By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – They won’t need quality wins to get into the state tournament but the Daily Journal’s top-ranked Booneville Blue Devils got another one Saturday.
Booneville beat Piney Woods 70-52 in the 22nd Annual Kiwanis Hotbed Classic at New Albany.
Booneville (18-3) led by nine at the half and Ole Miss commit Dwight Coleby got Piney Woods (9-8) within three before Booneville pulled away. The 6-foot-9 center scored 23 points.
“We got probably 10 easy baskets in the second half. I think we just executed really well,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “In the first half, we looked like we were scared he was going to block it. The second half we did a better job of trying to attack him.”
Coleby, the state’s second-ranked prospect, got to the rim plenty of times in the second half but so did Booneville prospect Kenny Paul Geno.
Coleby’s hard dunk cut Booneville’s lead to 42-31 but Geno answered on the other end to give Boone-ville a 13-point lead.
Colby was impressed with Geno’s energy.
“He’s a good player,” Coleby said. “He’s running up and down.”
Geno had 24 points and 18 boards for the Blue Devils. Antonio Crump had 15.
A pair of back-to-back slams from Coleby cut the lead to 45-42 but Booneville answered.
A dunk by Geno put Booneville back up 51-44 and after a steal, his three-point play gave the Devils a 54-44 lead. Geno hit seven straight in a 16-2 run. Jazz Prather’s steal and two and Crump’s 3-ball put Booneville up 61-44.
“I thought we played well. We haven’t played well all week,” Smith said.