The Boonville Pirates basketball team has had its share of battles over the years against the Mexico Bulldogs.
Although it has only been two years since Boonville joined the Tri-County Conference, the game Monday night against Mexico was very similar to the previous 10 years when the Pirates played in the North Central Missouri Conference.
Except during that span, the Bulldogs won more times than not.
With both teams similar in styles offensively, Boonville head coach Mark Anderson admitted after the game that his team may not get any style points but a win is a win.
The Pirates won a hard-fought game against the Bulldogs 59-53 to improve to 10-2 overall. Mexico fell to 3-8.
“We were trying to play fast and trying to press, but I guess we were playing a little too fast,” Anderson said. “Even though Mexico doesn’t have a good record, they have been in a lot of close games and it’s a team that plays the style and is comfortable playing the way we play. You like to rack up wins. We would have liked more style points tonight, but a good team find a way to win when you don’t play your best and I thought that’s kind of what we did.”
With two more games scheduled this week, Anderson said the Pirates couldn’t afford back to back losses.
But after the first quarter and the midway point in the ball game, Boonville led Mexico by just two (14-12) after the first eight minutes and four (30-26) at the break.
In a game with a lot of running up and down the floor, Boonville and Mexico each shared six point leads. The Pirates led 12-6 after a basket by senior Tramell Coleman with 2:15 left in the first. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, held a 20-14 advantage at the 4:44 mark in the second quarter after a basket by junior Raef Yager.
The first half also featured three ties and five lead changes.
Anderson also had a choice to make whether to switch it up from man to zone. But after talking it over with his assistants, he decided that Boonville was going to be who they are.
“It’s probably a wash in terms of what we got and what we gave up,” Anderson said. “We gave up too much easy stuff. We took away some of that in the second half but then still kind of gave up some direct drives that I’m not crazy about.”
With both teams combining for 56 points in the first half, Boonville and Mexico also had several nice runs for the first 16 minutes. The Pirates reeled off seven straight during a minute and a half stretch in the first quarter and a 8-0 run late in the second period. As for Mexico, they opened the second quarter with eight straight points.
But like all good teams, Boonville found a way to win in the third quarter by outscoring Mexico 16-12 to extend the lead to eight at 46-38.
Although a four point difference may not seem like much, the Pirates forced Mexico to play catch up after trailing by as much as 11 (39-28) with 5:40 left.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to six on two different occasions in the third quarter and had it down to three in the fourth period. But each time Mexico would get close, Boonville answered with either a three or free throw.
Mexico held a 15-13 advantage in the final period.
Anderson said he didn’t think his team talked very well on defense. “I thought there were a few times where we let guys get open because one guy was switching and the other guy wasn’t and that may have been fatigue,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t crazy about how we guarded tonight. This definitely wasn’t one of our better defensive efforts.”
D.J. Wesolak led eight players in scoring for Boonville with 15 points along with nine rebounds, one assist and one steal. Charlie Bronakowski tossed in 13 along with 13 rebounds, three steals and two assists while Luke Green added nine points and two rebounds, Lane West seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, Tramell Coleman six points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal, Kayle Rice five points, two rebounds and one steal and Tyson Franklin and Jackson Johns each with two points and one rebound.
For Mexico, Yager had 15 and Zach Watkins with 13.
Boonville also finished the game shooting 36 percent from the field and 58 percent from the foul line. The Bulldogs shot 39 percent from the field and 50 percent from the line.
Mexico won the JV game 71-22.
The Pirates JV, 1-4 overall, trailed Mexico 42-15 at the half and 63-19 after three quarters of play.
Boonville JV coach Brock Hill said this was not a fun game to be part of. “It’s one thing to get beat,” Hill said. “Losing is never fun but I can handle a loss. We just didn’t even show up tonight. This is our third straight double digit loss now. This loss has to be the low spot for our season. Losing two in a row by double digits should have been a wake up call. Losing three in a row by double digits with the last loss being by 50 points is just embarrassing. We desperately need to work on a lot of things right now but we won’t have time before our next game.”
Dominic McKeown and Jordan Shelton each had 12 points while Jordan Mitchell added 11.
For Boonville, Axton Nease had seven, Colby Caton five, DaWan Lomax and Byron Thomas four each and Caidyn Hazel with two.