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Booneville girls capture first championship in six years with 46-30 win over Noxubee county in 3A finale

Taitianna Beene scored 18 points to earn MVP honors for the Blue Devils

JACKSON — The Hill Country has had an incredible showing at the MHSAA Basketball Championships at the Mississippi Coliseum, and the Girls 3A Championship was no exception.

The Booneville Blue Devils created separation with a big second quarter and played four quarters of strong defense to hold off Noxubee County 46-30 to claim the MHSAA Girls Class 3A State Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Mississippi Coliseum.

It’s Booneville’s (29-2) third state title in school history and first state title since 2016.

“The game was very emotional — a lot of ups and downs, and the girls fought through it and got it done,” said Booneville coach Michael Smith. “Our girls gave them a big punch in the second quarter and again in the fourth quarter.”

Noxubee County held a 10-9 lead in the first quarter, but the second quarter was all Booneville.

The Lady Blue Devils outscored the Lady Tigers 18-1 in the quarter. They began the it with a 9-0 run to take a 18-10 lead and closed the first half on a 9-1 run to take a commanding 27-11 lead at halftime.

“Our kids were like 'We got your best in the first quarter,' and they came out in the second with our best,” Smith said. “We showed a ton of discipline and we were patient. We waited to get what we wanted, when we wanted. We made them guard for an extended period of time, and I can’t be more proud of them.”

Noxubee County cut the lead down to 11 points at 28-17 in the early part of the third quarter, as the Lady Tigers went on a 6-1 run.

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Taitianna Beene scored seven of Booneville’s 10 points in the third quarter, including on back-to-back lay-ups to give the Lady Blue Devils a 37-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Booneville scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to take a 42-25 lead to seal the game. Smith cleared the bench with more than two minutes to go.

The The Lady Blue Devil defense held Noxubee County to just 31 percent shooting from the field (11-for-35).

“We were fortunate that we turned the intensity up and did good job of getting good shots and getting up and down the floor,” Smith said. “This team won five games last year and that was a hard pill to swallow. They handled it well and responded with a championship this year and couldn’t have asked for a better group of human beings.”

Beene had 17 points to lead Booneville and was named the game’s most valuable player.

“We kept applying pressure on defense and being aggressive on defense,” Beene said. “I kept getting chances to get to the basket and took advantage.”

Tootie Lockett had a game-high 18 points to lead Noxubee County (19-12).

“The ball just wasn’t bouncing our way. The second quarter was rough, and we dug ourselves a hole,” said Noxubee County coach Michael Johnson. “We got a very young team, so we will get back to work and try to make another run.”