The SoBoCo Eagles basketball teams were not scheduled on Tuesday, however, a major piece of sports news was Tweeted out of Boonville:

“It’s official,” Boonville Daily News reporter Chris Bowie wrote, “the Boonville School Board voted tonight to join the Tri-County Conference. Boonville currently competes in the NCMC.”

The Boonville Pirates will replace the Warsaw Wildcats.
SoBoCo Activities Director Pat Lacy said he was pleased by the announcement.

“I think it’s great,” Lacy said, “it helps us with scheduling by adding a team. Plus, Boonville is super competitive in athletics, academics and they have great facilities.”

In fact, the Pirates will arguably have the best facilities in the conference on their first official day as a part of the Tri-County. But for most of the activities directors in the Tri-County Conference, the addition of Boonville means a better geographic situation that Warsaw, allowing students to return home from games on school nights an hour to two hours earlier than if they traveled to Warsaw.

The Pirates also participate in nearly every sport available – fielding a wrestling team (the Eagles have a first-year wrestling squad), tennis and soccer (SoBoCo and Osage are the only other Tri-County schools with soccer teams).

The Pirates have been at the top of the NCMC in recent years in multiple sports with volleyball and baseball teams competing at the Final Four in recent years. Boonville has also won district titles in football, soccer and girls basketball in recent years.

Lacy would not comment on whether or not the Versailles Tigers would be leaving the Tri-County Conference, only stating that a decision there would be made in mid-January. Reports from the Versailles Leader-Statesman newspaper depict a divided community opinion as well as a division in school administration and coaches.

Versailles High School has lost about 80 students in recent years and the lower student population puts its athletic teams at a disadvantage when competing with growing schools such as Osage, Blair Oaks or Southern Boone. Versailles, along with Warsaw and California, dropped down from Class 3 to Class 2 this past fall for its football season.

If Versailles bolts to another conference, it is widely thought that the Tri-County Conference would seek partnerships with Centralia or Fulton High School.

By Bruce Wallace