By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Hannibal boys basketball team made two significant runs against Boonville on Tuesday at Korf Gym.
In the second quarter, Hannibal erased its early 10-point deficit to tie the game. Hannibal took the lead during the second run, when it eliminated a six-point halftime deficit to take a four-point lead with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
Both times Hannibal failed to sustain its offensive momentum in a 60-48 North Central Missouri Conference loss.
"I think we're young as a group and as we get into more of those situations we'll learn how to respond," said Hannibal coach Matt Pugh, whose team dropped to 5-12 and 0-5 in the NCMC. "Maybe a couple buckets there maybe swing things our way, but it didn't happen for us tonight."
Boonville (8-8, 2-2) raced out to a 12-2 lead in the first four minutes behind strong inside-outside play from freshman center Ta'Vious Brazil and senior guard Damario Walker, who both finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
"We were sharing the ball, and that's something we've been stressing in practice," Boonville coach Scott Floyd said. "We get out in the game, and we don't do it all the time. I thought we were sharing the ball, making the extra pass. We were trying to stay away from their traps and for the most part they did that."
Dalton Powell, who finished with a team-high 27 points for Hannibal, said the team didn't have the right level of energy.
"We were a little lethargic," Powell said. "We were coming off a three-(game) week (last week). We were a little tired and need to find ways to fight through that. We need to find the fire and competitive spirit to play harder. We're close in every game. We just don't pull it out, and we need to figure it out before the season's over."
Hannibal tied the game at 26 with 3:10 left before halftime on Powell's layup. After that, Boonville responded quickly. After baskets by Brazil and Walker, Jay Barnhart -- who also finished with 16 points -- scored at the buzzer to put Boonville ahead 32-26 at halftime.
A 3-pointer and a jumper by Powell capped a 12-2 run to open the second half that put Hannibal ahead 38-34 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. Shots stopped falling for Hannibal after it took the lead. Boonville went ahead for good with 1:34 left in the third quarter on a jumper by Barnhart. Hannibal went 3 of 15 from the field in the fourth quarter and struggled to get to the free-throw line.
"I think we stayed in the game hitting jump shots, and we didn't get the ball inside as much as we wanted to," Pugh said. "That is reflected on our free-throw attempts. We only shot three free throws on the game. We have to find a way to get some easy buckets, and we didn't do a good job of that tonight."