Boonville Pirates basketball coach Scott Floyd said it wouldn’t be fair to judge this year’s team on win-loss record.
While returning only two players with any varsity experience, Floyd knew from the start of the season that his team may take a few lumps here and there. But he also knew that by gaining experience this year from the younger class that Boonville would be set for years to come.
As it turned out, the Pirates struggled throughout the season by finishing 4-19 overall and 4-8 in the NCMC.
“There is no doubt that this was a disappointing season in terms of wins and losses but I don’t think we should judge this team on that,” Floyd said. “I think we should judge the team on the fact that they improved throughout the season and were very competitive as the season went on.
“It’s very tough when you have to compete with our schedule and in our conference basically with two kids who had varsity experience. I was proud of the way that they finished out the season and improved as the season went on.”
While finishing in a two-way tie for fifth in the NCMC with Marshall, who the Pirates swept this year, Floyd said the conference was probably the most balanced it has been in the last-four years.
Although only three teams had winning records in the NCMC (Mexico 10-2, Moberly 9-3, Kirksville 8-4), Floyd said you could never figure out who was going to win from night to night. Floyd commented further that the good thing about the conference this year is that 12 out of the 14 kids that were selected to both all-conference teams are back.
“We were 4-8 in the conference but there was one game where we lost in overtime and one where we lost by one and both those teams finished second and third in the NCMC,” Floyd said. “I know Fulton finished 1-11 but they won against Moberly, who wound up finishing second our in conference.”
Floyd also pointed out how close the Pirates were this season. He said there were eight games where Boonville lost by six or less and 10 games within nine points.
The Pirates also opened the 2013-14 season with a thriller by beating the Marshall Owls on a last-second shot 69-66. However wins were few and in-between after that as Boonville dropped its next-seven games before going on the road to beat the Fulton Hornets 78-69 in probably one of its best games of the season.
Floyd said it was frustrating in that they could never pinpoint which quarter they were going to have a bad quarter.
“At the beginning of the year we started out slow in the first quarter then later in the year it was a third-quarter problem and we kept trying to adjust,” Floyd said. “I think a lot of it just had to do with our inexperience at times and not being able to consistently put together a full 32 minutes and then of course confidence comes in there, too.
“The fact that we couldn’t get over the hump hurt us. Confidence weighed big this year. You always feel like if we could have put together a 2-3 game run, it didn’t happen I understand that, but confidence is a big thing, especially with 15-17-year-old kids and we lacked that this year.”
Floyd was also pleasantly surprised by the team’s attitude this season. He said while they wanted to win badly and worked hard in practice every night, their effort never wavered.
“That was a very pleasant surprise to be honest with you,” Floyd said. “They kept coming in and wanting to win a game. They were just hungry to win. Their effort was also very consistent and again you hope that is going to be positive moving forward and that wins will come later on down the line.”
Floyd also realizes that in order to turn those losses into wins next season the Pirates will have to cut down on their turnovers and do a better job defensively.
For the season, Boonville finished with 324 turnovers for an average of 14.08 turnovers per game. The Pirates also allowed their opponents a total of 1,560 points for an average of 67.82 ppg. Boonville, meanwhile, scored only 1,347 points for an average of 58.56 ppg.
“There were two things in particular and it is something we will address as soon as we hit the court in November,” Floyd said. “Turnovers at crucial times throughout the game I thought hurt us. We also had turnovers that were made in flurries which caused some of those bad quarters and then I think we have to do a lot better job defensively. Really we just have to get down and get gritty and commit to playing better defense.”
With only four wins on the season, Floyd said there wasn’t one particular moment. He said he is very proud of the fact that Boonville won four conference game and that they swept two teams.
“I was proud of how we competed against the conference teams because I have a lot of respect for our conference and I have a lot of respect for our conference coaches,” Floyd said.
“However, if I had to pick a game that stood out it was probably the season opener against Marshall just because it was exciting for the players and fans. That was probably the most memorable just because of the shot.”
As far as long point, Floyd said it was the fact that they couldn’t get over the hump and string together wins.
“It is extremely tough to keep battling and practicing and coming in each day and working hard and then not seeing the results that you want,” Floyd said.
With four starters back next year, Floyd said you would like to think that with all the experience returning that Boonville should be able to compete in the conference.
“Actually we have six starters back because we had guys that we rotated a lot,” Floyd said. “What lies ahead as a coach you are not really sure. You would like to think that we return a lot of kids that got a lot of varsity experience that had never had varsity experience before. You would also like to think that we are going to get bigger physically and more mature and that we will be able to compete and you hope that through the summer that you are going to improve on your skills, which a lot of these kids didn’t have a chance to do until last summer.”
Confidence also plays a big role in one year to the next. With only 16 wins in the last-two years, Floyd said this team just needs some confidence.
“I think first of all we need to have a winning record,” Floyd said. “We need to get over the hump, start winning and put together 2-3 successful seasons where we win more than we lose and I think that will help, but it’s just getting to that point. It is still going to be tough next year, but the one thing that we do have is that we have kids who can score and that is hard to coach. I would be disappointed if we don’t improve absolutely.”
For the season, senior Tyler Peterson led the Pirates with 402 points for an average of 17.5 ppg along with 74 assists for 3.2 apg. Sophomore Tavious Brazil, meanwhile, closed out the season with 238 rebounds for 10.3 rpg and 52 blocked shots for 2.3 bspg. He also led the team in field goal percentage by hitting 155 of 273 shots for 57 percent. Junior Clayton Lang led the team in steals with 25 for 1.1 apg while freshman Riley Lang hit on 25 of 57 shots from the three-point arc for 44 percent. Last but not least, sophomore Bryce Fuemmeler was the team leader at the free-throw line while hitting 32 of 46 shots for 70 percent.