Boonville Pirates basketball coach Mark Anderson knew the Helias Crusaders could shoot the ball well from the three.
But he didn’t know the Crusaders would shoot it that well Thursday night in the championship in the Class 4 District 10 Tournament at Capital City High School in Jeff City.
Although the Pirates had plenty of opportunities to take the lead, it goes back to the Crusaders being able to score from the arc. Helias made four of its seven threes in the second quarter alone, and then held off a fourth quarter rally by Boonville for a 70-63 victory.
The Pirates finished the season at 20-6 overall. As for Helias, they will move on to the sectional round of the state playoffs on Tuesday, March 10 at Missouri S&T in Rolla. The Crusaders, 21-6, will play the winner of Rolla (11-6) or Salem (13-13).
Anderson said his team just couldn’t get over the hump in the second half.
“We dug ourselves that hole and just played an awful minute in a half or two minutes to end the half and course it was coupled with the fact that they were just hitting everything they shot during that stretch,” Anderson said. “I am really proud of the fact that we were really back in it by the end of the third quarter and a lot of teams would have packed it in at that point because it was not looking very good.
“We came right back and had chances to tie it but just a few little things that they were probably better with than us. I didn't think we shot great from the free throw line. But I'm just really proud of our effort and the fact that we scratched and clawed and went toe to toe with them.”
Toe to toe and shot for shot.
That pretty much describes how close the Pirates were to knocking off the Crusaders.
In fact, Boonville led after the first eight minutes against Helias by a score of 17-13 while out-shooting and out-rebounding the Crusaders.
While hitting 7 of 13 shots from the field in the opening period, nobody expected the Pirates to continue that streak in the second period.
But for the first four and a half minutes, Boonville played Helias to four ties at 19-19, 23-23, 25-25 and 28-28.
However it was the 7-0 run early in the second quarter and a 11-0 run over the final minute and 40 seconds that allowed the Crusaders to widen the gap to 11 at 44-32 at the half.
Helias also outscored Boonville 31-19 in the second period.
Anderson said at that point as Helias was firing away at the three in the second quarter, you just have to cross your fingers and hope they miss some.
“They didn’t do that for us tonight,” Anderson said. “Too much of it depends on them. It’s frustrating as an opponent when they start hitting shots and they are hitting them from deep. You just have to hope that they miss some and I thought when they did we did a pretty good job of rebounding the ball. They’re tough and they’re good when they hit shots.”
The same could be said for the Pirates. The third quarter was proof as Boonville came back and outscored Helias 19-9 on 7 of 13 shooting from the field to cut the lead to two at 53-51.
The Pirates also closed out the period on a 9-2 run, which ended on a three by sophomore Luke Green.
Boonville also had its chances in the final period. Although the Crusaders outscored the Pirates 16-12 in the period, Boonville had it down to one (55-54) after a basket by sophomore D.J. Wesolak.
Sophomore Tyson Franklin also gave Boonville a chance with a three with 52 seconds left to cut the lead to two at 64-62. However over the next 50 seconds, the Crusaders would hit 6 of 8 shots from the foul line to seal the victory.
Anderson said the Pirates had a chance throughout the fourth quarter.
“We missed some free throws down the stretch that felt pretty crucial,” Anderson said. “We shortened our bench a little bit and I’m sure we had some tired legs out there, particularly at halftime when you are in that hole. You just hope you have a chance to win at some point and we did, but we just couldn’t quite make a couple of plays.”
Despite the loss, Anderson said this was a really fun season. He said the guys were awesome.
“When you get to 20 wins it’s a pretty good landmark for what you want to accomplish,” Anderson said. “You look at our losses, we really didn’t have any bad losses. We lost to some really good teams and did some special things. Hopefully, we’ll come back and take a couple of extra steps next year.”
Marcus Anthony led five players in double figures for Helias with 18 points. Damon Johanns chipped in 14, Isaac Johnson 11 and Malcom Davis and Colby LeCuru each with 10.
For Boonville, Charlie Bronakowski finished the game with a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He also had four assists and two steals.
Luke Green had 15 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal while Tyson Franklin added 14 points and six rebounds, D.J. Wesolak 10 points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist, Kayle Rice four points, three rebounds and one steal and Lane West with two points and five rebounds.
The Crusaders also finished the game shooting 47 percent from the field, 44 percent from the three-point line and 60 percent from the foul line. As for Boonville, they shot 52 percent from the field, 35 percent from the arc and 38 percent from the free throw line.