Turnovers doom Nettleton against senior-heavy Blue Devils

BOONEVILLE – A senior-heavy Booneville group jumped out to an early 16-0 lead, and Nettleton was unable to catch up as the Blue Devils rolled to an 85-44 win.

Nettleton (1-4) closed the gap to 18-9 to start the second quarter, but that would be as close as the Tigers could get after an explosive 23-point start to the third quarter from Booneville (3-1).

“We moved the ball well offensively initially and got a big lead. At times we backed off and weren’t quite as aggressive on defense,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “We got lazy with the basketball at times, but when we needed to put some plays together, we did, and that kept us ahead of them for the most part. We still have a long way to go.”

The Booneville defense kept Nettleton off the scoreboard until near the end of the first quarter when Santerius Walton hit a 3-pointer.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers got to within 31-20 after Joseph Heard and Chris Long each hit two-point shots and Walton added his second three-pointer of the game, but that would be as close as they could come to the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils took a double-digit lead into the break, up 37-22 and responded immediately in the third with Daryl Barefield connecting on a pair of two-point plays.

Kenny Paul Geno led the way for Booneville with 18 points, while Barefield added 10 points. Bonner Powell finished with 8 points off the bench, entering the game in the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Jeremy Cook and Chris Long were the leading scorers for Nettleton, each finishing with 8 points.

“We had too many turnovers. We can’t pass, catch or dribble, and we turned the ball over every time we were down the floor,” Nettleton coach Derrick Sharp said. “You can’t score if you don’t have the basketball, so that’s the main thing. We just turned the ball over too much.”

Smith said he thinks his team, which includes eight seniors, is starting to hit its stride in the last few games.

“Initially we didn’t gel together as quick as I thought I would. Tonight was the first time I felt like we started to turn a corner in getting there,” Smith said. “Hopefully we can carry this on a little further and start to develop some depth.”

Sharp said youth on his team, which has just two seniors, is still developing. Nettleton lost three senior starters from last year’s squad in Odarius Lowe, Zach Ross and Corbin White.

“It’s a very young team, mostly ninth and tenth graders,” Sharp said. “They still have a lot of room to grow.”

(G) Booneville 62, Nettleton 52

Nettleton came into the fourth quarter down by just 6, but Booneville took control with a 19-15 run to end the game.

“First quarter, we came out dragging on defense a little bit, and they got up 17-3 on us, so we had to play catch up,” Nettleton coach Shelley Parman said. “The girls didn’t give up and played hard; we just couldn’t push through and break that gap. The first quarter killed us.”

Jasmine Allen scored 15 points for Booneville, while Nettleton’s Jabria Pounds led all scorers with 24 points.

Parman said she likes what she’s seen out of her young team, which lost six seniors from last year and has none this year, so far in practice.

“They work hard, just like they did in the last three quarters tonight. They work hard every day, don’t give up and push through,” Parman said. “Good things are going to happen if they keep working like that.