Finish 2-1 in tournament play at California

The Boonville Pirates basketball team couldn’t have picked a better time to pull away from St. Elizabeth Saturday in the consolation finals of the California Invitational Tournament.
What seemed like an uphill battle from the opening tip, the Pirates put it all together when it counted the most by outscoring the Hornets 23-18 in the final period for a 64-59 victory.
While the Pirates finished the tournament at 2-1 and improved to 6-8 on the season, head coach Jesse Oswald said things started coming together late offensively, after the Pirates struggled putting the ball in the basket early on.
“It wasn’t what St. Elizabeth was doing to us,” Oswald said. “It appeared we had a hard time finishing shots. Defensively, we had our ups and downs. We forced a lot of turnovers, but also gave them easy shots where we got out of position, and extra opportunities on offensive rebounds late to keep the game close. It was nice to be able to come out of the tournament with two wins after a tough loss to Fatima. On top of that, this game stayed close the entire game, and we were able to take the lead late and hang on to it, which is something we haven’t been able to do in these situations.”
Of course the Pirates also killed themselves with turnovers in the first half with 12 while committing just two for the rest of the game.
Nonetheless, the Pirates kept the game close against St. Elizabeth while trailing by just three (15-12) after first period’s end. And while the lead never swelled to more than four points for the first eight minutes, it was Boonville with a 4-0 lead to start the game after back-to-back baskets by senior Ryan Beaver and Semaj Clark.
St. Elizabeth’s biggest lead of the quarter came on the final basket at the buzzer by sophomore Coltin Green to make it 15-12.
Of course the second quarter was more to Boonville’s liking as the Pirates outscored St. Elizabeth 17-15 to cut the lead to one at 30-29.
While the Hornets led by as much as seven on three occasions in the second, Boonville found its way back each time while tying the game at 29-all thanks to a 7-0 run with 1:03 left.
As for the third quarter, the Pirates matched St. Elizabeth with 11 and held a 33-32 lead after two free throws by Beaver with 3:54 left. However for the rest of the period, the Hornets outscored Boonville 9-7 to lead by one at 41-40.
Junior Clayton Gochenour got hot at the right time for Boonville by scoring the final four points over a span of 37 seconds.
Gochenour also hit a big three to start the fourth quarter to give the Pirates the lead at 43-1 and then was part of a 7-0 run during a two minute stretch to push the lead to six at 51-45 with 2:38 remaining.
St. Elizabeth never got any closer than three points for the rest of the game while Boonville led by as much as seven on three different occasions.
The Hornets had the lead down to three at 56-53 after a lane violation gave St. Elizabeth another shot at the line with 39.7 seconds left. Josh Chrisman and Beaver then combined to hit four straight shots from the foul line to push the lead to seven at 60-53.
Clark and freshman Charlie Bronakowski were also perfect from the line in the final 17 seconds to secure the win.
Beaver led all scorers for Boonville with 22 points along with six rebounds and two assists.
Gochenour finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds while Clark added 11 points, three assists and two rebounds, Avery Reardon six points, nine rebounds and one assist, Chrisman four points, three assists and one rebound, Malik Brazil four points and three rebounds, Bronakowski four points and one rebound and Kellen Brownfield and Tramell Coleman each with one assist.
For the game, the Pirates shot 38 percent from the field and 67 percent from the foul line.
For St. Elizabeth, Ross Struemph had 26 points.