Darius Leach hit one of the biggest shots in Blue Devils history, a buzzer-beating jumper that crowned his team North champions with a 70-68 win against Division 1-3A rival Corinth (29-4) on Saturday at lively Corinth.
Corinth had beaten Booneville three times, by 12, 2 and 15.
Both teams had already qualified for the state tournament that starts this week.
Booneville (26-7) plays defending champ Forest on Friday at 10:30 a.m. inside Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum. Corinth plays South champion Velma Jackson at 2:30 p.m.
"Darius hadn't hit a shot that distance probably all year," Booneville coach Michael Smith said. "He can. He just doesn't. He hit a big one.
"We didn't draw up anything fancy, just told them to make plays. God has blessed us so much this week, giving us a chance we didn't think we'd ever have."
The jumper from just inside the arc bounced off the rim twice and the backboard in between before falling.
Corinth had the shirts ready to hand out but a missed quick shot by hot-handed Steven Polk and five straight points from Kenny Paul Geno tied the game at 68-all with under 20 seconds left.
Deonta Herman was called for traveling and Leach dribbled around the top right of the key before pulling up in front of screened Eric Richardson.
Corinth had come back from a 34-28 deficit, the latest run seeing three 3-pointers from Polk and a 67-59 lead with less than 3 minutes left.
Geno, who scored seven of his 11 in the final quarter, grabbed the rebound off Polk's shot and connected on two free throws to cut the lead to 67-65 with 1:17 to play.
Polk was then called for a travel but stole the ball and hit a pair of free throws. The second shot was waived off though after a lane violation.
Instead of a four-point lead, Corinth lead 68-65. Geno tied it and after a Booneville timeout, Herman was whistled and the rest is history.
Corinth coach Keith Greene said more than one thing contributed to the loss, including the inability to get to the line. Corinth shot only eight free throws. Booneville made 15.
Keldrick Lesley led Booneville with 23 points. Leach had 16 and Tre Welch 10. Polk had 18 for Corinth, Herman 15 and Rodrick Gaines 10.
"I thought we defended poorly off the dribble all night," Greene said. "They played well but I thought we did a lot of things that shot ourselves in the foot.
"I didn't think we defended (Leach's shot) very well."
During the timeout that followed Geno's tying 3, Smith had a special message for his players.
"I told them (Corinth) already had the North Half championship shirts down there on the floor and were about to hand them out," Smith said. "I just told them 'you've got to find a way. You've found a way this whole tournament.'"
n Game summary, Page 2B