The Boonville Pirates basketball team hopes to fly under the radar this season under first year coach Jesse Oswald.
While the Pirates lost over 50 ppg due to graduation, they return two starters and three letterwinners from last year’s team that finished 16-11 overall and 7-5 in the NCMC.
Oswald said the Pirates will be a different team this year. “I think we are capable of surprising a lot of different teams with how aggressive and how hard we will play,” Oswald said. I’ve got 11-12 guys who will be able to play key minutes on a nightly basis. I feel they have come in and worked hard, and hopefully we can transition that to the games when they get started.”
Oswald also knows that teams will be looking to send the Pirates out on a somber note as well this season. Boonville will leave the NCMC after 10 years to join the Tri-County Conference.
Oswald said right now everyone is currently looking up at Fulton and Kirksville.
“We have such a tough conference,” Oswald said. “Anybody can surprise anybody when they get on a run. I think Hannibal has one of the best point guards in the conference. Marshall has two really good scorers with pieces around them. Moberly has a great 1-2 punch at their guard position. Mexico has some good guards and height, and then Fulton is probably the most complete team.
“Kirksville lost a lot, but they always seem to reload up with a next man up mentality. And then there is us, who I feel could be one of the deepest teams in the conference. I think with Fulton’s experience and the way Kirksville plays, they have the biggest targets on their backs. But again, any night any team can win in our conference. That’s what makes it so fun.”
The Pirates will also play uptempo on defense as well this season.  Oswald said the way they have been locked in on defense that will be the team’s biggest strength.
“We are trying some different things and the guys are starting to buy in,” Oswald said. “Defensively, we have really improved a lot. We also have a lot of depth with 11-12 guys ready to play. That helps in practice because we have guys pushing each other constantly to get better.”
With only two starters back from last year’s team, Oswald said the Pirates will have a lot of playmakers on offense, but they are still trying to figure out the good shot/great shot mentality. Being aggressive in certain areas on offense will be some places they will struggle, he said.
Oswald also kept it simple when referring to team motto this season. He said he wants everyone to be “Family”.
“We have to realize the more we play together the better off we will be,” Oswald said.
As for the returning starters, Beaver appeared in 27 games last year and averaged 9.9 ppg along with 1.9 apg, 1.1 spg and 1.0 rpg. Beaver also led the team in three-point shooting while hitting 29 of 75 shots for 39 percent.
Oswald said he will look to Beaver to be the main scorer. “He is a triple threat when he is on the floor,” Oswald said. “He’s capable of getting inside and using great body control to score against bigger opponents and in traffic. He also has a nice mid-range game, and is one of our best three-point shooters.”
At the post position, Reardon will return for his second year as a starter after averaging 7.1 ppg along with 6.2 rpg and 1.0 spg.
Oswald said Reardon will always be the hardest, most competitive person on the floor. “If he stays out of foul trouble, he will be the anchor to our defense and a great scoring option on offense,” Oswald. “Avery has a knack for getting to loose balls and getting in the right position for rebounds.”
Rounding out the starting lineup for the Pirates are 6’-3” junior Clayton Gochenour, 6’-1” junior Semaj Clark and 5’-10” sophomore Tramell Coleman.
Oswald said Gochenour is capable of having a great year scoring if he gets more aggressive at the No. 4 position. “Clayton has put up more shots during the summer hours and worked hard than anyone on his offensive game, but I will look at him to get more aggressive and using those skills he’s acquired to be a scorer,” Oswald said.
As for Clark, Oswald said he is a playmaker.
“Semaj has started to take a lot of pride in his defense as well,” Oswald said. “I look for him to be able to create scoring opportunities not only for himself, but also his teammates. He will be capable of playing the 2-4 spots and will be tough to guard regardless of where he is at. As for Tramell, when Avian Thomas went down with an injury for the year, Tramell was asked to move over to the point guard, which is where he will start. He has been a 2 guard the majority of his career, but he is making a good transition. Tramell is going to be relied on to be a lockdown defender and get us into our offense. He is able to push the ball in transition and also get us into our sets when needed. Tramell is one of the best athletes on the floor and will be able to attack the glass and rebound.”
Other players who will contribute this season for the Pirates are seniors Brandon Johnson, Kyle Chrisman and Ethan Waibel, juniors Malik Brazil and Kellen Brownfield, sophomore Josh Chrisman and freshman Charlie Bronakowski.
Oswald said Johnson is the strongest post player who will come off the bench.
“Brandon is a good defender and is aggressive on the offensive end when he gets the ball,” Oswald said. “He will do a great job for us rebounding off the bench. As for Kyle, he is another option at the post position coming off the bench. Kyle is a very smart player who understands the game and where to be at on defense. He will be a great defensive option, and will surprise some people on the offensive end.
“Ethan, meanwhile, has been a positive surprise coming out for basketball this year. A great athlete who will be able to help at the No. 1 and 2 spots, but also takes a lot of pride in his defense and will get on the floor for any loose balls. I don’t think this kid runs out of energy, so I look for him to go hard for however long he is out there.”
Brazil and Brownfield also figure to see some minutes. With Brazil, Oswald said he is able to come in at the 1-3 and be another high energy guy. Oswald said Brazil also has a lot of pride in playing defense and will be able to lock in on other guys and shut them down.
“Malik is also a threat from the perimeter and is aggressive at attacking the basket,” Oswald said. “If he can find the open man consistently, he will find himself on the floor for extended minutes. As for Kellen, he will be able to play the 3 and 4 positions and is a smart basketball player. He has a high IQ and knows where he needs to be to be successful.”
Josh Chrisman will also come off the bench for the Pirates. Oswald said Chrisman will play at the 1 position and be a high energy guy. “Josh is not as aggressive as Coleman at attacking the basket, but is a better shooter and just as good on defense,” Oswald said. “As for Bronakowski, he has come in and played very aggressively. Although unsure about what he will do when competition starts, I view him as a varsity player, not just a freshman, and if he can stay aggressive and attack the basket and rebound like he’s capable, he will find himself getting a lot more minutes as the year goes on.”