By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – Not too long ago, intense county tournaments were the highlight of many basketball seasons.
Semifinal action on Friday in the Prentiss County Tournament held up to the test of time.
The Baldwyn Bearcats closed effectively in the fourth quarter, holding off the Wheeler Eagles 67-61.
That helped to set up a boys championship at Baldwyn High School of the Bearcats against Booneville at 7:30 p.m. today. That will be preceded by the girls championship at 6 p.m. with Baldwyn and New Site.
“The main thing was we turned the ball over so much,” Wheeler coach Randy Michael said. “We had a spell where we had a two point lead, and just keep turning the ball over.”
Wheeler (9-8) had that two point lead following a three-point play by Ryan Miller, then a basket by Ryan Woods with 4 minutes, 52 seconds left for a 54-52 score. Then with 2:50 left, Ian Burress drained a 3-pointer to give Baldwyn the lead for good at 55-54.
“When you create turnovers, you create spurts,” Baldwyn coach Jason McKay said. “Our pressure created a turnover after that 3.”
Dee Gates did follow up eight seconds later with a three-point play for Baldwyn. Wheeler was still within 60-59 after a Woods 3-pointer with 1:47 left, but Baldwyn (17-2) was able to ice the contest the rest of the way.
Reggie Patterson had only two field goals in Baldwyn’s decisive fourth period, but did lead the Bearcats with 34 points. Miller paced Wheeler with 18.
(G) Baldwyn 63, Wheeler 61: Anaya Ragin scored the winning bucket for with 15 seconds remaining. Ragin led Baldwyn with 23, and Janay Beene was tops for Wheeler with 18.
(G) New Site 82, Booneville 43: Christy Clark paced the New Site offense with 21, while Jasmine Allen led Booneville with 14.
(B) Booneville 83, New Site 48: Kenny Paul Geno and Keldrick Lesley each scored 14 for Booneville, while Tyler Benjamin led New Site with 19.