Blue Devils edge past Vikings

Basketball

By Jonathan Wise

BOONEVILLE- Timely baskets in the 4th quarter helped the Booneville Blue Devils come out on top in a 46-38 win over North Pontotoc last Friday night at the annual Kiwanis Classic tournament at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Trailing 33-32, Tyrese Bell gave the Devils the lead for good on a floater with 7:01 to play in the game. Booneville then scored four of the next five field goals. Cameron Young hit a three-pointer to make it 37-33 game with 6:06 left , and Rob Richey scored three consecutive buckets in the paint to give the Blue Devils some separation when the Vikings made it a one-possession game three different times on a short jump hook C.J. Thornton and free throws from Perez Dilworth and Xaveion Mabry. Four key foul shots from Young in the final 1:51 helped seal the game.

In a defensive contest, the Vikings were behind 9-7 at the end of the 1st quarter after a pair of baskets from Canaan Lockridge and one from Dilworth off of an offensive rebound. Booneville opened up as much as a 6-point lead, but the Vikings responded by going on a 12-0 run. Zay Cullens sliced through the lane for a finger roll, and Clark Mills knocked down a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer to pull North within one.

The Vikings then took the lead 16-15 when Thornton hit a short turnaround jumper, and Clark Mills subsequently stole a pass for a break away layup. Mabry drove to the hoop for two, and Mills hit a free throw to make it 21-15 game with 2:32 to play. Mills then found an open Mabry for a short bank shot to give the Vikings a game-high 8-point lead with 1:48 left in the 2nd quarter.

Booneville’s Hunter Bullard hit a jump shot with 4.8 seconds left in the 1st half to pull the Blue Devils to within 25-19, and a 3-pointer from Seth Floyd made it a 25-23 game in the opening minute of the 3rd. The teams continued to go back and forth throughout the quarter, with consecutive threes turning a 5-point Booneville deficit into a one-point lead and the Vikings’ Cameron Randle converting a layup to put North back on top 33-32 heading into the final period.