BEARCATS ROYAL PAIN FOR ROYALS
By Mike Talbert
BOONEVILLE The area's No. 7 Baldwyn Bearcats, fresh from upsetting the No. 4 Oxford Chargers in Corinth last week, gave New Site's Royals a taste of Bearcat intensity at the Prentiss County Tournament Friday.
Joseph Marshall churned out a triple-double for the Bearcats, who dominated the Royals in spurts on the inside to win 66-55.
Marshall had 18 points, all on 3-point shots, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
"That was pretty typical of his game. I think the back-to-back threes he hit in the fourth quarter when they cut it to 10 gave us a little breathing room," Baldwyn coach Sam Richey said.
In other games Friday night, the New Site Lady Royals beat Wheeler 64-47 and the Booneville B team beat Thrasher 38-28.
In tonight's championship games, Baldwyn (14-4) plays Booneville or Jumpertown in the 8:15 game after the Lady Royals (14-5) meet the No. 3 Lady Bearcats (16-2) at 7 p.m. Booneville and New Site play in the 6 p.m. B-team game. Tournament officials said that if the predicted winter storm forces cancellation tonight the finals wll be played Monnday. An announcement will be made sometime today.
Baldwyn set the tone in the first half when it outrebounded the Royals (9-11) by 28-9. New Site hung with the Bearcats for a quarter, and took its only lead, 14-12, just 15 seconds into the second quarter when Michael Smith stole the ball and fed to Chris Downs for a layup. Baldwyn responded with 14 straight points to charge to a 36-22 halftime lead.
Baldwyn then scored the first nine points of the second half for its biggest lead, 45-22, before New Site was able to whittle the lead down to 10 points, 52-42, with six minutes left in the game. Then Marshall hit his back-to-back 3s.
Julian Anderson added 15 points, Keena Robins 13 and Mark Davis 11 for Baldwyn. Michael Smith scored 22 points and Bradley Pounds 12 for New Site.
"Smith is a tough little man. He had 40 points against Thrasher the other night and it seemed like he had that many tonight. I meant for us to be helping out on him," Richey said.
New Site 64, Wheeler 47: Sophia Friar scored 31 points for the Wheeler girls (12-8), but the balanced New Site attack with four players in double figures made the difference.
A trio of 3-pointers by Kristi Flurry, who had 15 points, gave New Site an 18-8 first quarter lead, and the Lady Royals never looked back after that. Crystal Harris added 14 points, Carlena McCombs 12 and April Pate 10.
Terwanda Burress, with 11 points, was the only other Wheeler player in double figures.
Despite the win, New Site coach Tony Grady wan't happy with his teams effort.
"I felt like we struggled all night. It may have been because they played great defense. My post players just couldn't handle them," Grady said. "We'll have to play a better game (tonight) or we will be going home quick," Grady said.