In this topsy-turvy season where what was supposed to be the first conference game ended up as the last, the Bearcat boys’ basketball team managed to protect their position in the league last Monday night with a 43-41 win against Dover.
The Cats held off a furious Mena rally to advance in the first round of the district tournament, then in their third game in as many days stayed within shouting distance of Subiaco until the fourth quarter, when the Trojans pulled away to end Booneville’s season.
The Lady Cats could not overcome a slow start against Maumelle in their first round district game and finished their season with a 43-27 defeat.
Bearcats 43 Dover 41
Booneville took an 8-4 lead as they found their way through the Dover defense for layups. Cody Harrel scored twice before Jacob Krepps and Michael Springs got to the rack. After Dover scored, Brandon Wolski hit a follow shot, followed by a three-pointer as Booneville went on to a 15-10 lead after one quarter.The teams traded first twos, then threes early in the second quarter before Garrett Steuber got the Pirates within two with a bonus ball and Luke Price added two free throws to tie the score. Harrel, though, scored on a putback for a 22-20 Bearcat lead at halftime.
The Cats opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run including Wolski’s second three of the game; a Springs layup made it 31-22. Dover twice got within seven but Trevor Jones ended the period by converting a three-point play and Booneville seemed in control at 36-26. But Steuber and Kyle Chenowith threw in three-pointers around two Wolski free throws to get within six. The Pirates then took advantage of an 0-for-4 spell from the line, drawing within 40-38 when Chenowith hit two from the line. Wolski hit one free throw but Steuber buried a three from the corner to tie the score at 41. DHS then attempted to press but Booneville found Jones wide open for a layup. Dover missed at the other end and fouled Wolski, who missed the free throw, but Dover could not get a good shot off.
Harrel finished with 19 points to lead Booneville and Wolski added nine. A 4-for-13 performance from the line almost came back to bite the Bearcats but they were able to maintain the number 6 seed.
Lady Cats 27
The Lady Hornets tallied the first nine points of the game before Logan Lyle hit from eight, then scored the next five for a 14-2 lead. MHS led 16-3 before Morgan Osborne scored twice in the last minute of the first quarter to get the Lady Cats within nine after one period. Booneville scored only one field goal in the second period on Alley Vaught’s layup; she did hit two free throws as did Hannah McClung, and the Lady Cats managed to stay within rallying distance, down 25-13 at the break.
Maumelle, though, put in the first three baskets of the third period before KhyLeigh Cobb put in a 10-footer. BHS only scored five points in the quarter with the other three coming from Paige Joyce, and the Lady Hornets led 34-18 after three. Booneville could not take full advantage of a Maumelle scoring drought early in the fourth quarter; they did draw within 35-22 after McClung scored on two layups, but that was as close as they would get as MHS pulled away to lead 43-24 before Lyle buried a three-pointer to finish the scoring.
Lyle, McClung and Vaught shared the scoring lead with six points each. Though it did not show in the win column, steady though slow progress was shown by the team as the season progressed.
Though things got a bit touchy in the last three minutes, Booneville completed a three-game sweep over their Polk County namesakes. BHS broke from an early deficit to take a 10-4 lead, buoyed by a Brandon Wolski three-pointer. Mena got within two before Wolski dropped in another bonus shot at the end of the quarter for a 13-8 Booneville lead. After Mena closed back to within two, Booneville only allowed them a further two points the rest of the period. Two three-pointers by Dakoda Owens were the keys to a 16-0 Booneville run and the purple and gold were in command 29-14 at halftime.
Owens added another three-ball in the third quarter and also got a shot of the two-point variety to go. Mena managed to outscore Booneville, though, 14-9 in the quarter and were within 38-30 after three. But BHS pulled away early in the fourth quarter with a 9-3 run. Dalton Herrera and Michael Springs hit free throws before Springs scored a layup. Trevor Jones followed with a basket, Springs nailed another free throw, then after a Mena miss Cody Harrel rebounded and hit Korbyn Thompson for a snowbird and a 47-33 lead with 2:15 left.
But Mena then chose to press Booneville and forced them to rush things, leading to three baskets and six Braxton Lance free throws, and suddenly Mena had closed to 47-45 with 50 seconds left. But Harrel and Springs stepped up to hit clutch free throws as Booneville held on. Owens led Booneville with 13 points and Wolski added 12.
The Bearcats and Trojans fought it out in a close first quarter as baskets by Brandon Wolski, Dalton Herrera and Cody Harrel combined with a stingy defense yielded only a two point Trojan lead at 9-7 after one. Subi went on an 8-2 run to begin the second period; this was halted on a Herrera drive and basket followed by one from Harrel. The senior added two free throws and Booneville was well within striking distance at the half, down 21-14.
The Cats did not allow Subiaco to score a field goal in the first six minutes of the third period, but could not take advantage as they missed four free throws and a Herrera three-ball went all the way down before spinning out. Harrel did hit a three-pointer and added two free throws to get BHS within 27-19, but Jon Vines scored twice and Kelly Hollis once to make it 33-19 before a Trevor Jones bucket got Booneville within 12 after three quarters. But the Trojans put on the gas early in the fourth quarter, going on a 9-2 run capped by Cash Krueger’s three-ball. Harrel attempted to put the Cats on his back, scoring half of Booneville’s 12 points in the quarter, and Jacob Krepps fired in a three-pointer. But the Trojans kept pulling away to advance.
Harrel led the way for Booneville with 19 points. Though they were two months behind nearly every team they played, the Bearcats fought hard in every game. With promising junior high and seventh-grade groups coming in—the seventh-graders finished 10-2—the seed appears to have been planted for a promising future.