlled the boards to the tune of 34-20.

Waldron 53, Bearcats 38

Gada Wagner and Jaden Hutchens each hit a three as the Bulldogs opened an early 8-2 lead with Blake Jones getting the Booneville points. Jordan Sanchez then scored a layup, but Waldron finished the period on a 7-2 run and led 15-6 after one. The Cats closed the lead to six on a Sanchez layup and a Jacob Herrera three, but Isaac Villarreal had three baskets in the interim and despite Sanchez having six points in the quarter, the Bulldogs led 25-16 at the half.

The Bearcats cut that lead to three in very short order as Sanchez scored on a putback, Evan Escobedo got a layup and then Jacob Herrera made a steal and basket to make it 25-22. But a 17-3 Waldron run effectively ended Booneville resistance as Wagner racked up eight points and Braden Williams seven in the run. Brooks Herrera hit two free throws to finally halt the blitz, but the Bulldogs led 42-28 entering the fourth quarter. The closest approach by Booneville from that point on was 13 points, after another Jacob Herrera steal and layup. Chase Plymale got on the scoreboard just before the end, rebounding an Austin Goff miss and making a layup.

Sanchez scored 12 and Jacob Herrera 10, with each player also getting seven rebounds and three steals. The Bearcats were only able to shoot 36% for the game, well off their average of 47%, and were 2 for 16 from three point range.

Junior Bearcats beat Hackett, finish 14-2

The Booneville Junior Bearcats finished their season in style on Feb. 4, getting 21 points from Colter Fisher as they held off a late Hackett run to win, 38-29.

Fisher was 10-for-10 from the free throw line, the first Booneville Junior High player ever to do so. Dax Goff added 13 points and 16 rebounds as the Junior Bearcats finished with a record of 14-2, the best record the junior boys have ever had.

The Junior Ladycats were shorthanded when they played Hackett, as Lexi Franklin and Ryleigh Love — who combined to average nearly 16 points per game this season — were unavailable for the game.

Hackett jumped to a halftime lead and though Booneville only allowed the Lady Hornets four second-half points, the Junior Ladycats couldn’t catch up and lost 22-13. They finished the season with a 10-7 record.

Junior Bearcats 38, Hackett 29

Dax Goff scored three first-quarter baskets and Colter Fisher added another as the Booneville defense did not allow Hackett to get a field goal in the period. It looked even better at halftime as Booneville outscored Hackett 10-2, with Goff and Jace Washburn collecting two baskets each and Fisher one as BJH led 18-6 at halftime.

The Hornets started to come back in the third quarter, as Eli Slavens racked up seven of their 11 points. Fisher was the entire offense for Booneville, scoring all nine Junior Bearcat points. Booneville still led 27-17 going to the fourth and when they made a 7-2 run to start that quarter, The lead was 15 and the game seemed to be in the bag. But Hackett had other ideas, scoring 10 unanswered points in less than a minute-and-a-half. Slavens and Wyatt Hester each hit a three and then Slavens, who scored 18, made good on a four-point play, cutting the lead to five with a minute left. But Fisher, who had hit all six of his free throws to that point, made no mistake on four more in the last 60 seconds. Fisher, Goff and Washburn accounted for every Booneville point.

Hackett 22, Junior Ladycats 13

With Lexi Franklin and Ryleigh Love sidelined, Gracie Moore and Ellie Smith got the starting nods in their stead. Hackett scored the first nine points of the game, but Roni Tillery beat the first-quarter buzzer with a three-pointer. Booneville scored no field goals in the second quarter, with all of their points coming on three free throws by Smith, as the Junior Lady Hornets took an 18-6 lead into halftime.

Linley Garrett dropped in a three and Tillery added a free throw to get BJH within eight early in the third quarter, but that was as close as they would get. Hackett collected a free throw toward the end of the quarter, and added the first three points of the fourth to take the lead back out to 12. Booneville would not score again until the last shot of the game, when Beverly Harrison nailed a three-pointer from the right wing. Tillery led with four points with Smith, Garrett and Harrison each adding three. Smith led in rebounding with seven.