After a slow start in the opening period Saturday against North Callaway in the third place game in the Centralia Invitational Tournament, the Boonville Pirates basketball team caught fire from the field in the second and third quarter.
That alone propelled the Pirates past the Thunderbirds 67-59 to closeout the tournament at 2-1. For the season, Boonville is 3-3 with two close losses to Centralia and one against Mexico-all on the road.
As for the game against North Callaway, Boonville head coach Jesse Oswald said it was nice to pull out a close game but wishes the boys would have put them away when they had the chance.
“I had a nervous feeling at one point late in the game when they went on their run that we would be experiencing deja vu with our last two games against Centralia,” Oswald said. “Fortunately we were able to make some plays down the stretch to keep our lead. At one point we were up by as many as 14 and they cut it down to three, but we had some guys step up and make some big plays. We want to take a piece of hardware away from every tournament and then build on it and that’s what we did this week. Hopefully we have grown as a team and we can learn to start closing out these close games.
“We had a lot of guys step up their level of play tonight and everyone kind of fed off of each other. Clayton Gochenour finally stepped out of his shell and knocked down some key three point shots when we needed them. Ryan Beaver played an efficient offensive game and really opened up things for the rest of the team as the game went on and they concentrated on him. Avery Reardon picked up another double-double, but the one person who I thought made a huge impact on the game, but it won’t show in the stat line was Ethan Waibel. Ethan played some key minutes and he came up with a huge steal and layup as soon as he was thrown into action with about 7 seconds left in the third quarter. That really got him hyped up and the rest of the team fed off his energy and our defense seemed to really pick up.”
The game definitely had its ups and downs. Take the first quarter for example. While trailing for pretty much the entire period, Boonville rallied back with a two from senior Avery Reardon and a three from sophomore Tramell Coleman to go up by one at 9-8.
Then, in the second quarter, North Callaway opened the period with a two to lead 10-9 only to have Boonville rally back with five straight on a basket by Josh Chrisman and a three by Ryan Beaver to push the lead to four at 14-10 with 6:11 left.
The Pirates never trailed again in the game while outscoring North Callaway 17-13 in the second to lead at the half 26-21. Boonville also held a 18-13 advantage in the third quarter to lead by 10 at 44-34. However it wasn’t without a few tense moments as the Thunderbirds rallied back to tie the game at 29-all after reeling off eight straight. Luckily for Boonville, they found their touch toward the end of the period by outscoring the Thunderbirds 9-1.
Junior Clayton Gochenour also picked it up on the offensive end in the fourth with back to back threes to extend the lead to 14 at 50-36 with 6:46 left. However after going on a 6-0 run during a two minute stretch to cut the lead to eight at 50-42, the Thunderbirds did one better by making it a three point ballgame at 62-59 with 44 seconds remaining.
North Callaway never got any closer after that as Boonville went on a 6-0 run with a three-point play by Reardon and four straight points by Gochenour to seal the victory.
“At halftime we talked about creating more possessions for ourselves and not giving up offensive rebounds or turning the ball over,” Oswald said. “We are an efficient scoring ballclub, but we either turn the ball over or give them extended possessions with offensive rebounds and it allows them to cut into our lead.”
All in all, Oswald said he couldn’t be more proud of the way the boys came in and battled.
“I was nervous we would have a letdown after such a hard fought game against an extremely good Centralia team that went toe to toe with a state-ranked Hallsville team and lost a close one late to them. And although we started off slow, I thought we got comfortable pretty quick with their zone and started attacking where we needed to.”
Ryan Beaver led four players in double figures for Boonville with 19 points along with two assists and one rebound.
Avery Reardon finished the game with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Clayton Gochenour had 12 points and seven boards while Josh Chrisman added 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, Tramell Coleman five points, Semaj Clark three points and three assists, Charlie Bronakowski three points and two rebounds and Kyle Chrisman with one rebound, one steal and one assist.
The Pirates also finished the game shooting 44 percent from the field and 56 percent from the foul line.
For North Callaway, Tanner Pezold had 15 points and Dawson Wright with 11.
In other games on Saturday, the Hallsville Indians defeated Centralia in the championship game 70-62. Meanwhile, in the consolation finals, Harrisburg beat Salisbury 77-56.
Note: Boonville senior Ryan Beaver was the only selection for the Pirates to the all-tournament team.
Other players named to the all-tournament team were Ethan Thompson, Luke Hicks and Grahm Moser of Hallsville, John Durant and Nick Brooks of Centralia, Cade Combs and Cody Karl of Harrisburg and Tanner Pezold and Coy Dannison of North Callaway.