The Boonville Pirates basketball team learned firsthand that shooting only 18 percent from the three-point arc and 22 percent from the foul line probably wasn’t going to get it done Tuesday night against Hallsville in the opening round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament at Ashland.
Although the Pirates wound up shooting 40 percent from the field for the game, head coach Scott Floyd said his team struggled shooting the ball while missing several layups. Hallsville, meanwhile, converted on five three-point shots and 8 of 14  attempts from the foul line for a 55-49 victory and a spot in the semifinals against top-seeded Blair Oaks.
The Falcons defeated Centralia Tuesday night by a score of 61-42 while No. 2 Southern Boone escaped with a 54-51 win over Versailles. No. 3 Eugene also won in a shootout against California 84-80.
Blair Oaks and Hallsville will square off on Thursday in the semifinal round starting at 6 p.m., while Southern Boone battles Eugene at 7:30.
On the girls side of the bracket tonight, top-seeded Blair Oaks will face Centralia at 6 p.m. while California battles Versailles at 7:30.
While the loss closed out Boonville’s season at 12-13 overall, Floyd said all in all he though the Pirates had a great year.
“I was proud of how we came back from a 4-8 conference finish last year to go 6-6 in the rugged NCMC,” Floyd said. “The seniors in Damario, Jay, Gus and Jashon will be sorely missed, but we have some young guys that played some valuable varsity minutes this year along with the fact that we have some good JV players that are expected to step into some varsity roles next year. We have to get back to work over the summers, come together as a team and work hard once the fall rolls around. I can’t wait.”
Floyd was probably thinking otherwise after watching Hallsville go up by six at 28-22 at the break.
Of course it didn’t go sour until the final minute of the half. After tying the game at 22-all with 1:34 left, the Pirates took some time off defensively while allowing Hallsville to come back and hit back-to-back threes to lead by six.
In the first quarter, the Pirates played Hallsville almost even while trailing by just three at 14-11 despite turning the ball over six times and allowing the Indians to go on a 7-0 run during a two-minute stretch. While out-rebounding Hallsville 9-4 in the period, Boonville also hit on 5 of 9 shots from the field.
The third quarter was just as close as the first-two periods with Boonville outscoring Hallsville 14-13. But even while hitting 6 of 11 shots from the field, the Pirates would get no closer than four points after a three by senior Gus Kemp to cut the lead to 36-32 with 2:04 left.
Hallsville, meanwhile, led by as much as nine on two different occasions in the third period at 32-23 with 5:51 left and 41-32 with 48 seconds remaining.
Trailing 41-36 after three quarters of play, the Pirates still had an outside chance to knock off the Indians  but that was thrown out the window after Hallsville came out and reeled off six straight points to start the final period to extend the lead to 11 at 47-36.
Of course it didn’t help that Boonville started the fourth quarter 0 for 5 from the field. Nonetheless, after cutting the lead to seven at 49-42 with 3:40 left, the Pirates watched Hallsville rally back again to push the lead back up to 10 at 53-43 and 55-45. Then, in the final 30 seconds, Boonville senior Damario Walker scored on back-to-back baskets to make it a six-point ballgame.
Floyd said if his team hits some of those shots or free throws they missed early on, they are in the game.
“We expended a lot of energy trying to get back in the game and I thought we ran out of gas at the end,” Floyd said. “Defensively, I thought we did a good job in holding their leading scorers in check, but we let some guys loose on the perimeter and Hallsville was able to connect on some threes to distance themselves and keep a comfortable cushion.”
Brandon Beatty led three players in double figures for Hallsville with 14 points while Ryan Long and Sean Wooten added 10 each.
For Boonville, Walker had 13 points along with seven rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Gus Kemp finished the game with nine points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist while Tyler Peterson added nine points, three rebounds and one assist, Tavious Brazil with eight points and 10 rebounds, Jay Barnhart with eight points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist and JT Washington with two points, three rebounds and one assist.