After dropping a heartbreaker the night before against Kansas City O’Hara in the California Invitational Tournament, the Boonville Pirates basketball team had to face yet another red-hot team in the Fulton Hornets on Thursday for third place.
Having split with the Hornets during the regular season with each team winning at home, Boonville Pirates basketball coach Scott Floyd said the Hornets were also on a roll with six wins in their last seven games.
As it turned out, the Hornets had just enough in the fourth quarter to beat Boonville for the second time in as many weeks by a score of 71-62.
While the loss dropped Boonville to 10-4 on the season, three losses which have come in the last-two weeks, Floyd said he knew coming in that Fulton was going to be tough.
“Once again we started out really well by leading 18-13 after the first quarter and leading at half by the score of 32-28,” Floyd said.  “We actually built a seven point cushion in the third but we were unable to maintain the lead.  Fulton went on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 55-all in the fourth.  On back to back possessions we had an opportunity to take the lead again but a missed shot on the first possession and a turnover on the second possession was all Fulton needed to take the lead and hang on for the win.”
The Pirates definitely had their chances against Fulton while leading by as much as eight points (16-8) in the first quarter. But even then the Hornets kept the game close while cutting the lead to five at 18-13 after one quarter.
Of course Fulton flipped the scoring in the second quarter by holding a 15-14 advantage to cut the lead to four (32-28) at the break.
Floyd said after leading for most of the first half, the Pirates have shown a tendency early in the season to give up leads.
“At times throughout the season we have been able to counter other team’s runs but tonight I felt we were mentally and physically drained from the night before against O’Hara,” Floyd said. “We weren’t as sharp offensively.  Fulton tried to switch up defenses on us.  The kids were able to get into the right offensive sets but our shots would not fall, especially late in the contest.  
“Fulton, at times, was able to slip behind our zone for easy looks and as the game wore on, they were also able to exploit their ability to get to the rim.  We came out flat tonight and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
While holding a four-point lead at the break, the Pirates again fell a little bit short in the scoring column in the third period. Although Boonville led by as much as seven after reeling off five straight to go up 42-35, the Hornets would rally back with six unanswered points during a minute stretch to cut the lead to one at 44-43 with 1:56 left. However after 24 minutes, Boonville and Fulton stood tied at 46-all.
The Pirates also had a chance in the final period while leading 53-52 with 4:50 left. However after rallying back to tie the game at 55-all, Fulton went on a 6-0 run to push the lead to six at 61-55.
Boonville never got any closer than four points for the rest of the game as Fulton outscored the Pirates 10-7 down the stretch for the victory.
Camron Vaughn led three players in double figures for Fulton with 20 points. Makygh Galbreath chipped in 18 while Justin Adams added 14.
For Boonville, Riley Lang had 25 points and four rebounds. Alec Adair tossed in 22 points, six rebounds and three steals while Avery Reardon added 11 points and 11 rebounds, Nick Zeitlow two points, 12 rebounds and three assists, Ryan Beaver with two points, Clayton Gochenour with two rebounds and Dylan Watson with one assist.
Boonville also finished the game hitting 25 of 59 shots from the field for 42 percent and 7 of 12 from the foul line for 58 percent. Fulton made 15 of 22 shots from the foul line for 68 percent.
Floyd said the Pirates will face another tough three game week next week as they travel to Hannibal and Kirksville along with a tough game against No. 3 ranked Southern Boone in the MFA Shootout next Sunday.  “As I have stated before, playing against these tough teams will make us better toward the end of the season and into district play,” Floyd said.
Note: Boonville seniors Riley Lang and Alec Adair were named to the All-Tournament team selected by the participating coaches.

Boonville returns to action next week as they travel to Hannibal on Tuesday, January 17 to take on the Pirates.