The old say that defense wins championship couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to football. However, the Boonville Pirates basketball team appears to be taking that old saying to the next level after turning to its defense Tuesday night in a 53-41 win over Hannibal at Fred Biesemeyer Court.
While sitting at three games over the .500 mark for the season at 12-9 overall and 6-3 in the conference, the Pirates have also won five out of their last six games with just three to go.
Boonville Pirates basketball coach Scott Floyd said he couldn't be happier for the players not only for the winning streak but also for finding ways to win, especially at this point in the season.
"It's hard to win, especially late in the year but we are playing good basketball and our effort has been great," Floyd said. "We have come to embrace the defensive part of the game. When your offense struggles, if you are consistent defensively it will keep in your games."
Of course it didn't help that Boonville spotted Hannibal a 10-point lead in the opening period or that the Pirates hit on only 3 of 10 shots from the field. But then to make matters worse, Boonville also turned the ball over four times in the first-four minutes of the game.
"We've dug ourselves a hole a lot in the first quarter this season," Floyd said. "For some reason we have struggled offensively to start the game. But to turn a negative into a positive, we have also won two games this season where we have only scored two points in a quarter, so I think that shows the fight and resiliency that we have. We gave up 16 points in the first quarter against Hannibal and surrendered only 25 for the rest of the game which averages out to eight points per quarter and to me that is pretty darn good."
With just three field goals in the first-eight minutes, the Pirates came out with a little more urgency in the second quarter by outscoring Hannibal 6-1 during a four minute stretch to cut the lead to five at 17-12. Meanwhile, after a basket by freshman Dylan Powell with 3:08 left to make it 19-12, Boonville came back and reeled off seven straight points to closeout the half to tie the game at 19-all.
The Pirates also fared a little better from the field in the second quarter by hitting 5 of 8 shots.
Of course nothing change from a defensive standpoint in the third quarter, which was fairly clean from the most part by both teams. While Boonville hit on 5 of 10 shots from the field, they also took pretty good care of the ball with only two turnovers. The difference being after playing to four ties for the first-four minutes was Boonville's resiliency on the offensive end. With the score tied at 27-27 at the 2:55 mark, the Pirates came back and reeled off six unanswered points on back-to-back-to-back baskets by Tyler Peterson, Damario Walker and Jay Barnhart to make it 33-27 with 1:47 remaining.
But even that was short-lived as Hannibal closed out the period with two straight baskets by Dalton Powell and Dylan Powell to cut the lead to two at 33-31.
Of course the Pirates were also tested to the fullest in the fourth quarter as Hannibal rallied back with a one-point lead at 36-35 with 6:38 left. However, in a span of 40 seconds, Boonville went from trailing by one to lead Hannibal by five after reeling off six unanswered points on baskets by Gus Kemp and JT Washington to make it 41-36.
Hannibal would cut the lead again to two at 41-39 with 5:09 remaining. But over the next-four minutes, the Pirates dominated Hannibal with a 12-0 run to push the lead to 14 at 53-39.
Boonville also saved its best for last by outscoring Hannibal 20-10 in the final period.
As for the scoring, Gus Kemp, Damario Walker and Jay Barnhart all tied for the team-high for Boonville with 12 points each.
Kemp also finished the game with five rebounds, four steals and three assists while Walker added five rebounds and three assists and Barnhart with five rebounds and one steal.
Tyler Peterson finished the game with nine points, eight rebounds and one assist while JT Washington chipped in four points, five rebounds and one steal, Tavious Brazil with two points and one rebound and Gauge Sharp also with two points.
Boonville also finished the game hitting 24 of 47 shots from the field for 51 percent and 5 of 9 from the foul line for 56 percent. Hannibal, meanwhile, hit on 3 of 5 shots from the line for 60 percent.
Hannibal's scoring had Dylan Powell with 14 points and Dalton Powell with 11.
Boonville also won the JV game against Hannibal by a score of 57-45.
The Pirates, improving to 9-5 overall and 4-4 in the NCMC, opened the first half against Hannibal with a 31-17 lead and then outscored the Pirates 14-13 in the third to extend the lead to 15 at 45-30. However, in the fourth quarter, Hannibal rallied back with a 15-12 advantage.
Boonville JV Coach Kent Peterson said it was a good bounce back game for the boys.
"They played with a purpose tonight and really worked hard on the defensive end," stated Peterson. "I was proud of our effort and commitment to guard tonight. We didn't get rewarded as much as we deserved for our effort on that end of the floor. Offensively, I probably got in the kids way by running too many set plays and not letting them play more freely. I teased them at halftime that we turned it over when we ran set plays and made shots when we just moved the ball. All kidding aside we made a much better effort to get out in transition and it led to some easy baskets. Dre had a good night scoring 16 points and 13 rebounds. He was 6-7 from the free throw line and he has really been working on that part of his game. Clayton Lang once again shot the ball well hitting 4-9 shots from the three-point line and was 2-4 from the two-point area. He was also much more aggressive attacking the basket. Clayton gave us six big defensive rebounds. JT Washington sparked us early and scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in only two quarters of play. I am proud of all the kids. We will look to build on this against Marshall on Friday night."
DeAundre Lewis finished the game with a double-double for Boonville with 16 points and 13 rebounds along with two assists and one steal.
Clayton Lang also tossed in 16 points while grabbing six rebounds and one steal and dishing out three assists. JT Washington chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds, one steal and one assist while Bryce Fuemmeler added six points, one rebound and one assist, Alec Viertel with four points and two rebounds, Jady Reese with two points, two rebounds and one steal, Dalton Hodge with one rebound and Christian Burns with one steal.
The Pirates also finished the game hitting 21 of 49 shots from the field for 43 percent and 10 of 12 from the foul line for 83 percent.
For Hannibal, Jack Baumann and Jack Richards each had 11 points while Kael Rademan added nine.