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story.lead_photo.caption Jake Closser of Blair Oaks motions for a teammate to move during Friday night's game against Boonville in Wardsville. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

WARDSVILLE — Blair Oaks is usually good for at least 30 rebounds, and sometimes more than 40 for a game.

That wasn't the case Friday against the Boonville Pirates. Rebounds can only happen after missed shots, and there weren't many of those for the Falcons.

The duo of Luke Northweather and Jake Closser combined for 57 points in a 74-59 victory in the Tri-County Conference opener for the Falcons.

"I thought we were able to shoot a lot of rhythm 3s," Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said after the Falcons made 11-of-18 from beyond the arc. "Extra pass, penetrate and kick. Guys stepping into their shot and shooting in rhythm instead of trying to create off the dribble."

Closser didn't miss from long range until the fourth quarter, splashing home three 3s in the final two minutes of the third quarter as part of a 13-3 run to give Blair Oaks a 57-39 lead.

Closser scored 24 points, making 6-of-7 from long range and all three of his 2-point attempts.

"We just had guys step up and make shots and it became contagious," Fick said. "Jake Closser got hot from the perimeter."

Northweather helped close out the game with 11 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, getting four off layups and four at the free-throw line.

"If teams have to extend and guard on the perimeter, it opens things up in the paint," Fick said. "And we've done a really good job of moving the basketball and getting the ball in the paint."

Northweather also grabbed eight of Blair Oaks' 24 rebounds.

The Pirates were the hot-shooting team to start, with Jackson Johns dropping in a layup and bouncing in a 3-pointer for a 7-2 Boonville lead.

The Pirates then got a second-chance bucket from Lane West and a layup from Charlie Bronakowski on the way to a 15-11 lead at the end of one quarter.

The Pirates had a 9-4 advantage on the glass in the quarter.

"Once we kind of adapted to the physicality of it," Fick said, "I thought we did a much better job and that kind of plays into the rebounding and finishing around the rim."

Luke Green began the second quarter with a 3 from the wing before Closser answered with a 3 from the wing and a baseline layup to pull the Falcons within two.

Blair Oaks' first lead didn't come until after Northweather pulled up for a 3 from the top of the key and knocked in a contested 3 from the corner to make it 28-27 with 1:41 on the clock.

Northweather made 3-of-4 from deep and all nine of his 2-point shots as the Falcons made 67.5 percent from the field.

"They came out and shot the ball really, really well early and did a great job defensively," Fick said. "I thought we were getting decent looks. As the half went along I thought we shot the ball better."

Blair Oaks took a 30-27 advantage into halftime and the margin ballooned to 44-31 a few minutes into the second half with the help of steals by Closser and Quinn Kusgen.

The combination of Blair Oaks poking the ball away and getting hands in the face of shooters cooled off the Pirates in the third quarter.

"We kind of came out and got punched in the mouth a little bit," Fick said. "I liked the way we responded. We adjusted to the way the game was being played and we started to get to shooters better, contest, and make things a little bit more difficult."

Bronakowski and Johns each scored 22 points for Boonville.

"Johns was the one that really stepped up and had a big game," Fick said. "Bronakowski, he's gonna get his. He's just a really really good player that's gonna play at the next level."

Blair Oaks won the previous matchup with Boonville 82-70 in the conference tournament championship game in Wardsville.

"We knew it would be a great game and it was," Fick said of the rematch.

Boonville is 5-3 after the loss, 1-1 in the conference.

Blair Oaks (8-2) will play Tuesday at Hallsville.

Blair Oaks won the JV game 72-22. Chase Schnieders scored 19 points and Brayden Lehmen added 13 for Blair Oaks (3-3).

The Falcons also won the freshman game 52-15 to imrpvoe to 6-2.

Ryan Glavin led the Falcons with 12 points and Harrison Lear scored 11.

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