Boonville Pirates basketball coach Mark Anderson had several reasons for wanting to beat Warrenton in the opening round of the Southern Boone Classic Tuesday night in Ashland.
As the No. 3 seed in the tournament, a win would move the Pirates into a semifinal matchup against No. 2 seeded Battle.
But first, Boonville had to win against Anderson’s alma mater-a team he has never coached against in his tenure.
As it turned out, Anderson watched sophomore D.J. Wesolak hit a three in the corner with 4 seconds left to lift the Pirates past Warrenton 63-62.
Boonville, 14-3, will play Battle in the semifinal round on Thursday, Feb. 6-weather permitting-starting at 7:30 p.m. Battle received a forfeit in the late game after Fulton not to play  due to threat of inclement weather.
Of course it didn’t look good early on for the Pirates, who have developed a pattern of falling behind early in recent weeks and rallying in the second half.
Such was the case again on Tuesday as Warrenton jumped out to a 21-16 first-quarter lead only to have Boonville rally back with a 18-16 advantage in the second period to cut the lead to three at 37-34. Meanwhile, in the third quarter, Boonville again outscored Warrenton 17-13 to go up 51-50. Then, in the fourth quarter with the game still undecided, the Pirates matched Warrenton with 12 points for the victory.
Anderson said this was the second exciting finish in a row.  
“We trailed most of the first half, and we had trouble guarding Brett Smith, who played a great game,” Anderson said. “He was able to get to the rim too easily, and we really struggled to stay in front of him.  We took a lead midway through the third quarter, and then the game kind of went back and forth for a while as the lead switched hands.”
From that point on, Anderson said Warrenton opened up a 7-point lead at 62-55 with 1:50 to play.  But the players, Anderson said, stuck together and found a way to win and made some plays down the stretch.  
“D.J. hit a three with about 1:20 left to cut it to four and then Warrenton missed a front-end of a 1-and-1 with 1:11 to play,” Anderson said. “Lane West took the rebound and went coast-to-coast for a basket to cut it to 62-60 with just over a minute to go.  We forced a turnover with our press, but Luke missed a three-pointer with about 15 seconds to play.  Warrenton then missed another front-end of a 1-and-1 with 13.2 seconds to play, and we pushed the ball up the floor and D.J. hit another three-pointer from the right wing with about 4 seconds to play to give us a 63-62 lead.”
Anderson said Warrenton was out of timeouts, and they inbounded the ball and missed a length of the court heave at the buzzer.
“It was an exciting finish, and a big-time shot by D.J.,” Anderson said. “Our guys had a lot of chances throughout the game to fold, but we kept scratching and clawing and we stayed together to find a way to win.  Warrenton played really, really well, and there’s no doubt that we were a little lucky to come out with a win.  But we’ve talked with our guys before about good teams finding a way to win when you don’t play your best, and that’s what we did tonight.  While we didn’t play great for most of the game, we made some big plays down the stretch.”
 Charlie Bronakowski led Boonville with a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Bronakowski also had four assists and three steals in the game.
Lane West finished the game with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists while D.J. Wesolak added 12 points and four rebounds, Luke Green seven points and one rebound, Jackson Johns six points and one assist, Tyson Franklin five points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals, Nick Ferrari three points and Kayle Rice with two points, two rebounds and one assist.
Boonville also finished the game, hitting 25 of 49 shots from the field for 51 percent and 7 of 9 shots from the foul line for 78 percent.
For Warrenton, Brett Smith had 19 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and four steals. Travis Toebben chipped in 18 while Sam Smith added 17.