Will play California for the championship in the C3 D13 Tournament on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
On paper, the game Thursday night in the semifinal round of the Class 3 District 13 Tournament in Cole Camp looked to be a walk in the park for the Boonville Lady Pirates basketball team.
But as the Lady Pirates found out against Cole Camp, it was anything but as the Blue Birds slowed the game almost down to a crawl to keep it from getting out of hand. And it almost worked as Cole Camp took a five point lead early in the second quarter.
But like all good teams, Boonville found a way to speed the game up in the second half and led by as much as 14 points for a 46-41 victory.
The Lady Pirates, now 23-3 on the season, will play No. 2 California for the title on Saturday starting at 1:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the sectional round of the state playoffs on Wednesday, Feb. 28th at Harrisonville High School starting at 6 p.m.
Boonville JV coach Alex Wendell, who stood in for head coach Jaryt Hunziker, said she expected Cole Camp to spread it out like they did two years ago.
“They did the same last night and really took advantage of quick cross-court passes,” Wendell said. “They really slowed the game down, which hurt us because we couldn’t capitalize on our offensive opportunities.”
But even while winning by five, which at this time of the year the idea is to survive and advance, the Lady Pirates appeared to be frustrated early on. Although Cole Camp led 11-7 after the first eight minutes, the deficit was more about Boonville’s ability to find the basket than anything while hitting only 3 of 9 shots and turning it over four times.
The Lady Pirates also had to deal with the unknown, especially on an in-bounds play as Cole Camp lined four girls in a row. Not knowing how to defend the play, Boonville seemed a little perplexed but did force a turnover one time.
The Blue Birds continued to slow it down in the second quarter, a move former Pilot Grove coach Rick Grunden knew he had to do against the top seed. But after going up 16-11 at the 3:45 mark in the period, Cole Camp scored only one more basket for the half while Boonville went on a 11-2 run to lead at the half 22-18.
The Lady Pirates also fared better from the field in the second quarter while hitting on 6 of 9 shots.
At half, Wendell said the girls tightened up defensively but were also able to start finishing on their end of the court and were able to widen the gap a little. “Our shot selection was better in the second half,” Wendell said. “We also started attacking their defense more. Kate Peterson did a great job attacking on the offensive end and really started a spark for us at the top of our defense. I’m really proud of the girls for adjusting to things they haven’t seen all season and pulling out the win.”
While the Blue Birds continued to take the fight to Boonville with its slow paced offense, the Lady Pirates seemed to adjust a little better in the third quarter. Although the shots again were at a premium, as Boonville hit on 5 of 7 attempts, the lead swelled to 10 at 32-22 with 3:06 left after a 6-0 run.
The Lady Pirates also outscored Cole Camp 12-9 in the period to lead by a score of 34-27.
However after scoring the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 14 at 43-29, Boonville would score only three points the rest of the way. Cole Camp, meanwhile, held a 12-3 advantage over the final four minutes to cut the lead back to five.
Kate Peterson had the high game for Boonville with 13 points along with three rebounds, one steal and one assist.
Camryn Monteer finished the game with 11 points and two steals while Brynn Edwards added eight points, two steals, one rebound and one assist, Jamie Lemmons seven points, four rebounds and two assists, Kennedy Renfrow two points and two assists, Hana Cook and Jodie Bass each with two points and Jalyn Schnetzler with one point, two rebounds and one assist.
The Lady Pirates wound up shooting 55 percent from the field while hitting on 18 of 33 shots. However from the foul line, they were just 9 of 16 for 56 percent.
For Cole Camp, Camryn Shear had 14 while Lainey Williams and Tori Harding added 11 points each.
Note: The win over Cole Camp was Wendell’s first official varsity win as a coach.