For approximately 10 minutes of Friday’s first half, Boone Central appeared unstoppable, hounding the visiting Pierce Bluejays with full-court defense and sinking nine field goals – four from 3-point range – to take a 33-23 lead into intermission.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, there was still one more half to play.
The final 16 minutes were a complete turnaround, as Pierce fought back to score a 55-47 Mid-State Conference victory by outscoring Boone 32-14.
It was a striking momentum shift.
Boone even had the benefit of 6-foot-6 Bluejay star Ben Brahmer – whose 16 points had kept Pierce as close as it was – picking up his fourth foul just past the midway point of the third period. Even with Brahmer on the bench for a large chunk of the half, Pierce was the aggressor and more proficient team.
Mixing zone defense with it’s usual man-to-man, Pierce limited Boone Central to 6-of-22 shooting from the field in the second half after the Cards went 12-of-24 in the first two periods.
Offensively, senior Abram Scholting took over the game. Scholting, who would finish with a game-high 29, scored all Bluejay points in a 12-0 run over a stretch of the third and fourth quarters, putting Pierce ahead 47-41 with four minutes to play.
Boone drew as close as four points twice down the stretch on drives by Alex Christo, but Pierce sealed the ‘W’ at the free throw line, sinking 13-of-15 in the fourth period.
Along with going cold from the field, Boone Central suffered severely at the charity stripe. While Pierce knocked down 17-of-21 free throws in the second half, the Cardinals converted only 2-of-10.
“I think our movement stopped,” Boone Central Coach Justin Harris said of his team’s second half struggles. “We didn’t attack very well to create opportunities for our shooters.
“We had a great second quarter, getting the ball inside and also finding good looks for threes. We had some opportunities in the second half, but shot 6-of-22. We were able to get Brahmer in foul trouble but didn’t seem to take advantage of it.
“Free throw shooting in the second half was the difference in the game.”
Free throw shooting overall was a huge difference, as Pierce hit 26-of-33 to just 5-of-16 for Boone Central (1-2).
Further details and stats in Print & Online editions of Albion News/Boone County Tribune