Pirates fall in C4 D8 Tournament semis against Fulton, 80-66
Facing 17-2 Fulton Tuesday night in the semifinal round of the Class 4 District 8 Tournament at Fulton was more than just two good teams battling it out on the hardcourt.
A trip to the championship game against the winner of No. 1 Father Tolton or No. 4 Southern Boone was at stake.
Although the Hornets came in having won 14 games in a row, the Pirates had also found their mojo as of late with 90 or more points in two out of their last three games.
But something had to give, and that something was a hard-fought victory for the Hornets 80-66-which really wasn’t decided until the final six minutes of the ballgame.
The loss dropped Boonville to 16-8 overall while Fulton improved to 18-2 on the season. The Hornets will play Father Tolton, a 57-46 winner over Southern Boone, for the title on Thursday in Columbia starting at 7 p.m.
Boonville Pirates basketball coach Mark Anderson said after the game that this was two really good teams and that one of them is going to go home tonight.
“We didn’t want it to be us, but that was a heck of a game,” Anderson said. “The score is not indicative of how close that game was. We talked about how we need to win three more possessions, and I thought they did that. But I'm proud of the fact that we went down swinging tonight. It was a heck of a game and I thought we battled our tails off.”
With four sophomores on the court most of the night for Fulton, the Pirates definitely had the upper hand when it comes to experience.
But that mattered little to the Hornets, who led by as much as five in the first half but also trailed by as much as four on two different occasions at 28-24 and 49-45.
With nine ties and 11 lead changes in the ballgame, it came down to who had the hot hand in the final eight minutes.
As it turned out, Fulton had its best scoring quarter of the ballgame while Boonville had its worst after putting up only nine points on 4 of 17 shooting from the field.
Anderson said Boonville was right there at the end of the half but hated the three to go into the break to put Fulton up by five at 35-30.
“We were right there and came back out and got the lead in the third quarter,” Anderson said. “We thought they had some holes in their zone and I thought we kind of exploited some of that. But we just couldn’t get anything done after that in the fourth quarter. We had a chance with four free throws there to stretch it out a little bit.
“I think we were down 61-59 and then we missed four three throws and then they came back with a basket and a three-pointer to go up by seven. We haven’t been a good free throw shooting team all year and I think that might have showed its ugly face at that point, and I feel like maybe we ran out of gas and lost our legs a little bit in the fourth.”
Nonetheless, the Pirates battled a two loss team for 32 minutes. And even though Fulton led 18-13 after one and 35-30 at the break, Boonville was still right where it wanted to be going into the final period up by one at 57-56.
The third period was also Boonville’s best quarter of the game as the Pirates outscored Fulton 27-21 to take a one point lead. That quarter also featured seven threes-four by Boonville-and had the Pirates up by four at 49-45 after a three by Jackson Johns with 3:36 left.
However, in the final period, Fulton used its athleticism and Boonville’s cold shooting to pull away while reeling off nine straight during a two minute stretch to extend the lead to 13 at 77-64.
The Hornets also held a 24-9 scoring edge in the fourth.
Charlie Bronakowski had 27 points to pace all scorers for Boonville while Courtland Simmons led four players in double figures for Fulton with 21 points. Bronakowski also finished the game with eight points, three rebounds and three steals.
Luke Green finished the game with 15 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist while Jackson Johns added eight points, three rebounds and two assists, Lane West six points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals, D.J. Wesolak six points, seven assists, five rebounds and one steal, Kayle Rice four points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal and DaWan Lomax with one rebound.
For Fulton, Walker Gohring had 16, Josh Reams 13 and A.J. Henderson with 11.
Boonville also finished the game, shooting 41 percent from the field, 22.9 percent from the three and 47 percent from the foul line. Fulton shot 51 percent from the field, 35 percent from the three and 70 percent from the charity stripe.