The Boonville Pirates basketball team did what they had to do in the opening round of the 63rd annual Centralia Invitational Tournament Tuesday night against North Callaway.

In a No. 3 versus No. 6 matchup, the Pirates outscored North Callaway in all four quarters and finished the game with three players in double figures for a 71-56 victory.

In other games in the tournament on Tuesday, No. 1 Centralia  beat No. 8 Salisbury 61-45 while No. 2 Hallsville throttled No. 7 Harrisburg 64-30. Meanwhile, in a No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup, Sturgeon upended Macon 64-47.

Tournament action will continue on the boys side of the bracket on Thursday, with Salisbury playing Macon at 4:30 p.m., followed by Hallsville versus Boonville at 6, Centralia versus Sturgeon at 7:30 and Harrisburg versus North Callaway at 9.

Although the Pirates led at the end of every quarter, the Thunderbirds still wouldn’t go away while trailing by just five (17-12) at the end of one. And even though Boonville outscored North Callaway 21-13 in the second, the lead was still just 13 with two quarters to play. Meanwhile, in the third quarter, North Callaway outscored the Pirates 19-17 to cut the lead to 11 at 55-44. However in the final period, Boonville extended its lead again by outscoring the Thunderbirds 16-12 for the victory.

Charlie Bronakowski led the scoring attack in the game for Boonville with 18. Clayton Gochenour chipped in 13 while Avian Thomas added 11, DJ Wesolak nine, Tramell Coleman eight, Josh Chrisman five, Malik Brazil four and Sam Esser with three.

For North Callaway, Khobi Kellerman had 17 and Gabe Cash with 13.

Boonville Pirates basketball coach Jesse Oswald said it was a hard-fought victory.
“We went back and forth with them for a while in the first quarter before taking a double digit lead going into halftime,” Oswald said. “I thought we did a good job offensively of getting the ball inside and working around our post players. This opened up a lot of driving lanes for our guards and we were able to get aggressive. In the second half I thought we wore ourselves down and got lazy on defense. Then at times I didn’t feel we valued every possession like we needed. We have to look at each possession as part of the game and how it is important to treat it as the most important possession. At times, we went through the motions and it allowed North Callaway to get cooking and make it a ballgame. We went from being up 19 at one point all the way down to three, before we got it back up to double digits again. Our next goal is going to be figuring out a way to put a team away and turn the pressure up.”