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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Booneville Lady Bearcats Defeat Paris for Invitational Tournament Championship


Behind a tremendous second half defensive effort, the Booneville Lady Bearcats (3-0) defeated the Paris Lady Eagles (2-2) on Thursday night 51-29 to win the Booneville Invitational Tournament title. In a half where the Lady Eagles had trouble crossing mid-court against the tough Booneville defense, the Lady Bearcats took control of the game early in the second half and didn’t look back on their way to the tournament title.

In the night’s first game, the Cossatot River Eagles (1-9) defeated the Paris Eagles (0-4) senior boys team 51-46 to win the consolation game in the Booneville Invitational Tournament. The game was back-and-forth with neither team seemingly wanting to take control until the final minutes of the game when Cossatot was able to finally pull away for their first win of the season against the winless Eagles.

Lady Eagles coach Dustin Williams knows that this young Lady Eagles team is going to have to grow up fast to be ready for conference play. “Young team still trying to find their legs. We had a few missed opportunities to extend our lead early. Booneville is a very good basketball team and is very well coached Our team played their hearts out last night, but we have to find a way to match that intensity. We will get better.”

Jaden Hart led the Lady Eagles in scoring with 22 points. Jacee Hart was the leading rebounder for Paris with 11 rebounds.

For the Eagles, Caleb Cunningham led Paris scorers with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Nick Bazyk had 14 points and 6 rebounds. Coach Mike Foster said the Eagles must learn how to close out games. “Boys played hard and lost 50-46. This is our third straight game where we have been tied or led starting the fourth quarter. We are very inexperienced right now and have to learn how to finish games.”

Paris’s next game is at Scranton today. The Lady Eagles will play at 6 p.m., and the boys will play immediately afterwards. Both teams will be looking to get on track before the Thanksgiving break. This will be the final game for both teams until December 10 when they travel to Lamar to play the Warriors. Both coaches will be anxious to have practice time to make adjustments before conference season begins. The Eagles will not play at home again until December 20 when they host Jessieville.

Both coaches knew before the season started that their teams were about to enter the season with players who had very little varsity basketball experience. That lack of experience has been evident so far, but there has certainly been no lack of effort from both teams. Paris will continue to improve as the season progresses. Eagles fans have faithfully traveled to support their teams, and I expect they will continue to do so. The Eagles and Lady Eagles need your support. Come out and cheer both teams on as they work hard to improve and prepare for the upcoming conference season.

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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