Boonville Pirates basketball coach Jesse Oswald called Monday night’s 91-89 win over the California Pintos a fun first game to be part of.
Luckily it was twice as much fun for the Pirates than the Pintos as both teams combined for 180 points in 32 minutes of basketball.
“I felt our guys came out with a lot of intensity and you could tell they were ready,” Oswald said. “It was a typical first game in that we played with a lot of fire and passion, but we also made early season mistakes. Looking at the score you would think there wasn’t a lot of defense played on either end, but they really pushed the tempo tonight and created a lot of possessions.
“Offensively we played great in spurts and then we would turn the ball over three or four times leading to easy buckets for them. When they weren’t forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets, and we forced them to run an offense, I thought we played great defensively. We were forcing a lot of outside shots and when we rebounded we ran out and got some scores. When we set up in a half-court offense we attacked their defense and kind of had them scrambling a bit.”
The game was definitely a shootout at times, with Boonville holding the lead at the end of each quarter. The Pirates led California 18-13 after one and 47-34 at the half but had it cut to seven in the third quarter at 61-54.
The Pintos held a 20-14 advantage in the third and then made it really interesting in the fourth by outscoring Boonville 35-30.
After playing California three times last year, Oswald said the Pirates held a sizeable lead in two of the games in the second half and they battled back and made it close.
“At halftime my message was to not start off slow and allow them to get back into the game, but that’s exactly what we did,” Oswald said. “Credit to California because they picked up the intensity and pressure on defense. They were able to tie it up shortly after halftime with some full court pressure and forced turnovers. We re-grouped and we started to break their pressure doing what we needed to do, and when we did, we scored.
“Both teams started going back and forth with different runs, and we were finally able to regain a lead permanently going up between eight and 12 for the final three or four minutes of the game and holding them off.  Intensity, fire, and passion was there tonight, but we also made the first game mistakes that allowed them to stay in it, and prevented us from putting them away. Luckily we have a smart, dedicated team and we can learn from this game and improve.”
Seniors Ryan Beaver and Avery Reardon each tossed in 20 to lead the Pirates, 1-0 on the season. Clayton Gochenour finished the game with 13 while Tramell Coleman added 12, Charlie Bronakowski seven off the bench, Josh Chrisman and Ethan Waibel each with six, Semaj Clark five and Kyle Chrisman with two.
For California, who dropped to 0-2, Jordan Geiser tallied 29 points while Isaac Ash chipped in 21.
In the JV game, California defeated Boonville in another close game by a score of 51-48.
The Pirates trailed California 33-29 at the half and 45-40 after three quarters of play before outscoring the Pintos 8-6 in the fourth to cut the lead to three.
Boonville JV coach Brock Hill said not the start they wanted to the season.  
“We really struggled with turnovers and late game execution,” Hill said. “We had several chances at the end of the game to make something happen and ended up with costly turnovers.  Overall, I was proud of the effort we gave.  We fought and stuck with them the whole game.  We just weren’t able to take care of the ball and make plays late in the game when we needed to.”
Jordan Bondurant had 16 points and Kraig Walker 11 for California.
For Boonville, Charlie Bronakowski finished the game with 22 points. Nick Ferrari chipped in eight, Sam Esser seven, Nathan Platt four, Gabe Lorenz three and Tyler Schuster and Tayshaun Bledsoe each with two.
In the freshmen game, Boonville won 56-35 against the Pintos.
The Pirates, 1-0 on the season, battled California to a 16-16 tie at the half but then outscored the Pintos 40-19 in the final two periods.
Boonville freshmen coach Paul Moore said being that this was the first game of the season, the first half was a little rough.  
“We weren’t as aggressive defensively as we needed to be, and we couldn’t knock down shots on offense,” Moore said. “California was also very aggressive on the offense boards, which caused us to give up a lot of second or third chance points and get in foul trouble early.  It seemed like we were playing a little nervous, and we just needed to calm down and play our game.  We made some adjustments at halftime, and I thought the boys played much better in the second half.  
“We were more under control, taking good shots, and playing at a much higher tempo.  I thought Lane did a tremendous job when we put him at the point guard position.  He is very long and athletic, which allowed him to beat the pressure off the dribble and create looks for his teammates.  Saylor did a great job finishing around the rim and being physical, and I thought Tyree did a nice job coming off the bench and giving us a spark that we needed.  This is one of the most athletic groups I’ve had, and I think we can use that to our advantage going forward.”
Saylor Marquez had the game-high for Boonville with 16 points. Lane West chipped in 14 while Tyree Walters added eight, Kayle Rice and Cody Garner six each, Axton Nease four and Gabe Greis with two.
California was led by Jackson Rutledge with eight points.