The Boonville Lady Pirates basketball team had every intention of erasing the bad memory from the last time they stepped on the court in the Windsor gymnasium.
As the No. 1 seed in the district tournament last year, the Lady Pirates fell to the Marshall Owls-a team they had just beaten by 18 points the week before.
But that all changed in a matter of minutes Monday night in Boonville’s home opener. With a smothering defense and an opportunistic offense, the Lady Pirates raced out to a 21-6 first quarter lead and never looked back for a convincing 66-28 victory.
Boonville improved to 9-1 on the season while Mexico fell to 4-2.
Boonville head coach Jaryt Hunziker said the girls gave a great effort and intensity from start to finish.
“Our defense seemed to disrupt Mexico all night by having active hands and tremendous pressure,” Hunziker said. “Offensively, we were very unselfish constantly making the extra pass to find an open teammate. It wasn’t our best shooting night behind the arc, but the girls did attack the basket constantly by putting pressure on the defense.”
Of course it didn’t hurt that Boonville had three players in double figures or that Mexico had 24 turnovers in the game.
Aside from the shooting from the three-point arc and foul line, the Lady Pirates were pretty much spot on defensively while limiting Mexico to single figures in all four quarters.
Boonville led 21-6 after first period’s end and 41-15 at the half. And to compound a 26 point deficit after the first 16 minutes, the Bulldogs also finished the first half just 3 of 15 inside the paint.
Mexico coach Ed Costley said in a sense it’s pretty much what he expected.
“I tried to put that across to the girls that Boonville, being their first home game,” Costley said. “It was going to have kind of a electrifying look to it and everybody being pretty excited about them and they have been playing pretty good, so I knew were in a challenge. Biggest thing I was worried about was the first quarter and whether we could keep up with the tempo. That’s usually what it is.
“It comes down to Boonville and their defensive style of play. They basically force you to just play basketball and be able to make basketball decisions without running your offense and that’s what they’re about. You just have to be a team that kind of has that savvy that understands how to do things outside of the rim Xs and Os. We really struggled with that.”
The one thing the Bulldogs did well against Boonville was on the boards. The Lady Pirates held a 28-24 advantage for the game but was out-rebounded 18-14 in the first half.
Unfortunately for Mexico, they had no answer for Boonville’s uptempo style of play in the first half-which resulted in a plethora  of layups. The Lady Pirates also had two huge runs in the first half. Boonville had a 9-0 run during a two minute span in the first quarter and a 8-0 run to start the second period.
Costley said Boonville’s speed was a killer.
“We had to take care of the ball and we knew that coming in,” Costley said. “But you’ve got to make your chip shots. If you make your chip shots and keep finding holes against them, but at the same time if you miss those, they feed off the missed chip shots-whether they are layups or threes.”
The Lady Pirates had plenty of layups throughout the game but struggled from the three-point line by hitting just 3 of 23 shots for 13 percent. However  on two-point field goals, Boonville was 23 of 34 for 68 percent.
The second half was pretty much a carbon copy of the first-two periods. Boonville outscored Mexico 20-8 in the third quarter, which included a 10-0 run during a two and a half minute stretch. Meanwhile, with a running clock to start the fourth quarter, Mexico matched Boonville with five points.
Costley said he can take some positives from the game. He said while he knew the first five minutes would be key to how the game would go, the Bulldogs had plenty of opportunities.
“I thought our zone defense did well, we just didn’t do a very good job transitioning back to our defense when we needed to,” Costley said. “I also thought we had a few players that came in a did a good job. Boonville just knows how to keep pushing at you and forcing you to be back on your heels on both ends of the floor.”
Sophi Waibel led all players in scoring for Boonville with 16 points  on 6 of 11 shooting from the field and 1 of 1 from the foul line. She also had two assists and two steals.
Jodie Bass and Kourtney Kendrick each had 13 points. Bass also finished the game with two assists, one rebound and one steal while Kendrick added seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists. Addison Brownfield contributed nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal while Kennedy Renfrow had seven points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists, Emma West four points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals, Brooke Eichelberger two points, four rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot, Abby Fuemmeler two points, Faith Mesik two rebounds and one assist and Daylynn Baker with one rebound.
Logan Blevins had 10 for Mexico.
Boonville also won the JV game against Mexico 56-51.
The Lady Pirates, 2-1, opened the first half with a 24-15 lead but was outscored 36-32 in the second half.
Boonville JV coach Paul Moore said after a long layoff, the girls did a really great job of coming out strong and pushing the tempo against a solid Mexico team.  
“Offensively, we were more aggressive than we had been at getting to the rim and creating shots instead of settling,” Moore said. “We also shot the ball better than we have all season.  However, defense was the key early on.  We focused on putting more pressure on their guards and creating more traps to get steals and deflections, and that created a lot of transition opportunities.  Our legs kind of gave out a bit in the fourth quarter and caused us to have unforced turnovers, but we did very well in learning how to finish out a close game.   This was a great way to get into the major part of our season, and we’re excited to get that momentum going in the right direction.”
Kyleigh Thacker had 16 points to lead all scorers for Boonville. Abby Fuemmeler chipped in 12, Madison Smith eight, Josie Widel six, Molly Schuster and Abby Pulliam five each and Carlie Bishop and Payton Luscombe each with two.
For Mexico, Alexis Willer had 12 and Ruby Haefling 10.