By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – Booneville and Baldwyn may both make runs at a state title but Booneville can still relish a big regular season accomplishment over its Prentiss County rival.
Booneville beat Baldwyn 71-60 in front of a packed and loud Baldwyn gym on Thursday, a season sweep completed in a rematch of a buzzer-beating win over the Bearcats in the Prentiss County finals.
“We played well. You know if you come down here, you have to play well because they’re really good,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said.
Both teams lost in the state championship game last March. Class 2A Baldwyn, the Journal’s No. 5 team jumped ahead Thursday, but No. 4 Booneville (22-4) made a run that never really stopped. Kenny Paul Geno had 30 in the win. His dunk and Antonio Crump’s score off a steal gave the 3A Blue Devils a 32-15 lead, capping an 14-2 run.
Baldwyn (24-3) made its late push behind a pair of 3-pointers from Conner McKay, a 3-pointer from Tevin Lindsey and a Martell Brown bucket to cut the lead to 53-50 in the fourth.
“That’s a great ballclub. Give our kids credit. they didn’t quit,” Baldwyn coach Jason McKay said. “It’s easy to identify our mistakes. We’ve just got to regroup and go again.”
But Booneville scored the next eight and Baldwyn had three consecutive turnovers in the final minute.
Booneville got 18 from Jack Nichols,10 from Dayl Barfield. Brown had 18 for the Bearcats, who also got 17 from Lindsey.
“They’re good enough to win the state tournament in a lot of different classifications,” Smith said of the Bearcats, “not just 2A.”
(G) Baldwyn 60, Booneville 57: Ayana Ragin’s late three-point play gave Baldwyn the lead. Booneville eighth-grader Adallice Young nearly fueled a comeback with eight fourth-quarter points.
Timaya Stewart scored 22 for Baldwyn, Ragin 19. Booneville got 21 from Jasmine Allen.