The Boonville Pirates basketball team did everything it could to pull out another come from behind victory Thursday night against Battle in the semifinal round of the Southern Boone Classic in Ashland.
After winning its last-two games in dramatic fashion with a last second shot, the Pirates again had a chance to do the same against Battle.
But after cutting the lead to one at 58-57 with 1:34 left, the Pirates couldn’t buy a basket as Battle closed out the game with a 5-2 advantage for a 63-59 victory.
The Pirates, 14-4 on the season, will play Carnahan in the third place game on Saturday, Feb. 8 starting at 4:30 p.m. The Cougars fell to Southern Boone in the first semifinal game 64-50.
Boonville coach Mark Anderson said you hate moral victories but this was kind of a moral victory.
“We have to treat it that way and realize that we can play with some really, really good teams if we come ready to play,” Anderson said. “But this was a game we needed to play. We don’t play anybody quite like that but that is a game that will help us. We just have to get away from the roller coaster, where we are coasting through some games and then playing really, really hard in this game. We have to get to the point where we play like this every time out.”
In a game that was back and forth all night, the Spartans led by as much as eight on three different occasions while Boonville’s biggest lead came early in the second quarter at four points.
Battle also led Boonville at the end of each quarter, taking a 15-12 advantage at the end of one and a 33-26 lead at the half.
Boonville outscored Battle 33-30 in the second half but never led despite cutting the lead to one on two different occasions at 56-55 and 58-57.
Anderson said he didn’t feel good at 38-30 and thought the game might be going the other direction.
“The kids kind of battled back and made some plays and got the ball to the rim a little bit,” Anderson said. “We just could never get over the hump. We cut it to one and had possession but made a long pass that was ill-advised. However, I am just really pleased with how hard we played and how much we competed against a team that is as athletic as anybody we are going to see.”
The Pirates also had a dismal start to the game as Battle jumped out to a five point lead on two occasions at 12-7 and 15-10. But after getting a basket by junior Lane West to closeout the period to cut the lead to three at 15-12, Boonville also came out and reeled off seven straight to start the second quarter to go up by four at 19-15.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, they had no answer offensively for Battle after that as the Spartans came back with a 7-0 run to lead by three at 22-19 with 4:05 left.
Battle also closed out the final two minutes and 35 seconds 6-2 run to lead by seven at the half.
The second half was also back and forth.
Boonville had it down to three (38-35) with 3:52 left in the third period but again had trouble finishing as the Spartans closed out the period with a 6-3 run to go up 44-38.
In the final period, Boonville and Battle traded baskets for the first-four minutes. Then, at the 3:40 mark, the Pirates went on a 6-0 run on three straight baskets by Tyson Franklin, D.J. Wesolak and Charlie Bronakowski to cut the lead to one at 56-55.
Boonville also had it down to one at 58-57 with the ball with 1:34 left. However an errant pass on the next trip down the floor allowed Battle to closeout the final minute on a 5-2 run for the victory.
Tristan Meny had 14 points to lead all scorers for Battle (11-6) while Maricus Grant and Justin Goolsby added 11 points each and Abdi Ibrahim with 10.
For Boonville, who dropped to 14-4 on the season, Tyson Franklin tossed in 16 points while Lane West added 15, D.J. Wesolak 13, Charlie Bronakowski eight, Kayle Rice three and Sam Esser and Jack Johns each with two points.
Battle hit 13 of 20 foul shots in the game compared to 11 of 18 for Boonville.
The Spartans will play Southern Boone, a 64-50 winner over Carnahan, for the title on Saturday, Feb. 8, starting at 7:30 p.m.