By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – It would be very easy for the Booneville Blue Devils to spend their time shining that golden trophy from the 2011 Class 3A State Championship.
Not a chance, as they are trying to figure out a way to claim the same prize in 2012.
Against dangerous New Albany on Friday night, the Devils shone on defense to claim a 53-34 victory.
“The kids just really played hard on defense tonight, not giving New Albany second and third shots,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “And they really controlled the tempo on defense.”
This contest featured two of the better centers in Northeast Mississippi – Booneville’s 6-foot-6 Kenny Paul Geno, and New Albany’s 6-8 Moses Kingsley.
Geno earned the better stats, leading the Devils (6-1) in scoring with 15 points. He also got the Booneville offense going in the right direction in the first quarter with two dunks as the Devils edged to a 12-7 lead in the period. After Booneville led 25-14 at the half, a three-point play by Eric Chaney and two free throws by Daniel Drummond pulled the Bulldogs (5-5) as close as 31-26 in the third quarter.
Booneville had all the answers the rest of the way.
A Darius Leech floater from the lane halted the New Albany momentum, and helped propel Booneville to a 37-28 through the third period. Then Booneville put the hammer down.
The Devils held the Bulldogs scoreless the first seven minutes of the final quarter. Offensively, Geno had six points during that 16-0 run to help Booneville ice the win.
Keldrick Lesley chipped in 12 points for Booneville, while no New Albany players was in double figures. Kingsley could only manage six points.
(G) New Albany 53, Booneville 33: It was a successful night all around for defending state champions, as 4A reigning title holder New Albany got an all-around outstanding performance from junior Jazmine Spears.
Handling multiple offensive duties all over the court, Spears led the Lady Bulldogs with 28 points as New Albany held a 26-15 halftime lead. Jasmine Allen led Booneville with 22.