Lady Pirates win Class 4 sectional playoff game against Macon, 64-52
Boonville senior Kourtney Kendrick knew it was now or never Wednesday night in a Class 4 sectional playoff game against the Macon Tigers.
With both teams entering the game with a combined record of 48-3, you could almost sense a business-like approach for the Lady Pirates.
Of course nobody seemed to be more focused than Kendrick, who finished with a game-high 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 8 of 9 from the foul line.
Kendrick’s performance was one of many reasons why Boonville defeated Macon 64-52 to advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 13 at the Windsor gymnasium in Boonville, starting at 1 p.m.
The Lady Pirates, 24-2 on the season, will face 23-4 Westminster Christian Academy. Westminster beat Lutheran St. Charles on Wednesday 61-40.
Kendrick said she thought the team came ready to go. “I think we knew if we didn’t come out strong that it would be a tough time to get back in it, and if you come out strong, that really puts down their spirt,” Kendrick said.
No problem there. With four players in double figures for Boonville, the Lady Pirates also continued its string of forcing 20-plus turnovers in the last three games. With 53 forced turnovers in the district tournament, Boonville’s defense was on full display again on Wednesday while forcing Macon to turn it over 25 times-17 in the first half.
Boonville girls basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker said it’s simply win or go home. “We have to step it up on the defensive end knowing if there are any let downs the season ends,” Hunziker said. “The defense is something that can be consistent every night with effort compared to offense and shooting.
“Even though we had a rough four quarter, we played our hearts out the first three. We were attacking the basket, knocking down the outside shot and went 13 of 14 from the foul line. Kourtney also had a career game tonight as she put constant pressure on Macon’s defense by attacking them off the dribble and going 8 of 9 from the charity stripe. Addi Brownfield, Jodie Bass and Kennedy Renfrow all had big nights offensively, but did it with their defense as well.”
Except for the lapse in the fourth quarter, Boonville never trailed in the game against Macon and led 18-9 after one and 38-20 at the break.
The 18 point lead at the half was also Boonville’s biggest lead after the first 16 minutes, which came on a basket by Brownfield with 11 seconds left.
With runs of 7, 6, 8 and 6 in the first half, the Lady Pirates also had three players in double figures at the break-with Brownfield and Kendrick pouring in 13 points each and Bass with 10.
While shooting 67 percent from the field in the first half, Boonville seemed to have little fall off in the third quarter by outscoring Macon 18-13 to lead by as much as 26 at 56-30.
Unfortunately that all changed in the final period as Macon mounted a comeback to cut the lead down to 10 after reeling off 13 in a row to make it 56-46 with 3:48 left.
Hunziker said Macon never gave up and after cutting it to 10 made the Lady Pirates have to re-focus during a timeout and correct their mistakes to put the game away.
“We have so much respect for Macon for the way they play the game and how hard they work on the defensive end,” Hunziker said.
Brownfield said on the fourth quarter comeback by Macon: “In basketball games there’s always up and downs and other teams make runs. It’s just how we respond, and I think we responded really, really well tonight. We’ve been through so much adversity and so much struggle this year so we want this to be our year. We’re going to play every game like it’s our last and I think we proved that tonight.”
Luckily for Boonville, they were able to re-focus after the run by Macon by reeling off six straight to push the lead back to 16 at 62-46. The Lady Tigers, who finished the season at 25-3 overall, pulled to within 12 in the final minute but never got any closer.
Despite the 12 point win, Kendrick said the team has to stay strong. “We’ve got to stay strong in the fourth because that’s usually when our mentality kind of starts to decrease,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick also had three steals, two rebounds and two assists in the game for the Lady Pirates.
Brownfield finished the game with 19 points, four steals, three assists and two rebounds, while Bass added 15 points and one rebound, and Renfrow 10 points, five rebounds, three steals and one assist. Brooke Eichelberger also had seven rebounds, four steals and two assists in the game for Boonville.
For Macon, Lexi Miller had 25 and Kate Hawkins with 10.
The Lady Pirates also finished the game, shooting 58 percent from the field, 38 percent from the three and 93 percent from the foul line.
Commenting on Westminster Christian Academy, Hunziker said they are one of the best teams in Class 4, especially with the schedule they play around the St. Louis area.
“They have height with 6-2 and 6-0 and athleticism,” Hunziker said. “They also have a great guard in Highmark that scores 18 ppg and can get to the rim, but also shoots well from the perimeter. Defensively, they play man defense and like to get up and pressure you. We will be up to the challenge for sure. We are playing at a high level right now and our girls are focused at the task at hand. It will be nice to play in front of our great community support with a chance of making it to the Final four. The comforts of playing on our own court and feeding off the crowds energy is very beneficial.”
Note: The winner of Saturday’s game will move on to the semifinal round of the state tournament on Friday, March 19 at JQH Arena in Springfield. Tip off for the semifinal game is 8 p.m. Boonville or Westminster will face either El Dorado Springs or St. Joseph Benton in the semis.
In the other quarterfinal round games on Saturday, Central (Park Hills) will face Vashon while Blair Oaks battles Mt. Vernon.
The two winners will meet in the semifinals on March 19 at 6 p.m. at JQH Arena.
The championship game in Class 4 is scheduled for Saturday, March 20 at JQH Arena, starting at 4 p.m.
The third place game will take place at 10 a.m. on March 20 at Hammons Student Center.