After putting on impressive performances throughout the week against California and southern Boone of Ashland, Boonville Pirates basketball coach Scott Floyd expected no different in the third-place game against Mexico Saturday in the California Invitational Tournament.
Of course Floyd probably wasn’t expecting the Pirates to shoot only 33 percent from the field and 40 percent from the foul line against the Bulldogs in a 48-33 loss.
Despite losing two of three games in the tournament and dropping to 7-8 on the season, Floyd said he felt as though the team improved tremendously throughout the week.
“We were able to beat a good California squad and were able to compete against a gifted Southern Boone team,” Floyd said.  “The kids have to continue to work hard in practice and improve and we should be OK heading into the meat of the conference schedule.”
Of course a 13-2 run in the first quarter was basically the difference in the game, according to Floyd said. But even then the Pirates still managed to make a game of it while rallying back with a 10-9 advantage in the second quarter to cut the lead to eight at 24-16 at the break.
While entering the tournament state-ranked, the Bulldogs came out ice cold in the third quarter while Boonville connected on its first-three shots on baskets by freshman Tavious Brazil and junior Tyler Peterson to cut the lead to two at 24-22 with 6:34 left.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, they never got any closer in the ballgame as Mexico once again flexed its muscles in the paint while outscoring Boonville 14-6 for the remainder of the period to lead by 10 at 38-28.
Floyd said Mexico sported a pair of 6’-5” post players and it made it difficult for the Pirates to score in the post and finish on fast breaks.
“It also allowed Mexico to keep us off the offensive boards,” Floyd said. “Though Mexico pressed, we found it difficult to get to the rim in transition, which is our strength.  Defensively I thought we did a nice job defending the sets and keeping Mexico out of their transition game.”
While finishing the third quarter with back-to-back baskets, the Bulldogs came out and also reeled off six straight points in the fourth period to extend the lead to 16 at 44-28 with 4:07 left. Boonville never got any closer than 14 points for the rest of the game despite outscoring the Bulldogs 5-4.
Jake Willer had 12 points and Jon Anderson 10 for Mexico.
For Boonville, Jay Barnhart was the only player in double figures with 13 points, four rebounds and one steal.
Damario Walker finished the game with six points, five rebounds and two assists while Tavious Brazil added six points, two rebounds and one steal, Gus Kemp with four points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals and Tyler Peterson with four points, four rebounds and one assist.
The Boonville Pirates basketball team will travel to Hannibal for a conference game on Tuesday  starting at 6 p.m. Then, on Friday, Jan. 18, the Pirates will host the Kirksville Tigers in NCMC action at the Windsor gymnasium starting at 6.