Lady Pirates upend Westminster Christian Academy 65-50 in Class 4 quarterfinal game

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville Lady Pirates basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker gets his piece of history with the cutting of the nets after the Lady Pirates beat Westminster Christian Academy in a Class 4 quarterfinal game on Saturday.
Boonville senior Brooke Eichelberger helps cut down the nets after beating Westminster Christian Academy 65-50 in a Class 4 quarterfinal game Saturday in Boonville.
Boonville senior Kennedy Renfrow drives the baseline in the second half Saturday against Westminster Christian Academy in a Class 4 quarterfinal playoff game at the Windsor gymnasium in Boonville.

Boonville senior Kennedy Renfrow knew before stepping on the floor that the Lady Pirates were going to be victorious against Westminster Christian Academy.

Although Renfrow may have been a little more nervous in sectionals and district tournament, she had a feeling in this game.

“I really wasn’t nervous,” Renfrow said. “I knew that we were going to come out on top.”

Renfrow was right and had a huge part in the teams success while finishing with 19 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the field.

As for the rest, the Lady Pirates claimed a 65-50 win over Westminster to move on to the Final Four on Friday, March 19 at JQH Arena in Springfield. Boonville, 25-2 on the season, will play Benton, 15-9, in the semifinal round starting at 8 p.m.

Benton won in overtime on Saturday against El Dorado Springs 41-38.

In other quarterfinal games, Vashon won easily over Central (Park Hills) 70-44, while Mt. Vernon rallied past Blair Oaks 46-45.

Vashon will play Mt. Vernon in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Boonville Lady Pirates basketball coach Jaryt Hunziker said his team is destined to be here.

“We were here in 2015 and these same girls on the floor now were sitting behind the bench,” Hunziker said. “I'm so glad not only for these girls experiences, but the community to do it here. You know, how often does a team get to play a quarterfinal game at their own place so that makes it extra special. I'm glad we could do this for Boonville as well.”

At 23-4 coming into the game, Westminster Christian Academy definitely had the height advantage over Boonville. But for the Lady Pirates, they had the quickness and experience with four seniors on the floor versus just one for the Wildcats.

In the last three games, Boonville has forced 20 plus turnovers while holding opponents to 52 points or less.

This game had all of the makings of being two powerhouses going at each other for 32 minutes.

And for the first-four minutes, Westminster seemed to get the better of Boonville on top 9-5 with junior Carlie Vick showing her strength from the outside with five points.

However, over the final three minutes and eight seconds of the first period, the Lady Pirates proved that they could also score with the big girls after reeling off 10 straight to go up 15-9.

The second quarter was also back and forth, with Westminster rallying back behind the play of junior Brooke Highmark to go up 23-22 with 3:35 left.

Highmark, who has already committed to Belmont University, finished the first half with 17 of the team’s 29 points.

However, after taking a 26-24 lead after a three by Highmark, Westminster could only watch as Boonville rallied back with seven straight on back to back twos from Emma West and Kourtney Kendrick and a three by Kennedy Renfrow to go up 31-26. 

Of course no shot was bigger than the three by Renfrow to closeout the first half to extend Boonville’s lead to seven at 36-29.

Hunziker said Renfrow is the X factor. “When Kennedy is on, we’re going to play well,” Hunziker said. 

Renfrow said she really didn’t expect the shot before the half to go in.

“I just kind of threw it up,” Renfrow said. “I’m going to say it was planned, but that was awesome, especially with the whole crowd being here and just hearing everyone and then all my teammates running towards me to congratulate me. That just felt amazing.”

Although the lead stretched to seven at the break, Hunziker said the speech at halftime was that it was 0-0. 

“There's still plenty of time left,” Hunziker said. “16 minutes left. These guys have some great pieces, so defensively we had to make sure we located their shooters. Highmark had 17 or their 29, so we had to make sure we located her and keep her in front of us and continue to do a good job on the rebounds. And offensively, we just had to keep attacking.”

Attacking Boonville did in the third quarter while reeling off seven straight to start to half to extend the lead to 14 at 43-29.

The Lady Pirates also put the clamps defensively on Westminster in the third by holding the Wildcats to just seven points.

That combination along with a 7-0 run at the midway point in the third quarter was just enough to give Boonville a little cushion on top by 19 at 50-31.

The Lady Pirates also held a 18-7 advantage in the third to lead Westminster 54-36. The Wildcats also received a significant blow when sophomore Julia Coleman fouled out of the ballgame at the 2:41 mark.

Coleman fouled out of the game with four points but was a huge factor in rebounding and handling the ball for Westminster.

With just eight minutes separating Boonville and its third Final Four bid in  the history of the program, the Lady Pirates came out and took business just like they have done all season by pushing the lead to as much as 23 points at 63-40 after a basket by junior Addi Brownfield. 

Although Westminster would go on to outscore Boonville 14-11 in the period, they never got any closer than 14 points.

Of course it wasn’t until the final minute of the game that Boonville began to celebrate along with the crowd.

Boonville senior Jodie Bass said she has wanted this since fourth grade.

“We knew this was for the seniors and it was our last year, so we had to give it all we had,” Bass said. “Really there was nothing to lose, so we just had to push the whole time and we knew we could beat them.”

Bass said she was also happy that Renfrow had a big game.

“Kennedy is smart, she knows what she’s doing and she knows her role,” Bass said. 

Brownfield led all scorers for Boonville with 26 points along with nine rebounds and five assists.

Renfrow, meanwhile, finished the game with 19 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists while Bass chipped in 11 points, four assists, four steals and two rebounds, Kourtney Kendrick five points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, Emma West four points, eight rebounds and two assists and Brooke Eichelberger with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.

For Westminster, who finished the season at 24-4, Highmark finished the game with 27 while Vick chipped in 10.