By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
BOONEVILLE – Mooreville nearly won, nearly lost, then finally claimed victory Thursday night at the North Mississippi 3A Tournament in Booneville.
Aerkies Berry scored seven of his 12 points in the second overtime to lead the surprising Troopers to an 82-72 win against Winona, advancing to a 6 p.m. matchup today against last season’s state champion, Booneville, with a state tournament berth at stake.
“We tried every way in the world to lose that ballgame,” a relieved Mooreville coach Jeff Tally said. “The kids played well that last overtime. I give them all the credit.”
The Troopers (23-8) blew an early double-digit lead and an eight-point lead after three quarters and didn’t score in the final two minutes of regulation.
In the first overtime, Winona (25-5) took a 65-60 lead on Demarcus Campbell’s putback. Berry’s make looked like a winner before Matthew Everett tied it.
In the second overtime, Quadzing Rogers scored to put the Troopers ahead before fouling out with 15 points. Berry then took over, a 3 putting his team up five.
“It was a real tough game,” Berry said. “It was very frustrating. I don’t ever say we’re beat until the game is over.”
Kelsey Scott had 16 in the win, Zack Sisk 13 and Kelton Kinglsey 12. Campbell had 22 for Winona.
Booneville has beated the Troopers by an average of 20 points in two meetings this season.
Booneville 38, Velma Jackson 29: The host Blue Devils survived the deliberate pace set by its visitors in Thursday’s opener.
Booneville hit 10 of 10 fourth-quarter free throws, eight straight from Darius Leach and Keldrick Lesley.
Lesley hit six straight and Leach a pair in the final 39.3.
Booneville (29-3) coach Michael Smith said his team did some sloppy things but credited opposing coach Anthony Carlyle’s slowed-down approach.
Justin Washington led Velma (11-18) with eight. Leach and Lesley had eight each.
Aberdeen 72, Alcorn Central 62: Up 64-58 late, Brandon Hodges’ putback on a free throw helped seal it. Ced Fair led Aberdeen with 16. Jordan Wyke led Alcorn with a game-high 17.