BOONEVILLE – If the Booneville boys are going to make a fourth straight trip to the Class 3A state tournament, it will be without a throng of last year’s players, including Georgia Bulldog Kenny Paul Geno.
Joseph Caver was the man Tuesday, as the Blue Devils (17-8) took the first step with a 55-34 win against Mooreville in the Division 1-3A tournament.
“I think every team you have is different, no matter if you lose one or … we lost nine,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “The whole dynamic of our team changed.”
His team held a 12-point lead at the break. It went to 38-17 on Caver’s bucket.
Jack Nichols, Booneville’s lone returning experience, scored nine points for the 2011 state champions. Ben Seay’s 12 led Mooreville(6-19), which was held to single-digit points in three quarters.
Like Booneville, Mooreville returned one player with court experience.
“We figured if we could hold them to 60, that would help, but you’ve got to put up 50 or 60,” Mooreville coach Jim Tally said. “Thirty is not going to cut it.”
The win puts Booneville in next week’s North 3A tournament, but first the Blue Devils face Thursday’s semifinals against Kossuth, which beat them by nine in January.
“They’re very good, I think one of the more underrated teams around,” Smith said. “They’re big and physical and cause matchup problems for a lot of us.”
(G) Booneville 65, Mooreville 33: Tiana Allen’s 3 opened the third quarter to cut Booneville’s lead to single digits. It was all Blue Devils from there, 47-26 when freshman Adallice Young hit two free throws, stole the inbounds and converted a three-point play.
Young finished with 22.
(G) Alcorn Central 51, North Pontotoc 38: Lauren McCreless scored 16 to lead the Lady Bears. Katie Henry scored 12 for North.