With just 18 points after the first two periods Tuesday night at home against the Marshall Owls, Boonville Pirates basketball coach Mark Anderson had a cause for concern.
Not just because the Pirates trailed Marshall 20-18 at the half. It had more to do with a trend the team had established over the last couple of weeks.
As it turned out, Boonville rallied back with a big second half like it has done for most of the season to beat Marshall 55-45.
The win improved Boonville’s record to 12-2 overall.
Anderson said it’s a concern falling from behind early.
“We are going to play some teams that if we don’t have a little stronger start than that, we are going to bury ourselves,” Anderson said. “It’s a concern but I do like the fact that we didn’t panic and kind of gritted our teeth, so that’s a good thing.”
The 18 points in a half was also the lowest scoring of the season for Boonville.
The good news is that after playing Marshall to a 6-6 tie at the half, the Pirates were still within striking distance down by only two at the break.
Now covering senior Jace Lance was another story. Lance finished the game with 27 of the team’s 45 points and at one point had 19 of the Owls 25 points midway through the third quarter.
Anderson said Lance is so good.
“We talk about the kid from Versailles and he is a different kind of good,” Anderson said. “This kid can shoot it from anywhere and I thought we did a really good job on him the first quarter and then bang, bang, bang he hit three threes because we just kind of had our hands down and didn’t get out on him. I think it had a lot to do with him and you can’t really simulate that in practice.
“Now I thought we did a nice job of righting the ship in the second half, but I hope we don’t get too comfortable doing that. We didn’t panic and we stayed the course. I thought we missed a lot of shots around the rim that I think we could have made it a little different game. But overall, you have to be happy with any win at this point, and coming from behind and finding a way to win and gritting your teeth is a good thing.”
With a total of four ties and four lead changes alone in the first half, Boonville never led by more than two for the first 16 minutes. Marshall held its biggest lead of the half at 20-13 after a three by Lance with 4:22 left.
The third quarter was a different story. The Pirates outscored Marshall 16-7 in the period, which included a 7-2 run over the final two minutes and 38 seconds to go up 34-29.
Boonville juniors Charlie Bronakowski and Lane West also came out strong to start the second half with seven and six points, respectively.
Anderson said he really didn’t change up much in the second half. “We just talked about going back to being aware of where Lance was,” Anderson said. “We were trying to trap him every time he came off a ball screen and we were trying to keep him from getting the ball back when he gave it up. We did ok on that but I think we could have done better. He got some easier touches than I would have liked but I don’t know if we really changed anything up. Offensively, we probably changed a little bit more to getting the ball inside.”
Getting the ball inside more in the second half paid off big as Boonville extended its lead to 11 (40-29) with 5:26 left. The Pirates also had its best scoring quarter of the game with 21 points. However after pushing the lead to double digits, Boonville actually found itself in a game again as Marshall cut it back to four (41-37) with 3:42 left.
The Owls never got any closer in the game as Boonville held a 14-8 advantage for the rest of the game to secure the win.
Anderson said it had more to do with slugging it out than anything. “We don’t have the firepower from the outside to hit three-pointers in a row, so we have to slug it out sometimes,” Anderson said. “We finally got the ball inside and we did hit a couple of shots that kind of propelled us a little bit.”
Bronakowski led all scorers for Boonville with 18 points along with eight rebounds, three steals and one assist.
D.J. Wesolak finished the game with 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Lane West added eight points, two rebounds and two assists, Tramell Coleman six points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal, Kayle Rice five points, three rebounds and one steal, Luke Green five points and two rebounds, Tyson Franklin two points, two steals and one rebound and Jackson Johns with one point and one rebound.
The Pirates also had a decent shooting night despite the slow start by hitting 15 of 35 shots from the field for 43 percent and 24 of 32 from the foul line for 75 percent.
In the JV game, Marshall defeated Boonville 63-54.
The Pirates, falling to 1-6 on the season, led Marshall 19-10 after first period’s end but was outscored 53-35 for the rest of the game.
Boonville JV coach Brock Hill said the boys came out and played well in the first quarter, but then for some reason they stopped doing the little things that made them successful in the opening period.
“They switched to a 2-3 zone and we started settling for threes and quick shots away from the basket,” Hill said. “We did exactly what they wanted us to do by keeping the ball outside the paint and jacking up threes. We just aren’t a very good shooting team and the sooner we realize that and play to our strengths, the better off we will be. On a positive note, I felt we really started to fight back late in the third and in the fourth quarter but it was just too little too late. We played them even in the fourth to end the game.”
Caden Kraft led four players in double figures for Marshall with 14 points. Jeremiah Hayes had 12 and Seth Hoffman and Dylan Arendt each with 11.
For Boonville, Axton Nease had 17, DaWan Lomax 16, Byron Thomas six, Edrissa Bah five, Colby Caton and Aidan Lemmons each with four and Andrew Wiser with two.
In the freshmen game, Boonville defeated Marshall 44-36 to closeout the season at 3-6 overall.
With the score tied at 15-all in the first half, Boonville dominated the first quarter with a 12-7 advantage while Marshall won the second period 8-3. Meanwhile, in the second half, the Pirates outscored Marshall 29-21 to win the game by eight.
Boonville freshmen coach Blake Hackman said he was glad to end the season with a win.
“We were missing Caidyn Hazel because he was sick, but the guys played hard and made enough stops to get a win late in the fourth,” Hackman said. “We had a lot of success in our press and sped Marshall up to get a few easy baskets. Colby Caton hit a three with a minute and 10 seconds left to put us up three and we never looked back. I enjoyed working with this group of boys throughout the season. They were hard workers with great attitudes and were extremely coachable.”
Jeremiah Hayes had 13 points to lead all scorers for Marshall.
For Boonville, Colby Caton tossed in 14, Jordan Fishburn 13, Edrissa Bah seven, Cameron Poulsen five, Garrett Hundley three and Max Eckerle with two.