Will play Palmyra in sectional playoffs Wednesday at Mexico High School starting at 6 p.m.
After clinching the Class 3 District 8 title Friday night with a 55-33 win over the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons in Wardsville, Boonville Lady Pirates basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker said he really didn’t think a district title would come this fast.
He said after finishing 7-18 last year, the girls have been motivated since last year and stayed with the process.
“I knew this day would come but I didn’t know how quick it would come but to be 25-3 after finishing 7-18 last year I couldn’t be happier for this group.”
Although this was the teams first district title since the 2005 season, the Lady Pirates will have little time to celebrate. Come Wednesday, Boonville will travel east of I-70 and north on 54, where they will face 26-2 Palmyra in a sectional game at Mexico High School starting at 6 p.m. The Lady Panthers captured the Class 3 District 7 title Saturday at Highland High School by beating the Brookfield Bulldogs 50-46.
Hunziker said Palmyra is on a mission after losing to North Tech in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament last year.
The winner of the Boonville-Palmyra game will advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 8 at Moberly Area Community College starting at 6 p.m.
As for the game Friday night against Blair Oaks, junior Olivia Imhoff said the team knew the crowd would be tough. “We knew what they had and what we had to do to shut them down and I thought we did a good job with that tonight,” Imhoff said. “Winning the district title feels awesome. It hasn’t happened in a while and we are proud of the work we put in and everything else.”
Junior Morgan Edwards, who had a double-double on the night with 18 points and 10 rebounds, said it feels amazing to win a district title. “I just want to keep it going,” Edwards said. “I thought we started off a little slow and finally got our defense working so it transitioned into the offense and got us moving.”
While shooting 64 percent from the field for the game and 63 percent from the foul line, the Lady Pirates couldn’t have had a worse start while scoring only four points in the opening period.
Of course it didn’t help that Boonville closed out the quarter hitting only 2 of 11 shots from the field or that they committed five turnovers in the period.
Blair Oaks may have had something to do with the turnovers or the 8-0 run to closeout the first quarter to go up 9-4.
Hunziker admitted that his team struggled a little bit in the first period.
“We kind of got good and then we kind of struggled shooting and stuff,” Hunziker said. “We just had to relax and that’s what I told the girls. The game plan going in and we knew this that they were a guard heavy team. They don’t have much of an inside presence; kind of like the first time we played them. I just told the girls to get a hand up and contest those shots and make them put it on the floor and take away the threes. I thought the girls did a great job really contesting shots. I knew just like the other night that we needed to relax a little bit, knock down a couple of shots and be more aggressive with the defense because that usually carries over to the offense.”
It worked in the second quarter as Boonville forced Blair Oaks to be one dimensional. While forcing the Lady Falcons into five turnovers, Boonville also turned a five-point deficit into a two-point lead at 18-16 after back-to-back threes by Imhoff and freshman Hannah Fuemmeler with 3:32 left.
The Lady Pirates also had their best quarter in the second period. While hitting on 7 of 10 shots from the field for 70 percent, Boonville also outscored Blair Oaks 22-10 to lead at the half by a score of 26-19.
But even then the Lady Falcons kept the game close with the score tied at 18-all with 3:15 left. However over the final three minutes of the half, Boonville went on a 8-1 run to lead by seven.
Hunziker said the second quarter gave them a little bit of a cushion going into halftime. “I knew they would make a run in the second half so it was just a matter of us withstanding those runs,” Hunziker said. “I thought we did a good job of attacking their zone and getting the ball in the post. Paige Renfrow stepped up when we needed her, but it was a whole team effort like always.”
While Imhoff led the Lady Pirates in the first half with seven points, Edwards took over the game in the second half with six of the team’s 13 points in the third quarter and eight in the final period.
Of course it helped that Boonville hit on 5 of 11 shots from the field in the third quarter to lead Blair Oaks 39-30. The Lady Pirates also turned up the heat on defense in the second half while holding Blair Oaks to a total of 14 points.
“We talked about getting stops on defense in the second half and then towards the fourth quarter we weren’t trying to stall or anything, we were just looking for good shots,” Hunziker said.
Freshman Paige Renfrow also caught fire in the second half with five points in the third quarter. Renfrow and Edwards then took over in the final period with back-to-back baskets and then four straight to up the lead to 16 at 47-31 with 3:53 left.
The Lady Falcons never got any closer than 12 in the final period as Boonville closed out the final three minutes and 28 seconds on a 8-0 run to win by 22.
The Lady Pirates also converted on 7 of 10 shots from the field in the final period while outscoring Blair Oaks 16-3.
Hunziker said after the game that he thought the girls did a better job trying to put together four quarters. “The other night it was pretty much about 2-3 quarters and we kind of let Southern Boone go on that run,” Hunziker said. “Tonight we talked about how we need to be consistent in the postseason because from now on it’s survive and advance.”
Edwards finished the game for Boonville with 18 points and 10 rebounds along with one steal and one assist.
Paige Renfrow also hit the double-digit mark with 10 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists while Aly Wessing added 10 points, five rebounds and two steals, Olivia Imhoff with seven points, two steals, one rebound and one assist, Paige Peterson with five points, three rebounds and one steal, Hannah Fuemmeler with three points, two steals and two assists, Cassidy Renfrow with two points, two rebounds, one steal and one assist and Millie Moyer with one rebound, one steal and one assist.
For Blair Oaks, Polowy led the Lady Falcons with nine points while Jones and Viessman chipped in five points each.