By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – Michael Smith’s still looking for some of his Booneville Blue Devils to step up.
The coach saw fragments of last year’s Class 3A state championship team in Friday’s 60-42 victory against New Site.
“We didn’t play very well tonight,” said Smith, who has four starters back from last season’s 28-7 team. “We’re still searching for who can do what. We haven’t jelled yet.
“We’ve got to get better as we go along. It’s still early.”
Keldrick Lesley paced the Blue Devils (8-1) with 19 points while Kenny Paul Geno added 12 and Jack Nichols 10.
New Site (4-6) was led by Josh Knight with 13 points and Tyler Benjamin with 12.
Booneville opened a 14-4 lead in the first quarter, then took a 37-18 halftime lead behind an 8-point second quarter by Geno.
The Blue Devils play Calhoun City today at the Doc Vandiver Classic in Baldwyn.
“We’re going to have to play really well to be able to play with them,” Smith said. “They’ll play as hard as any team we’ll play.”
(G) New Site 78, Booneville 39: Byron Sparks knows his Lady Royals must be physical in the paint when the postseason rolls around.
“We’ve got to block out and rebound, especially when we play teams more athletic than us,” Sparks said. “I thought we defended well and rebounded well tonight. The last two weeks we’ve been doing a lot better on the boards.”
New Site (9-1) was led in scoring by Morgan Pearson with 22 points. Shelby Stricklen added 16 and Christy Clark 15. Pearson, who connected on four 3-pointers, and Clark, who hit three perimeter bombs, are inside/outside players.
“We’re not as big as everybody else we play,” Pearson said. “We have to look for mismatches and take it inside.”
Booneville (4-5) was led by Jasmine Allen with 17 points.