By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – This was classic Northeast Mississippi basketball matchup on Saturday – a Union County school versus a Prentiss County school.
The Booneville Blue Devils claimed this meeting, defeating the New Albany Bulldogs 69-57.
“A couple of times tonight, we weathered storms,” Booneville head coach Michael Smith said. “Every time New Albany got close, we pushed it back out.
“I thought we shared the ball very well tonight.”
Booneville’s team effort began paying dividends in the second quarter after a tight first period that saw the Devils take a 19-18 edge.
Antonio Crump hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the Devils (13-3) up 25-20. Later in the period, Crump added four more points as Booneville maxed out its lead in the half at 37-25.
With more than its share of guard talent, the Bulldogs (10-8) hung around, pulling within 47-43 on a 3-pointer by J. T. Moore in the third quarter. Booneville then closed the period on a 10-3 spurt with senior Kenny Paul Geno contributing two field goals under the basket for a 57-46 lead.
New Albany never cut the margin under seven points in the final quarter.
“We got ourselves in a hole we couldn’t dig out of,” New Albany head coach Brad Gray said. “Their guards got penetration and easy baskets, and we also had trouble in transition.”
Geno had a hard-earned 18 points to lead Booneville, while quick guard Eric Chaney paced New Albany with 20.
(G) New Albany 82, Booneville 57: Lady Bulldogs senior Jasmine Spears tossed in a smooth 38 points in the contest, helping New Albany to a dominating second half effort.
New Albany (12-4) out scored Booneville 46-26 in the second half.
“Our offense was very good for us tonight,” New Albany head coach John Stroud said. “That’s a lot of points for us.”
Jasmine Allen had 22 for the Lady Devils.