The Boonville Pirates basketball team couldn’t have played any better Tuesday night in the opening round of the California Invitational Tournament.
As the No. 5 seed, Boonville blistered the nets for a season-high 71 points while shooting 54 percent from the field to beat fourth-seeded California by a score of 71-44.
The Pirates, 7-6 on the season, will now face top-seeded Southern Boone of Ashland in the semifinal round on Thursday, Jan. 10 starting at 8 p.m.
In other games last night in the tournament, No. 2 Mexico turned back No. 7 Versailles 79-52 while third-seeded Fatima beat sixth-seeded Fulton by a score of 72-35.
Tournament action will continue on Thursday, with Versailles and Fulton playing at 5 p.m., followed by Mexico versus Fatima at 6:30 and Boonville and Southern Boone in the finale.
Boonville Pirates basketball coach Scott Floyd said this was his team’s best 32 minutes of basketball this year.
“We combined hot shooting with outstanding defense to win this game,” Floyd said. “Tyler Peterson got off to a hot start in the game and had 10 first quarter points while connecting on two three-point buckets.  Damario Walker also added 10 points in the opening half to help in the cause.  We had some very productive practices over the holiday break and it showed tonight.  I thought our kids were tuned in both offensively and defensively and committed to the game plan.  It was extremely gratifying to start out the 2013 part of the season in a positive manner after dropping three straight games to closeout the first half of the season.  The kids are getting better as a team and it showed tonight.”
Of course it didn’t hurt that Boonville jumped out to a 13-1 lead in the first quarter. However after taking a 22-5 advantage into the second quarter, the Pirates picked up where they left off by outscoring the Pintos again by a margin of 13-6 to lead at the half by a score of 35-11.
Needless to say the second half was a carbon copy of the first-two quarters as Boonville held a 37-33 advantage to win the game by 26.
As for the scoring in the game, senior Damario Walker led four players in double figures for Boonville with 18 points. He also had six assists, five steals and two rebounds.
Jay Barnhart finished the game with a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds along with three assists and two steals.
Tyler Peterson also had 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in the game while Tavious Brazil added 11 points, four rebounds and one steal, Gus Kemp with nine points, four rebounds and one steal, JT Washington with two points and one assist, Jashon Hockaday also with two points and Bryce Fuemmeler with one point.
California, Conner George tossed in 16 points.
While everything pretty much went Boonville’s way in this season, the one aspect they will have to work on before the next game is free-throw line. While California finished the game shooting 64 percent from the line, Boonville made only 5 of 12 shots for 42 percent.