For everything that went right for the Boonville Pirates in the first half Friday night against Blair Oaks in a battle of Tri-County Conference teams, the Pirates had just the opposite happen in the second half.
While trailing the Falcons 30-29 at the break, the Pirates had to think that they were 16 minutes away from knocking off Blair Oaks. However a cold shooting third quarter put Boonville behind the eight ball for the rest of the game for a 58-42 loss.
The loss dropped Boonville to 9-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference. Blair Oaks improved to 10-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.
Despite the loss to Blair Oaks, head coach Mark Anderson said he thought the effort was terrific.
“I thought our effort was a winning effort,” Anderson said. “We played hard and executed the game plan for the most part. We kind of cheated off some of their guards and challenged their guards. I think at halftime the two bigs had maybe 9 and 7 or something like, so we kept them under control. I thought we stayed positive even when things started to slip in the third quarter. I heard a lot of great things from the bench and great things in the lockerroom afterwards. We talked about building from this and not falling back from this and I thought if we played as hard as we did tonight we are going to win a lot of games.”
Of course it didn’t help that Blair Oaks had two brothers that were 6-9 in senior Eric Northweather and sophomore Luke Northweather.
But for one half Friday night in front of a standing room only crowd at the Windsor gymnasium, the Pirates stood toe to toe with Blair Oaks down by only one (30-29).
With plenty of ups and downs in the first half, Boonville held its own against the two bigs. Eric Northweather finished the first half with nine points while Luke had seven points.
Four ties and three lead changes also made up the first half between Boonville and Blair Oaks. The Falcons led by as much as four twice in the first half at 14-10 in the first quarter and 27-23 at the 2:09 mark in the second period.
Blair Oaks also led Boonville 14-11 at the end of the first quarter and 30-29 at the half.
As for Boonville, they led by as much as six (21-15) in the second half after going on a 8-0 run during a minute stretch. But like two heavyweights in the ring, Blair Oaks withstood Boonville’s blows with a counter punch of its own by reeling off eight straight late in the period to go up 27-23 with 2:09 left.
Of course it didn’t help that Boonville had two turnovers during that span or that the Northweather brothers dominated the paint with six of the team’s eight points. Sophomore Quinn Kusgen also had the hot hand in the second quarter with seven of the team’s 14 points.
Needless to say, the Pirates found a way to close the gap late in the first half by outscoring Blair Oaks 6-3 over the final minute and 49 seconds to cut the lead back to one.
The only problem is that Boonville left whatever momentum they had in the lockerroom at halftime. Playing arguably their best half of basketball other than the game against Centralia in the championship in the Centralia Tournament, the Pirates had probably their worst half of basketball in the second half against Blair Oaks.
With just one field goal and four points in the first half for Boonville, the Pirates also saw their chance for a upset dashed as the Falcons held a 14-4 advantage to extend the lead to 11 at 44-33.
To compound matters, junior Charlie Bronakowski-Boonville’s leading scorer on the season-picked up his fourth foul of the game late in the third period.
Anderson said the ball just wouldn't go in the basket.
“I thought we had some decent looks early in the third quarter and a lot of times I was ready for us to hop into the press but the ball slid out,” Anderson said. They’re so hard to play. They’re so long and they have two of them in there and you think you have a shot and all of a sudden one swoops in there and gets a piece of it. It's hard to simulate and I think they kind of wore us down. The first half I thought we played terrific and I thought we played hard the whole game, we just couldn't score in the second half.”
Boonville never got any closer than 10 in the fourth quarter while Blair Oaks its lead to 16 with a 14-9 advantage.
Eric Northweather finished the game with 25 points while Luke Northweather and Quinn Kusgen added 13 points each.
For Boonville, Luke Green was the only player in double figures with 10 points. He also had two rebounds and two assists.
Tramell Coleman finished the game with eight points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal while Tyson Franklin added eight points, one assist and one steal, Lane West five points, three rebounds and one assist, Charlie Bronakowski four points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists, Jackson Johns three points, one rebound, one assist and one steal and D.J. Wesolak and Kayle Rice each with two points and four rebounds.
Boonville finished the game shooting 27 percent from the field 53.3 percent from the foul line while Blair Oaks converted on 48 percent of its shots from the field and 67 percent from the line.
Blair Oaks also won both the JV and freshmen games against Boonville by the scores of 66-42 and 56-40, respectively.
In the JV game, Blair Oaks led Boonville 31-19 at the half and 54-30 after three quarters of play.
Cale Wilson had 11 points to lead all scorers for Blair Oaks while Justin Backes and Zach Henry added 10 points each.
For Boonville, 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the TCC, DaWan Lomax had 15, Axton Nease 10, Aidan Lemmons nine, Colby Caton six and Andrew Wiser with two.
Boonville JV coach Brock Hill said the score of this game was obviously not what they were looking for. “This is our second straight double digit loss,” Hill said. “With that said I did see improvement from the last game to this one. I thought our energy and effort was better tonight. We just had trouble scoring the ball against the size Blair Oaks had on defense.”
In the freshmen game, Blair Oaks led Boonville 30-21 at the half and then outscored the Pirates 26-19 in the second half.
Dawson Skinner and Alec Weiberg each had 11 points for Blair Oaks.
For Boonville, 2-5, Colby Caton had 14, Edrissa Bah 10, Jordan Fishburn, Cameron Poulsen, Caidyn Hazel, Landen Drew and Garrett Hundley each with three and Max Eckerle with one.
Boonville freshmen coach Blake Hackman said his team played really well in the first half but turned the ball over too many times and gave up too many offensive rebounds to be able to stay in the game. “We struggled for a little bit once Blair Oaks switched to their 3-2 zone,” Hackman said.