Booneville, Aberdeen set for round two

By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

BOONEVILLE – The people are getting what they asked for in Class 3A North.
With tickets already punched to the MHSAA state tournament in Jackson, Booneville and Aberdeen will meet tonight at 7 p.m. for top billing.
The state’s top two teams in the class, Booneville eliminated Mooreville 69-49 while Aberdeen sent Leflore home with a 62-53 win Friday.
Booneville won it all last season against no expectations. This time has proved tougher.
“Last year you had nothing to lose. This year, expectations at times about got them,” said Booneville coach Michael Smith. “This week they really felt like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders.
“I’m just proud of them.”
The Blue Devils (30-3) and Bulldogs (27-5) will meet on Booneville’s turf for the second time, Aberdeen winning 76-67 on Dec. 30.
Friday, Booneville pulled away in the third against the Troopers (23-10) with a 13-2 run.
Booneville started the game on a 12-0 run.
By the time two of Keldrick Lesley’s game-high 21 went in late in the third, Booneville led 46-29.
Booneville had four in double figures, Kenny Paul Geno with 19, Darius Leach 12 and Jordan Miller 10.
“We started out in man-to-man to try that,” said Mooreville coach Jeff Tally. “It didn’t do well.”
It was the third time Booneville had beaten Mooreville this season.
The Troopers were within five at the half thanks in part to a pair of Kelton Kingsley 3s and six points from Zack Sisk in the second.
Kelsey Scott had 13 and Errick Dilworth 11 for Mooreville.
Aberdeen 62, Leflore 53: The results weren’t in early. Tied at 38 in the final seconds of the third, Jeffery Riddle got a steal and assist to Elliot Johnson for a bucket and a 40-38 lead.
Leflore never led again.
“Coach says when you see a loose ball, go after it,” Riddle said.
Johnson was again a big help inside, pounding out 16 points and 16 boards.
The Bulldogs led by six on a layin from Brandon Hodges but watched Leflore (15-19) pull within three points on an Albert Jackson free throw with 4:15 to play.
After Leflore blew a pair of chances to get closer, Sed Fair’s steal led to his two free throws, then a Riddle steal preceded a backdoor to Ken McCoy for a 54-47 lead.
“I’m very happy for them. They’ve worked so hard. They’re very deserving of this opportunity,” Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said.
Fair had 14.