Fast start pays off for host Booneville Blue Devils

By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal

BOONEVILLE – Senior-heavy Booneville jumped out to an early 16-0 lead on Nettleton and rolled to an 85-44 win on Tuesday.
Nettleton (1-4) closed the gap to 18-9 to start the second quarter, but that’s as close as the Tigers could get after an explosive 23-point start to the third quarter from Booneville (3-1).
“We moved the ball well offensively initially and got a big lead. At times we backed off and weren’t quite as aggressive on defense,” Booneville coach Michael Smith said. “We got lazy with the basketball at times, but when we needed to put some plays together, we did.”
Booneville kept Nettleton off the scoreboard until near the end of the first quarter when Santerius Walton hit a 3-pointer.
The Blue Devils took a double-digit lead into the break, up 37-22, and responded immediately in the third with Daryl Barefield connecting on a pair of two-point plays.
Kenny Paul Geno led Booneville with 18 points, while Barefield added 10.
Jeremy Cook and Chris Long led Nettleton, each finishing with 8 points.
“We had too many turnovers. We can’t pass, catch or dribble, and we turned the ball over every time we were down the floor,” Nettleton coach Derrick Sharp said.
Smith said his team, which has eight seniors, is starting to hit its stride.
“Tonight was the first time I felt like we started to turn a corner. Hopefully we can carry this on a little further and start to develop some depth,” Smith said.
(G) Booneville 62, Nettleton 52: Nettleton came into the fourth quarter down by just 6, but Booneville took control with a 19-15 run to end the game.
Jasmine Allen scored 15 points for Booneville; Nettleton’s Jabria Pounds led all scorers with 24 points.
melissa.meador@journalinc.com