The 2019-20 season will be looked at as another successful season under Boonville Lady Pirates basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker.
While the Lady Pirates fell short against Helias in the district championship game, they still managed to put up 22 wins on the season not to mention they won the Tri-County Conference with a perfect record of 7-0.
Hunziker said even though the Lady Pirates came up short of where they wanted the season to end, overall it was very rewarding.
“We had 22 girls who came to practice with a hard working mentality that made practice fun and competitive,” Hunziker said. “By doing so, it allowed us to achieve some worthwhile accomplishments, including a 7-0 record in a very competitive Tri-County Conference, third place finish in the conference tournament early in the year, second in the Southern Boone Tournament and first at the Centralia Tournament.”
Although the wins were many this season for Boonville, Hunziker said beating state-ranked California and Southern Boone at the Windsor gymnasium late in the season will always be remembered. He said not only for the way they played but also for the great amount of support they received from the community.
Boonville beat California 55-35 and Southern Boone 66-55. However, earlier in the season, the Lady Eagles rallied from a double-digit deficit in the TCC Tournament to beat Boonville 65-64 and then won 51-44 in the championship in the Southern Boone Tournament over the Lady Pirates.
“The win over California and Southern Boone was not only big for the way we played, but also for the great amount of support we received from the community,” Hunziker said. “The bleachers were filled, which allowed us to feed off of their energy. These wins allowed us to secure a Tri-County Conference Championship, which is our first in the new conference and our sixth in the last eight years overall.”
After finishing second in the conference last year behind the Lady Indians of Osage, Hunziker said he was so happy for the girls and the program, especially after going 6-1 in 2018-19 and finishing behind a great Osage squad.
Hunziker said he loved watching the team get all excited when they obtain something they worked hard for.
“The Tri-County Conference is very competitive every year,” Hunziker said. “You always have a few teams that are having great seasons and usually state ranked along with others that compete every night and could win if you don’t play well. Southern Boone and California both had 20 wins seasons and accomplished many tournament championships, including the Lady Eagles making it to sectionals in Class 3. Teams like Hallsville and Blair Oaks had respectable seasons as well by winning 15-plus games.”
In addition to placing in every tournament they participated in this season, Boonville also had a win streak of 13 games from December 7 through January 30.
During that stretch, the Lady Pirates finished third in the TCC Tournament and first in the Centralia Tournament.
Hunziker said he attributed the win streak to playing great defense and unselfish on offense.
“When you have a team that buys into defense with the mentality of keeping teams from scoring along with playing so well together on the offensive end, you are going to win some games,” Hunziker said. “It is always fun when you see a player pass up a good shot to make that extra pass to a teammate who might have a great shot.”
Hunziker said Boonville also had an agenda after every game, where they would concentrate on a couple of stats which were effective field goal percentage and turnover percentage, including the Lady Pirates and their opponents.
“We wanted to have good possessions where we got great looks at the basket while making it tough for the opposing team to do the same,” Hunziker said. “On defense, we looked to turn them over as much as possible allowing us more possessions on offense, which would allow less overall possessions for them.”
Of course the Lady Pirates also had several off nights, where they would struggle shooting the ball or rebounding. Hunziker said when the team played poorly, that had to do mostly with consistent shooting and having 1-2 poor quarters of the ball not falling through the hoop.
“When you play great teams, you have to be able to finish at the basket and shoot well, especially come end of the season,” Hunziker said.
With all five starters back for the 2020-21 season, the Lady Pirates should be favored to win both a conference and district title.
But for that to happen, Hunziker said you hope players stay focused, hungry for continued success and healthy overall, which is what all programs wish for.
“We just need to continue to build on what we have stressed and developed over the years both offensively and defensively,” Hunziker said. “When you have experience coming back, it’s improving on the little things that separates wins and losses. Continuing to take small pieces of what you did well and making those skills or reads more advanced.”
In order to take that next step, Hunziker said the team has to continue finding time in the off-season to work on building strengths and improving weaknesses. He said as a team, Boonville can’t be content on where they are at since they don’t graduate anyone.
“When we start to do that we become just another program,” Hunziker said. “We have a great culture here at BHS and that includes working hard not only for yourself but for your teammates so let’s continue to improve together.”‘
One player that will return next season for the Lady Pirates is sophomore Addison Brownfield, who broke the free-throw percentage record set in 2016 by Paige Renfrow. Brownfield finished the season shooting 79 percent from the foul line, breaking Renfrow’s record which was 77 percent.
Brownfield also finished the season by leading the Lady Pirates in several categories with 403 points for 15.5 ppg along with 94 steals for 3.6 spg and 94 assists for 3.6 apg. Brownfield also led the team in field goal shooting at 51 percent, three-point shooting at 43 percent and free-throw shooting at 79 percent.
Junior Kourtney Kendrick was the leading rebounder this past season for Boonville with 165 rebounds for an average of 6.3 rpg.
As a team, Boonville finished the season with 1,685 points for an average of 64.8 ppg. The lady Pirates also finished the season shooting 44 percent from the field, 32 percent from the three-point line and 63 percent from the foul line.