The Hannibal boys’ basketball team lost a tough one Friday night, falling 71-54 to Kirksville.
“Defensively we really struggled,” Hannibal coach Matt Pugh said. “We really struggled guarding the basketball again and we gave up - I think they had over 30 attempts from the free throw line. That puts you in a tough spot.”
The game opened with both teams battling each other. There were five different lead changes in the first quarter. But when the opening quarter closed out, Kirksville had a 13-11 lead.
Things fell apart for Hannibal in the second quarter. Kirksville outscored the Pirates 19-8 to take a 32-19 lead into the break.
“In the second quarter we just didn’t score,” Pugh said. “I think we had a (eight) point quarter and we just really struggled offensively to find any sort of flow and rhythm to the game. I think that was a big key to it.”
Trailing by 13 at the start of the third quarter, the Pirates got in a lot of foul trouble. Hannibal picked up more fouls (nine) than it scored points (six) in the third quarter. Kirksville outscored the Pirates 22-6.
“We talked about a few minor adjustments that we were going to try to make (at halftime),” Pugh said. “We just did execute much of anything tonight. That is something that we have got to fix or it is going to be a long last few weeks.”
Trailing by 30 to start the final eight minutes, the Pirates tried to battle back in the fourth quarter. Hannibal scored more points in the fourth quarter (29) than it did the rest of the game (25). The Pirates outscored the Tigers 29-17, but the deficit was to great to overcome.
“I felt like we just played harder in the fourth quarter,” Pugh said. “There was a little sense of urgency. The guys played hard and got after it and made some things happen. Next thing you know we have made a few jump shots and that’s a huge difference.”
If there were any positives in the Pirates’ loss, it was that Hannibal had four players reach double figure scoring.
“That is something that we have been trying to get now for several weeks,” Pugh said. “Outside of Dylan (Powell) and really Dalton (Powell) and Eric (Hugenberg), we got that tonight.”
Freshman Dylan Powell recorded a double-double as he led the Pirates with game-highs in both scoring (18) and rebounds (15). Eric Hugenberg was second with 13 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter. Hugenberg hit three of the Pirates seven treys.
“If there is a silver lining to it, the last couple of times out, it has been Dylan,” Pugh said. “He just continues to work and he is going to continue to get better. He continues to work night in and not out every single practice, he continues to be a sponge and listens to us. He has got the ability and opportunity to be a pretty dang good player by the time it is all said and done.”
Also finishing in double figures were Mitch Nichols and Dalton Powell. Nichols finished the night with 11 points while Dalton Powell chiped in 10 points. Dalton Powell pulled down 8 rebounds and came with two boards of recording a double-double like his brother did.
With the loss, Hannibal falls to 6-14 on the season.
Things weren’t as bad for Hannibal in junior varsity action.
Trailing by six at the end of the first half, the Hannibal junior varsity team battled back and took the lead with 4 seconds left in the third quarter. From that point on, the Pirates controlled the game as they beat Kirksville 56-47.
The JV Pirates outscored the JV Tigers 15-8 in the third quarter.
Hannibal kept scoring in the fourth quarter too. During the final eight minutes, the JV Pirates outscored Kirksville 23-15.
Hannibal built up its fourth quarter lead to a high of 12 points, 47-35 with 3:10 left in the game.
Jerry McBride led the JV Pirates with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Also scoring in double figures was Jack Richards. Richards finished with 13 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
With the win, the JV Pirates improved to 7-7 on the season.