The one spot on the floor that failed the Boonville Pirates basketball team so miserably in the fourth quarter turned out to be its best friend in overtime Tuesday night against the Kirksville Tigers.
While hitting only 19 of 40 shots from the foul line for the game for 48 percent, the Pirates hit their shots when they counted the most in OT to beat Kirksville by a score of 63-57.
The Pirates improved to 7-10 overall and 2-5 in the NCMC.
Boonville Pirates basketball coach Jesse Oswald said this game was a lot of fun to be a part of as far as being a player, coach or fan in the stand and they couldn’t have done it without the student section and the friends and family who came to watch them play.
“I thought we fed off their energy as well,” Oswald said. “This team is coming together and is becoming a family that is extremely fun to coach and be around. The effort and focus tonight was better than it has been all year. Kirksville started off the game and went up by close to 10 within the first three minutes and we battled back and held them scoreless the remainder of the quarter and took the lead at 17-15 after one. That quarter was foreshadowing for the rest of the night because we were in a dogfight with them.
“I could see it in our eyes that we were focused and came to play and we had guys step up and play some big minutes tonight. We’ve been talking about facing adversity a lot lately and we’ve had guys who have been sick and injured step up big in their first game back. The entire team went on the road the night before and lost to a good Southern Boone team, and then turn around and play a physical Kirksville team and bring the effort and energy needed to win says a lot about their character and desire to be successful.”
The game definitely had its up and downs for the Pirates. Nothing couldn’t be further from the truth in the opening period as Kirksville raced out to a 15-7 lead with 4:35 left only to have Boonville rally back with 10 straight to lead by a score of 17-15.
The second quarter was also close with Kirksville holding a 11-9 advantage to tie the game at 26-all at the break.
The second half was like a mirror image of the first, with Kirksville outscoring Boonville 14-13 in the third to go up by one at 40-39. Meanwhile, in the fourth, the Pirates led by as much as five at 49-44 with 3:42 left. However over the next three minutes, Kirksville outscored Boonville 8-3 to tie the game at the end of regulation at 52-all.
The free throw line was also Boonville’s worst enemy in the fourth. While attempting 17 shots from the line in the fourth quarter alone, the Pirates converted on only six shots.
The Pirates also led 52-50 with 1:04 left in regulation. But after a potential three point play by Kirksville, the Tigers were only able to convert on two to tie the game at 52-52. Kirksville also had a chance for the win in the closing seconds but missed on both attempts.
Of course it didn’t look good early on in overtime for the Pirates, either. Kirksville went up 56-52 with 3:10 left and had a 57-53 lead with 2:11 remaining. However after a series of trips to the foul line, Boonville went from trailing by four to lead by one at 58-57 after a basket by Avery Reardon. Boonville never trailed again in the game by outscoring Kirksville 5-0 down the stretch for the win.
The Pirates also outscored Kirksville 11-5 in overtime.
Oswald said he wouldn’t let his team fail when Kirksville went up by four in OT.
“We were sitting in the timeout and I let them know I wouldn’t let them fail and that we were going to win, and they embraced that and embraced each other and took their effort to another level,” Oswald said. “The amount of teamwork showed tonight was amazing.”
Reardon led all scorers for Boonville with 21 points along with 12 rebounds. Charlie Bronakowski finished the game with 15 points and seven rebounds while Tramell Coleman added 13 points, three rebounds and one assist, Semaj Clark 10 points and three rebounds, Clayton Gochenour two points, one rebound and one assist, Lane West also with two points, Malik Brazil one point and four rebounds, Josh Chrisman one point, three assists and one rebound, Kyle Chrisman one point and one rebound and Kellen Brownfield with one point.
For Kirksville, Paxton Dempsay had 14 and Noah Copeland with 10.
In the JV game, Kirksville defeated Boonville 48-42.
The Pirates, dropping to 3-8 overall and 3-3 in the NCMC trailed Kirksville 26-16 at the half before cutting that lead to four at the end of the third quarter by a score of 34-30. Meanwhile, in the fourth, Kirksville outscored Boonville 14-12 to win by six.
Boonville JV coach Brock Hill said the boys had a shot to win the game.
“Under a minute and we were down by two,” Hill said. “They had the ball and we had to foul.  It was right there.  I thought our guys played well.  We just kind of struggled a little bit and their defense caused us some problems.  We felt like we could win this game.  It is frustrating because we feel we are as good as they are.  We just gotta keep grinding away and getting better.  I give them credit but for us it is not about what they did, it’s about what we did.
“We got beat on a few 50/50 balls and settled for quick jumpers rather than running our offense.  That’s how you lose a game like this.  This is my first year coaching and the worst thing is in a loss I feel so lousy because I always feel responsible for it.  They say experience is what you get when you do not get what you want.  I’m really proud of our team but we have definitely gotten our share of experience this season.”
Tayshaun Bledsoe had 16 points to lead all scorers for Boonville. Lane West tossed in eight while Gabe Lorenz added six, Tyler Schuster five, Nick Ferrari four and Sam Esser with three.
For Kirksville, Bryant Killday had 13 and Blake Morgan with 12.
Note: The Boonville boys and girls varsity basketball teams will host Mexico in a varsity doubleheader on Friday at the Windsor gymnasium starting at 6 p.m.
The Boonville boys and girls junior varsity basketball teams will also play host to Mexico on Friday. The Lady Pirates JV will play Mexico at the Windsor gymnasium starting at 5 p.m. while the Boonville boys junior varsity basketball team will take on Mexico at Hannah Cole starting at 5. Friday’s game is also Courtwarming.