PARK HILLS – Central regrouped from early defensive lapses on Saturday by limiting Farmington to one field goal throughout the entire second quarter.

The Lady Rebels quickly recaptured a lead before halftime, and did not trail again while achieving their sixth MAAA Tournament title over the past seven years with a 48-39 victory. 

Both teams created open looks early in the second quarter, but failed to convert any of those chances for nearly four minutes.

Senior Caitlyn Holmes eventually scored a transition layup after intercepting a pass near midcourt, and brought Central within 16-15.

Holmes recorded a game-high 15 points plus seven rebounds. Sophia Horton and Skyler Amonette each contributed 10 points for the Lady Rebels (22-1), while Horton added six rebounds.

Full-court pressure caused six consecutive Farmington possessions to end in turnovers midway through the second quarter. Holmes drained a pair of free throws to reclaim a 17-16 advantage with 3:40 on the clock.

Macey Pauls drilled a shot from about four feet behind the arc to stop the Farmington spiral, and narrowed the spread to 23-19 with just 25 seconds remaining in the first half.

Karissa Belfield sank a pair from the stripe to give the Lady Rebels a 25-19 advantage at intermission. They finished 13-of-20 from the foul line, while Farmington was held without an attempt.

Pauls paced the Knights (13-8) with 13 points, including three long-distance shots. Zoe Johns provided eight points and seven rebounds, while Claire Busse ended with eight rebounds. 

Central was hindered by unforced errors following the break, and its lead disappeared when Pauls briefly squared the score at 32-32. Belfield got it back by sinking a pull-up jumper with two seconds on the clock.

The Lady Rebels slowed their tempo during the final period, but were not hesitant to take open shots. Amonette and Horton each buried 3-pointers during the first two minutes to keep an advantage.

Farmington fought through screens to poke away several perimeter passes, and drew within 43-39 with two minutes to play on a 3-pointer by Virginia Lugo. But Central effectively burned time with lengthy possessions, and crashed the offensive glass to close out the victory.

Players dealt with an emotional obstacle and lengthy delay as Lugo became dizzy and collapsed while trying to stand after battling for a rebound with 53 seconds to play.

Lugo remained on her back for several minutes until emergency personnel arrived, and was removed from the court on a stretcher. According to the team's Twitter account, Lugo suffered a concussion and will undergo further evaluation this week. 

Both sides began the contest with fast-paced attacks focused on slashing into the lane. Farmington accelerated ahead by frequently breaking through the Central pressure to move the ball inside.

Busse and Johns contributed strong rebounding and a tough interior presence to help claim a 16-13 lead as the first quarter concluded.

THIRD-PLACE GAME

Arcadia Valley 75, Valle Catholic 66

PARK HILLS – Arcadia Valley protected an early lead with a potent inside attack during the second half of the MAAA Tournament third-place contest against Valle Catholic.

The Lady Tigers outweighed a late perimeter threat from Sydni Basler by working the ball in close, and sealed a 75-66 triumph.

Gracee Smith was often at the head of fast-break chances for Arcadia Valley (14-9), and ended with 21 points. Josie Landrum provided 19 points with nine rebounds, while Makayla Moise battled for 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Basler provided seven of her eight 3-pointers after the break, and finished with a game-high 32 points for Valle Catholic (10-13). Riley Siebert added 16 points and six rebounds.

The Lady Tigers consistently cut to the basket after Jaesa Brockes drilled a 3-pointer to open the third quarter. She recorded 15 points and six rebounds in the victory.

Basler kept the deficit somewhat manageable with an effective stroke from long distance, but Emily Bennett added her lone basket from the perimeter for a 60-43 Arcadia Valley lead. 

Valle Catholic chipped away down the stretch by capitalizing on Arcadia Valley turnovers. However, Landrum and Moise crashed hard to gain extra offensive possessions for AV.

Basler capped all scoring with 10 straight points during the final 90 seconds.

The Lady Tigers held a slim 17-16 advantage after Landrum made a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the first period. They proceeded on a 7-0 run to begin the second until Siebert dropped in a layup out of a timeout to make the score 24-18.

Arcadia Valley executed in transition to stretch the margin, and added points from the foul line. The Lady Tigers finished 14-of-20 at the stripe, while Valle Catholic shot 6-of-9.

Smith secured an offensive rebound, then retreated to the perimeter to drain a 3-pointer and achieve a 36-25 lead going into halftime.

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Sports Reporter

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