Will play Fulton for the fourth time this season on Thursday starting at 6 p.m.
The Boonville Pirates basketball team may want to buy a horseshoe after Tuesday’s thrilling 58-56 win over the Fatima Comets in the opening round of the Southern Boone Classic in Ashland.
While trailing pretty much the entire game against the Comets, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, the Pirates got the bounce they were looking for when senior Nick Zeitlow scored on a putback at the buzzer for the two-point victory.
Of course it doesn’t get any easier for Boonville, who will now face No. 2 Fulton in the semifinal round on Thursday. The Hornets, who are 2-1 against Boonville this season, defeated California in a No. 2 versus No. 7 matchup 58-43. In other games on Tuesday, No. 1 Southern Boone beat eighth-seeded Linn 84-70 while No. 4 Hallsville upended fifth-seeded Harrisburg 76-61.
Boonville Pirates basketball coach Scott Floyd said Fatima took the Pirates out of their offensive flow.
“They put extreme pressure on our guards forcing them away from the basket,” Floyd said. “At times we were unable to get into our offensive sets, plus Fatima did a nice job in the first half of breaking down our defense in transition to get easy baskets. Fatima, like we expected, was very physical but I thought we responded better in the second half to their physicality by rebounding a lot better.
“As it has been the case in a number of games this year, we found ourselves trailing by double digits in the second half but our kids expect to win. We did not buckle under the pressure and were able to come out on top in a hard fought game. Hats off to Fatima for a good game plan and for playing hard. But in the end our size and willingness to hit the offensive glass won the game for us. It certainly wasn’t a pretty game, but we won, and for that I am extremely happy for our kids. As a team we have to expect these type of games, but our kids are mentally tough and are able to fight through adversity.”
The Pirates definitely had adversity in this game while trailing Fatima 17-11 after first period’s end and 30-27 at the break.
Although the Comets went in at the half up three, Boonville asserted itself a little more in the second quarter with a 16-13 advantage. However that all changed in the third period as Fatima extended its lead back to 46-37.
Floyd said the Pirates were down by as much as 12 points at one point in the third quarter and trailed by eight entering the fourth.
Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter, Boonville took the lead at 52-50 with under a minute remaining but a three by Fatima put them up 54-51 with 45 seconds remaining. Floyd said senior Riley Lang then hit a three to tie the game with 26 seconds left. Then, after a Boonville foul, a Comets player converted on both free throws to put Fatima up by two. Floyd said Boonville then scored again to tie the game at 56-all and then there was an inadvertent foul that sent Fatima back to the line. The Comets missed the free throw, Floyd said, and allowed Boonville to race the ball up the court where Ryan Beaver missed a 10 foot shot only to have Avery Reardon miss a putback. But on the third attempt, Floyd said Zeitlow got a second rebound on the possession and scored on another putback with no time remaining to give the Pirates the win.
Senior Riley Lang led all scorers for Boonville with 27 points along with eight rebounds and two assists.
Alec Adair had 12 points, four assists and one rebound while Ryan Beaver added seven points, four assists and one rebound, Avery Reardon six points, seven rebounds and one assist, Nick Zeitlow four points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals and Brandon Johnson with two points.
The Pirates also finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from the foul line. Fatima hit on 8 of 15 shots from the line for 53 percent.
For Fatima, Steven Brandt had 20 points.