The Hannibal boys basketball team swept its season series against Kirksville with a dominant 69-53 road win Friday night.
The Hannibal boys basketball team swept its season series against Kirksville with a dominant 69-53 win in a North Central Missouri Conference road game Friday night.
Dezi Jones did his part and then some to make it happen.
The junior playmaker finished with 46 points — 21 of which came in the second quarter — to help the Pirates build a lead and never look back.
It was the second straight NCMC contest Jones netted 40-plus points after he set the program's single-game record with 47 against Marshall on Jan. 19.
“We were playing really well offensively,” Hannibal coach Marty Hull said. “Believe it or not with having Dezi score 46, we were actually patient and making several passes and setting screens. Dezi got to the free-throw line and shot a lot of elbow jumpers and even had a few assists.”
Hannibal (11-8, 6-1 NCMC) got buckets from five different players in the first quarter to take an 18-10 lead through the first eight minutes of play.
Jones scored all of Hannibal's points in the second period to help the Pirates lead 39-23 at halftime.
Kirksville (6-14, 1-6) rallied to within striking distance in the third quarter with a pair of buckets from John Bohon and a three by Paxton Dempsay.
“They made a little run in the third quarter, but we kept doing our thing and played through that,” Hull said. “We weathered the storm and stretched it back out.”
Jones capped the night with a dozen points in the fourth to secure the win.
Kirksville's leading scorer Austin Penick failed to score in the first quarter and was held in check the majority of the night, scoring 16 points.
Hannibal senior Wyatt Waelder was tasked with slowing the Tigers No. 1 threat.
“We knew Penick was their best player,” Hull said. “Wyatt did a tremendous job making that kid work for every single shot. Wyatt only scored two points, but he probably helped them not to score 10 to 15 points by doing such a good job defensively. He really made them go to their second and third options.
“He never got a rest, never asked for a rest, and played his heart out the whole game on defense. That just shows how good he is.”
Hannibal led 61-51 with three minutes left and went on an 8-2 run to close out the game.
Kirksville coach Tyler Martin mentioned his team never had the breakthrough it needed.
“I thought Hannibal did a good job of getting into us, defensively,” Martin said. “They took us out of rhythm. We still have got some stuff we were trying to get to but it was just out of sync. I don’t think our guys ever really got into a flow on the offensive end. It just felt like we were playing catchup the whole time.”
Preston Bennett netted eight points for Hannibal, while John Trenhaile scored six and Adreke Brumbaugh had five.
The win was Hannibal's sixth consecutive in conference play entering a home game against Boonville on Monday.
“I'm ecstatic to be 6-1 right now,” Hull said. “Fulton is undefeated in conference and we still go on the road there (Feb. 16), but just excited to be 6-1 in such a tough conference.”
Hannibal JV wins at Kirksville
Four Pirates scored in double figures as the Hannibal junior varsity team defeated Kirksville 52-48 on Friday night.
Tristen Terrill led the way with 13 points. Andrew Vaia scored 12 points, while Jadon Ratliff and Logan Liverett each netted 11.
Ratliff scored eight points in the second quarter to help Hannibal take a 32-17 lead into the intermission.
“We started out strong in the first half,” Hannibal JV coach Nic Frericks said. “Our defense rotations were as solid as they’ve been all year and our press gave them trouble. We were able to secure rebounds and get out in transition, which turned into quality shots for us.”
Kirksville responded to outscore Hannibal 17-3 in the third period, forcing the visiting Pirates to respond.
“We had only our second halftime lead of the season and came out a little too confident in the third quarter,” Frericks said. “Give a lot of credit to Kirksville and their coaches. They made some really good adjustments against our half court zone and killed us on the glass in the third.
“Fortunately we made the adjustments we needed in the fourth, kept our composure, and closed the game out under control the rest of the way.”
After starting the season 1-8, the Pirates JV has won three out of its past five games.