Of all the goals the Boonville Lady Pirates basketball team achieved this season, they will look at the one that got away in the district championship against the California Pintos.
What makes it even worse for the Lady Pirates is that California won both its sectional and quarterfinal game to advance to this weekend’s Final Four in Springfield.
Although the loss will sting for some time, the Lady Pirates can still take pleasure in knowing they are leaving the North Central Missouri Conference with a 31 game win streak not to mention a 12-0 record this past season.
But more importantly, Boonville closed out the 2017-18 season at 23-4 overall under head coach Jaryt Hunziker.
“This season we had a lot of positives again as we captured our fifth straight NCMC title by finishing the year at 12-0 and 23-4 overall,” Hunziker said. “It is rewarding knowing you are leaving the NCMC on a high note by winning the last five titles in dominating fashion, including winning the last 31 in a row. We also played for our fifth straight district title, which is another great accomplishment many teams don’t get to experience. The Lady Pirates also won two tournament championships by beating Macon for the Centralia Tournament and California for the California Tournament title. I couldn’t ask for a more hardworking group that came to practice every day focused on getting better. We will definitely miss our three seniors (Brynn Edwards, Camryn Monteer and Kate Peterson) but are very excited for what the future holds.”
With so many accomplishments this season, Hunziker said the highlight for him was winning both the Centralia and California Tournaments along with capturing their fifth straight NCMC title.
Of course to go along with the many highlights, Hunziker said definitely losing in the district finals to California was probably the low point of the season.
“We didn’t perform at the level we needed to beat a good Lady Pinto team,” Hunziker said. “When you get into districts and the postseason you know you have to make shots to continue on and we just didn’t get it done.”
California also won the rubber game against Boonville 54-40 after splitting games during the regular season.
Nonetheless, the Lady Pirates thrived like they have done the past five seasons in the NCMC by sweeping every team twice.
Hunziker said compared to the past few years this season the competition amongst NCMC teams was at its strongest as teams like Moberly, Marshall and Mexico were very solid and Kirksville, Fulton and Hannibal had improved from last year.
“We always know that we have a huge target on our back since all the other teams are trying to take our spot at the top,” Hunziker said. “With that said, we usually get everyone’s best game and have to be both mentally and physically ready every night.”
As for the 31 straight wins in the conference, Hunziker said it says a lot about the program. He said from day one when he came to Boonville he wanted to put together a great culture and program that would win over time not just good teams that would win every year or so.
“Year after year the girls buy in to what we ask of them and work hard to not only represent BHS but the whole community,” Hunziker said. “To win 31 straight games against much bigger schools has been a blessing and I’m so glad that I have had the opportunity to share five titles with our players.”
Boonville also had two winning streaks during the course of the season. From November 28th through January 15th, the Lady Pirates put together a 14 game win streak. Then, before the loss to California in the district championship, Boonville had won six straight from February 5th through February 22nd.
Hunziker, however, said the Lady Pirates were playing their best basketball when they beat Macon for the Centralia Tournament title.
“I felt that we really performed well on both ends of the court,” Hunziker said. “It was Jamie Lemmons’ second game back from shoulder surgery and I was impressed on how we came together that night. Down the stretch of our conference season when we had to play the likes of Mexico, Marshall and Moberly within a week or so I thought we were very focused at what was at stake and played with the energy needed to capture title No. 5.”
However inconsistent shooting plagued the Lady Pirates all season, especially in big games against California, Chillicothe and Skyline.
Of the four losses, Boonville dropped two by double digits and had almost a double digit lead in the first half against Chillicothe only to lose 53-46.
Hunziker said every team is disappointed if they don’t win the last game of the season. But with nine returning from this year’s varsity roster, Hunziker said the success of next season will be determined by how much they improve individually and as a team between now and then.
“Everyone needs to find time to develop by improving on their weaknesses and building on their strengths,” Hunziker said.
With the move to the Tri-County Conference in 2018-19, which figures to be stronger on the girls side than in the NCMC, Hunziker said the Lady Pirates will definitely be up to the challenge since they have competed against most of these teams over the years and had much success.
As for individual leaders this season, senior Brynn Edwards led the Lady Pirates in several categories while finishing with a team-high 309 points for an average of 11.4 ppg along with 73 assists for 2.7 apg, free throw shooting at 75 percent and three-point shooting at 43 percent.
Junior Jamie Lemmons had the top shooting average on the team at 12.3 ppg along with 7.6 rpg. She also shot a team high 51 percent from the field while surpassing the 1,000th point mark in her career on February 13th against Moberly.
The only other two statistical leaders for Boonville were Camryn Monteer with 89 steals for 3.4 spg and Jodie Bass at 57 percent from two-point range.