They say that defense wins championships in football. However, in the game last at the Windsor gymnasium, the Boonville Pirates basketball team is quickly finding out that defense also wins games in basketball.
Playing a district opponent in only its third game of the young season, the Pirates used a stifling defense to hold the Panthers under 40 points through 32 minutes last night en route to a 48-39 victory.
While the win improved Boonville’s record to 2-1 overall, head coach Scott Floyd said he thought his team played extremely well defensively.
“Centralia was averaging 61 points through their first-two games so holding them 22 points below their average was a positive,” Floyd said. “Our kids have to learn how to play with the lead though. We always seem to jump on teams early but we cannot maintain offensive consistency throughout the game. The kids also have to make better decisions in the half-court and learn how to protect the ball better.
“However, I did see some positives in this game. Our defense and rebounding is getting better each game, and we are able to switch our defenses with regularity. Now we have to learn to play with better offensive purpose. It is early in the season and we have time to figure out the offense shortcomings that we have at this point. However, this was a good week. We came from behind to win at Sedalia and we played with a lead and were able to hang on for the second victory of the week.”
While holding its first-three opponents to an average of 50.66 ppg, the Pirates came out and set the tone early while limiting Centralia to just one shot down the floor for a total of eight points. Boonville, meanwhile, hit the court running by reeling off the game’s first-six points and closing out the final three minutes and 42 seconds with a 9-2 run to lead by a score of 17-8.
Balance was also the word in the first quarter, with five different players in the scoring column for Boonville. However after a reverse lay-up by senior Jalen Poindexter at the 6:13 mark in the second quarter to make it 21-8, the Pirates hit went into a scoring slump for the next-two minutes. The Panthers, meanwhile, reeled off six straight points during that span to cut the lead back to seven at 21-14 with 4:47 remaining.
The good news is that while outscoring Centralia 12-8 in the quarter, Boonville also closed out the final two minutes and 30 seconds on a 8-0 run to extend the lead back to 15 at 29-14.
Neither team did much in the third period while combing for 16 points. The Pirates also opened the period by missing their first-four shots but still managed to maintain a six-point cushion at 29-22 with 5:01 left. However, after getting off to a dreadful start in the second half, Boonville found its rhythm over the final-three minutes in the third by outscoring Centralia 8-2, which included a shot at the buzzer by senior Damario Walker to make it 37-24.
Of course no lead has been big enough this season for the Pirates, who led 22-9 in the first in the season opener against Marshall only to get beat by 15. Boonville also held off a fourth quarter rally by Sedalia after coming from behind. Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter last night, the Pirates allowed the lead to get down to 10 at 41-31 with 5:18 left  and then allowed Centralia to go on a 8-2 run over the final two minutes and 48 seconds to make it a nine-point game.
The Panthers also held a 15-11 advantage in the final period.
Damario Walker was the only player in double figures for Boonville with 13 points along with five rebounds and three steals.
Tavious Brazil had eight points and eight rebounds while Tyler Peterson added eight points, five rebounds and one assist, Gauge Sharp with five points and three rebounds, Gus Kemp with four points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal, Jay Barnhart with four points, four rebounds and one assist and Jalen Poindexter with four points and one rebound.
For Centralia, Dixon Dollens had 11 points while Gannon Peavler and Logan Armentrout added 10 points each.
The Pirates also finished the game hitting 22 of 56 shots from the field for 39 percent and 2 of 7 from the foul line for 29 percent. Centralia, meanwhile, hit on 7 of 8 shots from the line for 88 percent.
In the JV game, the Pirates won their third blowout in as many games by beating Centralia 71-24.
Boonville, 3-0 on the season, led Centralia 43-9 at the half and 61-19 after three quarters of play before outscoring the Panthers 10-5 in the final period.
Boonville JV coach Kent Peterson said his team got off to a much better start in the first quarter scoring 27 points.  
“We were able to get out in transition and take advantage of our athleticism and length,” Peterson said.  “We extended our defense and forced some turnovers early but got ourselves in some foul trouble due to reaching instead of moving our feet on defense.  We need to continue to get better playing man-to-man defense and our help defense needs to improve. We were impatient in our offensive sets but scoring 71 points is a good night offensively and we continue to run the floor well and share the ball. This group has a great future ahead of them as we build our program.”
Clayton Lang led four players in double figures for Boonville with 18 points along with four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
DeAundre Lewis finished the game with 16 points, five steals, three rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot while J.T. Washington added 15 points and 18 rebounds along with five steals, Bryce Fuemmeler with 12 points, two assists and one steal, Dalton Hodge with eight points, six steals, two rebounds and one assist, Christian Burns with two points, two steals, one rebound and one assist and Conner Pond with one rebound and one blocked shot.
Centralia was led by Korbyn Steffon with six points.