The 2018-19 season was both memorable and disappointing for the Boonville Lady Pirates basketball team.
After cruising through the regular season at 21-3 overall and 6-1 in the Tri-County Conference, which was good enough for second place, the Lady Pirates looked to be well positioned for a postseason run as the No. 1 seed in the district tournament.
But then the unthinkable happened. After beating the Marshall Owls by 18 just one week earlier in the regular season, the Lady Pirates fell by nine in the semifinal round of the district tournament to the very same team to finish 21-4 overall.
This season, the Lady Pirates return three starters under eighth year coach Jaryt Hunziker, who is 259-139 in his career and 149-43 at Boonville.
Hunziker said after having a great summer coaching this new group, he can’t say enough about how excited he is to be getting back on the court and representing Boonville. “With the Tri-County Conference being so competitive year after year, we expect the same this year with many teams bringing back a solid part of their rosters,” Hunziker said. “Our schedule is very competitive from top to bottom again this season which should help prepare us come district time.”
Boonville will find out soon enough where they stand in the conference with the Tri-County Conference Tournament on Dec. 2-7 in Versailles. The Lady Pirates drew the No. 1 seed in the tournament, followed by California, Blair Oaks, Hallsville, Southern Boone, Osage, Eldon and Versailles.
As for the district this year, the Lady Pirates were lumped in with pretty much the same teams as last year (Helias, Marshall and Osage) along with Camdenton and Capital City.
Of course Boonville will also have to make up for several key losses from last year’s team in Jamie Lemmons and Jalyn Schnetzler, who averaged 13.0 ppg and 4.0 ppg, respectively.
As a team last year, the Lady Pirates averaged 63 ppg along with 29 rebounds, 17 spg and 13 apg. Boonville also finished the season shooting 43 percent from the field, 26 percent from the three-point arc and 60 percent from the foul line.
Hunziker said the Lady Pirates will run motion again this season and show multiple looks on the defensive end of the floor.
As for the three returning starters this season for Boonville, Hunziker will look to juniors Kourtney Kendrick and Jodie Bass and sophomore Addison Brownfield to lead very talented cast of players in 2019-20.
Kendrick, a do-it-all type player who can play anywhere on the floor, returns for the Lady Pirates after averaging 9.4 ppg along with 6.9 rpg, 3.0 spg and 2.3 apg.
Kendrick said she has never been more ready to get out on the court. “It’s go time,” Kendrick said.
Hunziker said Kendrick is the total package when it comes to being able to defend all five positions along with score both inside and out. “Kourtney was a great addition to our program last year and will be even better in year two,” Hunziker said.
As for Bass, the junior guard also lit it up last year while averaging 11.8 ppg along with 2.4 spg, 2.1 rpg and 1.9 apg. Bass also finished the season shooting a team-high 61 percent on two-point field goals.
“Another player for us that can score the ball by getting out in transition as well as from behind the arc and with the drive,” Hunziker said. “Jodie uses her speed well on defense to get deflections and steals for us. We are looking for her to have a big year.”
While Kendrick and Bass both earned all-conference last year, Brownfield was the one player that teams had to guard night in and night out. In addition to being selected to the all-conference and all-district team, Brownfield was also named to the KMZU Dream Team and the KRES All-Star Team.
The sophomore standout also led the Lady Pirates in five categories in 2018-19 while averaging 14.7 ppg, 4.0 spg and 3.2 apg. Brownfield also shot a team-leading 34 percent from the three-point arc and 70 percent from the foul line.
Hunziker called Brownfield the floor general for the Lady Pirates. “Addison has proven to be a top scorer in the area along with someone who makes everyone around her better,” Hunziker said. “She is one of the area’s best and most competitive players there is.”
Brownfield said she is very excited to get back on the court with her teammates this season and take care of unfinished business. “I think our chemistry and dedication is going to help with our success this year,” Brownfield said.
Other returning players this season for Boonville are juniors Brooke Eichelberger, Kennedy Renfrow and Sophi Waibel and sophomore Emma West.
Eichelberger, who is also listed as a forward for the Lady Pirates, returns after averaging 2.3 ppg along with 3.4 rpg while coming off the bench. Renfrow, meanwhile, appeared in 20 of the team’s 25 games and finished the season with 2.7 ppg along with 2.6 rpg, 1.0 spg and 1.0 apg. As for Waibel, she played in all 25 games last year and averaged 4.9 ppg along with 1.2 rpg, 1.4 spg and 1.0 apg. West, meanwhile, played in eight games as a freshman and averaged 1.4 ppg.
Hunziker said Eichelberger is going to be a huge asset for the team this year.
“We are excited to see Brooke play a bigger role,” Hunziker said. “She is a very athletic player that works hard on both ends of the floor. Kennedy can play multiple positions defensively for us, which is so valuable and has spent many hours this off-season improving her skills. We are looking for her to be a bigger threat offensively this season.
Sophi, meanwhile, is a high energy player that does a great job for us on the defensive end. She is looking to be more consistent from behind the arc this year since she is one who can be a huge threat from the perimeter. As for Emma, she will be a inside/outside threat that plays bigger than her height. Emma was an impact player for the JV last season that we are expecting to carry over to the varsity this season.”
Other key addition this season for Boonville are Faith Mesik, Jordan Brackman, Daylynn Baker and Abby Fuemmeler.
Hunziker said every team needs those unselfish quality role players that come into the game and do their job to perfection. “From knocking down open shots, getting key rebounds, bringing energy/aggressiveness on defense along with many other things these four will be a huge factor to our team’s success.”