Stepping up: Bearcats win thriller on road without leading scorer

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Having Reggie Patterson on the floor would certainly be a plus for Baldwyn High, but through 19 games, the Bearcats are pretty good without him.
On Saturday night at Booneville High, the Bearcats won their 17th contest of the year, defeating the host Blue Devils, 62-61, in the Prentiss County Tournament championship game.
With their leading scorer from a year ago sidelined due to a knee injury, the Bearcats (17-2) had four players in double figures, with Tevin Lindsey tying for a game-high 20 points and Dee Gates and Duke Upshaw each tallying 13. Ian Burress added 10.
“You know, Reggie was a big part of our team,” Gates said about Patterson’s absence in the lineup, “but we got together and we talked about it, and so we decided that we are to play this year for Reggie.
“We got a senior, Ian (Burress), who stepped up this year, and Tevin (Lindsey), he wasn’t really a scorer last year, but he had to step up and score for us so that we can be a championship team.”
Lindsey hit some big shots in Saturday’s game against the defending MHSAA Class 3A state champions (17-3), none bigger than his two fourth-quarter 3s.
After Booneville’s Keldrick Lesley (10 points) scored on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 52-apiece with 3:58 remaining, Lindsey nailed a 3 to regain the lead for the Bearcats.
His final 3 of the night was the difference maker, giving the Bearcats a 62-59 lead with 1:12 remaining.
After Kenny Paul Geno made two free throws to pull the Blue Devils to within one, at 62-61, with 11.9 seconds left, Jack Nichols intercepted Baldwyn’s inbounds pass, setting up a do-or-die possession for the Blue Devils.
Geno, who scored a team-high 20 points, had an open look from the right-hand side, just inside the 3-point line. The shot just missed and the team “with the most heart” won.
“We were playing from the heart,” Gates said of playing for their late teammate, Marcus Martin, who died of cancer. “Whoever had the most heart was going to win.”
(G) New Site 65, Booneville 47: The Lady Royals won their fifth consecutive Prentiss County Tournament championship behind the scoring of Christy Clark (22 points) and Grace Elliott (12).
john.wilbert@journalinc.com