DUNKIN’ BOOTHE: Wyatt Boothe leads Cathedral past McAdams in playoff action
NATCHEZ — With just under four minutes left to play in the MHSAA Class 1A opening round playoff game between Cathedral and McAdams, Wyatt Boothe took flight.
Booth grabbed a lob pass and slammed it through the basket, sending the crowd into a frenzy and Cathedral into the next round of the playoffs, capping a big 74-52 win.
“It felt pretty good,” said Boothe of the slam. “I felt some relief because we had some pretty pitiful attempts at dunks, so it felt good to get a nice one in.”
Cathedral was clicking on all cylinders from the opening tip, and rushed out to a 25-12 lead after the first quarter of play.
The Green Wave continued to dominate in the second quarter, outscoring McAdams 17-6, and took a 42-18 lead into halftime.
“The first half was dynamite,” Cathedral head coach Peter Arnold said. “We played really well. I told them before the game that this time of the year, you’ve got to have focus and urgency. In the first half, everybody was focused and played with the urgency we needed, because if you don’t win, your season is over. We’re not ready for it to be over.”
Boothe was Cathedral’s leading scorer with 15 points, but his teammates also filled the scoring column. Jardarius Anderson finished with 12 points and James Alan Coley and William Doss both finished with 11 points. D.J. Batteste finished with seven off the bench, as well.
“It was so easy in the first half it was alarming,” Arnold said. “Make a pass then a layup, and then another pass and an easy shot, I just kept waiting for the bomb to drop and it just never happened.”
But Arnold admitted spirits weren’t necessarily as high entering the game.
“R.J. Givens is sick, so starting out going into the game and knowing our leading scorer wasn’t there, wasn’t the greatest boost of confidence,” he said. “And Jacob Hamilton, our first off the bench, is out with the flu, too. But we came together.”
Although the Green Wave turned in a nearly flawless performance, Arnold and his team know that there are things they can take from the game that they want to improve upon.
“With the lead at halftime, they got a bit complacent,” Arnold said. “We had four turnovers on the first five possessions in the second half and I told them, ‘Just settle down, we’ve got a big lead. All we have to do is get back to being smart and playing disciplined offense and we’ll be fine.’ And they did that.”
The road doesn’t get any easier for Cathedral, though. They will hit the road Saturday to take on one of the top teams in Class 1A, Salem, who has only suffered two losses this season.
However, one of those losses was to the Green Wave.
“It is going to be a dog fight over in Salem on Saturday,” Arnold said. “We’re looking forward to it.”