Lady Warriors deny Boonville a return trip back to the Final Four
After being denied a trip to the Final Four last year, the St. Pius X Lady Warriors were bound and determined to make the trip this season.
However in order to punch their ticket to the big dance at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, St. Pius X had to take down the Boonville Lady Pirates Saturday in a Class 3 quarterfinal game at Lee’s Summit High School.
While the Lady Pirates had history on their size after finishing third last year at 30-1, St. Pius X proved to be the better team Saturday while dominating Boonville in every facet of the game for a convincing 58-27 victory.
While closing out the season at 19-9 overall, head coach Jaryt Hunziker said the Lady Pirates just got beat by a better team in St. Pius X.
“St. Pius X had it going tonight from both the inside and out,” Hunziker said. “After we came out of the gates attacking the rim and getting up after the first few minutes, St. Pius X picked it up. We rarely get beat back in transition since we get our press set up so quick on misses but tonight was different. Their BIG, Hipp, killed us with her quick outlet passes to their speedy guards, which led to easy layups even after we focused on sprinting back after shot attempts. Our turnovers hurt us as well even when most came from poor passes/decisions we were making.
“We just didn’t play as well as we needed and against a quality team like St. Pius X you have to put together four solid quarters in order to compete. The girls never gave up and that says something about our program. We work hard for each other and as their coach I love them for it. We say good-bye to four seniors, who have been a big part in helping get the Lady Pirate program to where it is today (Millie Moyer, Jessica Luscombe, Cali Jo McAreavy and Abbie Lemmons). You will be missed but just remember, once a Lady Pirate, always a Lady Pirate. I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the Lady Pirate family.”
With the loss to St. Pius X, the Lady Pirates closed out the season at 19-9 overall. However over the last three years, Boonville is an astounding 74-14.
As for St. Pius X Lady Warriors, they will continue their quest for the state title Thursday against Strafford in the second semifinal game at Mizzou Arena starting at 1:40 p.m. Strafford advance to the Final Four by beating St. James 50-40 in Springfield.
St. Pius X will enter the game at 25-3 while Strafford comes in a 28-3.
Saxony Lutheran will play Southern Boone of Ashland in the first semifinal on Thursday starting at 12 noon. Southern Boone improved to 29-1 on the season by beating Cardinal Ritter 49-43 in two overtimes. Saxony Lutheran, meanwhile, knocked off last year’s defending state champions, Central Park Hills, by a score of 45-39.
Although the Lady Warriors closed out the final period with a running clock and led by as much as 33, Boonville gave St. Pius X everything they wanted and then some early on while jumping out to a 4-0 lead on back to back baskets by Millie Moyer and Jamie Lemmons.
But like all good teams, the Lady Warriors found a way to comeback and tied the game at 8-all at the 3:42 mark in the first quarter.
Boonville never led again after that as St. Pius X went on a 13-0 run to closeout the period to lead the Lady Pirates 19-8.
The Lady Warriors also took Boonville out of its comfort zone in the first while forcing eight turnovers, many which led to easy layups on the other end of the floor.
St. Pius X senior Abigail Hipp, a Missouri State University commit, also proved to be more than just a big body in the middle. With unior Natalie Denzer scoring 14 of the team’s 37 points in the first half, it was because of Hipp’s long passes on rebounds which led to the easy baskets.
Denzer finished with 19 for the game while Hipp had 13 and sophomore Antoinette Mussorici with 11.
As for the Lady Pirates, they had no one in double figures for the game. Freshman Jamie Lemmons finished the game with eight points, three rebounds and one steal while Camryn Monteer came off the bench to chip in seven points and one rebound.
Millie Moyer added four points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals while Brynn Edwards tallied four points and one rebound, Abbie Lemmons two points and two rebounds, Jessica Luscombe two points and one rebound, Hannah Fuemmeler three steals and one assist, Cali Jo McAreavy two rebounds and Paige Renfrow with one rebound and one steal.
The Lady Pirates also finished the game hitting only 14 of 40 shots from the field for 40 percent. At the foul line, they were 0 of 1 for the game and just 1 of 7 from the three-point line.
While closing out the first quarter on a 13-0 run, St. Pius X continued its onslaught in the second quarter with six straight to extend the lead to 25-8. Then, after a basket by Edwards to break the six-minute drought by Boonville, the Lady Warriors came right back with another eight straight to push the lead to 23 at 33-10.
As it turned out, the 27-2 run in the first and second quarter was just too much to overcome for the Lady Pirates, who trailed 37-14 at the break.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first-two periods, with St. Pius X outscoring Boonville 11-9 in the third to lead by a score of 48-23.
The Lady Pirates also started the second half 0 for 4 from the field but then followed it up with seven straight over a span of 60 seconds to cut the lead back to 20 at 41-21.
However over the next three minutes and 51 seconds, St. Pius X would wide the margin even more by going on a 7-2 run.
The fourth quarter was low scoring as well, with St. Pius X finally hitting the 30-point mark at 55-25 with 5:19 left. The Lady Warriors also outscored Boonville 10-4 in the final period to win the game by 31.