Boonville Pirates basketball coach Jesse Oswald had one word to describe Tuesday night’s game against the Fulton Hornets: grit.
While battling it out for 32 minutes only to go into overtime, the Pirates used everything in its arsenal in the final four minutes of extra basketball by outscoring Fulton 11-8 for a 75-72 victory.
“I don't know where to begin with this game,” Oswald said. “Kind of speechless after finding a way to grit this one out. I thought we came out hot and played off a lot of emotion and then as the dust settled we found ourselves in a ballgame. Both teams were hitting big shots and finding ways to get stops on defense and it was only fitting we had to play an extra four minutes to find a winner. I thought when it came down to it, we put ourselves in positions to hit some key shots and forced them to speed up and play a style they weren't used to playing and weren't comfortable with.
“This was a game that was important for us to win. It was our home opener and we have a goal of protecting our court at all costs. It was also against a district opponent so it's nice to be in the driver seat a little bit. And then this was also a game that we would have really struggled with last year. Last year we would have stayed close in a game like this, but never pulled away. Tonight, I thought we took a huge step forward as a team and played with confidence and poise. This will be huge to build upon. Now we just have to get ready for Moberly Thursday and see if we can build on this momentum. The crowd was fantastic tonight and really got our guys pumped up and going and I look forward to having them out there again.”
If you wanted a blowout, this wasn’t the game for you. Although Fulton went in at halftime with a one point lead at 33-32, the first two quarters alone featured five ties.
The first quarter was just as close as the first, with Boonville jumping out to a 10 point lead after a 10-0 run at 14-4 only to have Fulton closeout the quarter on a 7-0 run to go up 17-16.
The second quarter was also tight, with Boonville again leading by five at 24-19 with 4:43 left only to have Fulton rally back to take the lead at 27-26 with 1:52 remaining in the half.
The Hornets also held their biggest lead of the half with 43 seconds left after a three to make it 33-29 only to have Boonville cut it back to one after a three by senior Clayton Gochenour to go in at the half down by one at 33-32.
If the Boonville Pirates ever had a chance to add some distance between them and Fulton, the third quarter was the quarter to do it.
By outscoring Fulton 20-16, Boonville also went up by three at 52-49 with only eight minutes remaining.
However in the final period, the Hornets got hot at the right time and took advantage of several Boonville turnovers to tie the game at 64-all.
Fulton also led by as much as three in overtime at 69-66 before back to back baskets by Charlie Bronakowski and Tramell Coleman to put Boonville ahead at 70-69 with 2:04 left. From that point it seemed like neither team wanted to win the game as the Pirates struggled from the line while missing the front end of a one on one on two different occasions. But even then Boonville went up 74-70 with 17 seconds left after a free throw by Josh Chrisman. Then, after a basket by AJ Reid to cut the lead to 74-72, Chrisman came back again with one free throw to extend the lead to three. The Hornets still had a chance after that but turned the ball over on its next trip down the floor to seal the win for Boonville.
Bronakowski led all scorers for Boonville with 21 points while Clayton Gochenour chipped in 20, Tramell Coleman with nine, Avian Thomas and DJ Wesolak with eight each, Josh Chrisman seven and Malik Brazil with two.
For Fulton, Anthony Paine had 18 and Tyler Saylor with 15.
In the JV game, Fulton defeated Boonville 48-38.
The Pirates, 0-3 overall, trailed Fulton 19-17 at the half and 36-26 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, Boonville matched Fulton with 12 points.
“We got off to a slow start only scoring 5 points in the first quarter,” said Boonville JV coach Brock Hill. “Then we battled back and were only down two going into half.  Turnovers really hurt us tonight.  Bad passes that lead to easy layups.  I thought we were almost overly aggressive on defense.  Fulton was in the bonus all night it seemed.  We only shot three free throws while Fulton shot 21. Offensively we need to try to score inside more.  We settled for long threes that I felt we could have gotten at any time during an offensive possession.  Looking forward we just need to clean up our turnovers and keep our hands off people defensively.  We have to put this loss behind us and be ready to take on Moberly again on Thursday.”
Zane Jennings had 16 and Cameron Bennett 11 for Fulton.
For Boonville, Luke Green tossed in 14 points while Kayle Rice and Brock Nowlin added five, Aidan Lemmons four, Andrew Wiser and Axton Nease three each and Landon Williams and Saylor Marquez with two points each.