Like many schools across the state, the Boonville Pirates and Lady Pirates basketball teams along with the Pirates wrestling team hit the hardwood and mats for the first time on Monday, Oct. 29th.
Although the season is still over three weeks away, Boonville Lady Pirates basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker said 21 girls in grades 9-12 took part in the first practice while Pirates coach Brock Hill reported 24 participated in the first practice of the season but had another 11 come out by Day 2 for a total of 35. Boonville Pirates wrestling coach Christian Stock said he also 20 wrestlers take part in the first practice on Monday.
The Boonville girls basketball team will open the 2018-19 season on the road on Monday, Nov. 19th against Mexico starting at 6 p.m. The Boonville basketball team, meanwhile, will open the  season in the Tri-County Tournament, which runs November 26-December 1 at Southern Boone in Ashland.
With two returning starters back from last year, Hunziker said the main focus for the first day and pretty much Week 1 is to get the girl’s basketball legs underneath them.
“I always tell the team that everything looks better once we are in better shape,” Hunziker said. “We improve this by keeping practices as uptempo as much as we can going segment to segment with short breaks in between. Throughout the afternoon we emphasized our transition game and getting up the floor. Our offense and defense were introduced by breaking it down into position drills that let the team understand what we are looking to do. The team also spent some time on skill development that focused on some of the fundamentals needed to perform.”
After a two hour practice on Monday to go over the fundamentals of basketball, plus conditioning, Hunziker said he was very pleased with the effort and how well the girls played together. “We have a great group this season that will continue to work and play hard for each other,” Hunziker said. “We all know that once we get in better condition that practices will start to come together and everything will look smoother.”
For the rest of the week, Hunziker said the team will continue to work on things they did on Day 1 but also dig deeper into their offensive and defensive systems. He said little by little the girls will have to master some of the concepts learned throughout the first few days and gradually build on those before their first game.”
The Lady Pirates will also return after taking a year off by competing in a three team Jamboree at Moberly High School on Wednesday, Nov. 14th.
Boonville will play Moberly in the first game at 5 p.m. and Centralia at 6:20.
As for Boonville Pirates basketball team, Coach Hill said the team worked on getting in basketball shape while getting the basketball in their hands as much as possible.
“We want them to be comfortable early,” Hill said. “We started working on our half-court defense some to get our foundation set.”
As for his thoughts after running the players through practice for the first day, Hill said it’s good to be starting back up again. “We have a long road ahead but we have a good start and we are looking forward to getting better everyday,” Oswald said.
With three players that started at some point last year, Hill said he will use the next-two weeks to mainly introduce some new offensive concepts and getting a base for their half-court and full-court defense.
The Boonville Pirates basketball team will also take part in the Moberly Jamboree on November 14th. The Pirates will play Moberly in the first game at 5:40 p.m. and Centralia at 7.
As for the Boonville Pirates wrestling team, Stock said he had a short team meeting to go over rules and regulations.
“Yesterday was odd, starting on a day without school,” Stock said. ‘We spent part of the time setting the room up. The first week we focused on everyday fundamentals and then went over takedowns the latter part of the week.”
Around the area, the Pilot Grove boys had 17 out for the first practice while the Lady Tigers suited up 12. At New Franklin, the Lady Bulldogs had nine participants while the boys opened practice with 18. At Prairie Home, head coach Mark McLaughlin welcomed 17 boys and seven girls. Meanwhile, at Bunceton, first-year coach Dustin Ray had nine girls and eight boys participate in the first day of practice.