POTOSI – The opening round of the MAAA Conference Tournament boys bracket in Potosi yielded no close games among its four contests, but did feature one mild upset according to the seeds as No. 9 Ste. Genevieve took down No. 8 Bismarck.
Fans who stayed around until the end also witnessed one of the best individual performances in the tournament’s storied history as Arcadia Valley junior Jack Franklin exploded for a career-high 43 points to lead the Tigers past the Valley Vikings.
The initial game of the day saw Ste. Genevieve manhandle Bismarck on both the offensive and defensive boards. A dominant 17-4 scoring margin in the fourth quarter allowed the Dragons to pull away for a 54-38 triumph, ending a tasking 10-game losing streak in the process.
An evenly-played first quarter featured nine lead changes. Ste. Genevieve (7-13) opened up an 8-4 edge on a three-pointer by Kyle Faulkner, but Bismarck would go ahead 11-10 on a basket by Sam Fisher, who finished the night with a team-high 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Dragons led by three entering the second stanza, and expanded the margin to 22-15 on back-to-back scores by Garrett Ditch, who topped all players with 18 points while collecting 11 boards.
A pair of triples by Nathan Fortner brought the Indians to within one, but the Dragons stretched the difference to 28-23 by halftime.
After Bismarck closed the gap to four on a pull-up jumper by Mike Franklin, Mike Schlueter responded with an uncontested offensive putback. However, the Indians battled back to within 37-34 by the conclusion of the third.
Two more offensive putbacks from Dustin Hutson and Ditch sparked a 7-0 run by the Dragons over the opening three minutes of the final period. Bismarck (9-10) was unable to reduce the spread to single digits over the remainder of the action.
The fifth-seeded Central Rebels received a game-high 17 points off the bench from Corey Beard and placed 11 players in the scoring column on their way to an easy 82-28 victory over winless Kingston in the second game of the opening round.
The Cougars hit three of their first four shot attempts and took an early 7-6 lead on a long three-pointer by senior B.J. Hayes, who paced Kingston with 10 points. However, Kingston would make just two field goals over the rest of the first half.
Excellent ball movement led to several easy baskets for Central (12-9), which capped the first quarter with an 11-0 scoring run. Two straight transition scores by Chris Spurgin following steals highlighted a 20-0 streak before halftime, sending the Rebels into the break with a 42-11 advantage.
The Cougars scored 15 of their 28 total points in the third quarter, highlighted by an offensive putback by Larry Lemons and the second three of the night from Hayes.
Still, the Rebels continued to pull away by driving to the basket for close-range shots. Central carried a 64-26 lead into the fourth quarter and outscored Kingston 18-2 over the final eight minutes.
The No. 6 seed, Fredericktown also enjoyed an impressive start to their tournament run during Saturday’s third contest. The Blackcats forced 19 turnovers on defense and scorched the nets on offense early en route to a 68-39 final over No. 11 Valle.
Fredericktown (6-13) used a quick transition attack to open the action with a 10-1 run, including two baskets each from D.J. Hinkle and D.J. Groves who scored 12 points apiece. The Blackcats rocketed to a 27-5 advantage with 3:00 still remaining in the first quarter.
Senior Kevin Foster provided much of Fredericktown’s offense throughout the latter two-thirds of the half, putting on a clinic in jump shooting along the way. Foster knocked down eight jumpers before halftime to accumulate his game-high 17 points.
Valle (4-15) earned most of its offense output by lobbing the ball inside. A reverse layup by Sean Odneal and a conventional three-point play by Adam Hermann gave Warriors fans something to cheer about, but the Blackcats still claimed a comfortable 44-17 surplus at intermission.
Fredericktown continued to score from several places in the third quarter. Jumpers by Mike Francis and Eli Skaggs created a 30-point margin late in the third quarter, but Valle matched the Blackcats on the scoreboard over the rest of the game to prevent a running clock.
Kyle Basler and Keith Basler each connected from the baseline in the fourth quarter to bring the Warriors to within 61-38 during the waning moments. Odneal and Hermann scored 12 points each to lead Valle.
Arcadia Valley, the No. 7 seed, capped the night’s activities by turning back an early challenge from the 10th-seeded Valley Vikings to secure a 72-50 win behind Franklin’s memorable effort.
Franklin hit four three-pointers and made 9-11 free throws on the night, reaching double-digit point totals in every quarter except for the second, including 15 in the third.
Valley (6-13) went inside to their center Michael Dodd for a three-point play and an early 10-7 advantage, but back-to-back field goals by Franklin put Arcadia Valley (12-8) ahead 17-14 when the period ended. The Tigers increased their favorable margin to 28-21 by halftime.
Arcadia Valley hit four triples as a team in the third quarter with two each from Franklin and Jake Yarbrough, outscoring the Vikings 27-11 during the stanza to turn a close battle into a rout. Yarbrough finished with 11 points for the Tigers.
Dodd was the Vikings’ top scorer with 16 points. John Tedder and Kris Kearns chipped in with nine each. Valley shot just 11-22 from the free-throw line while Arcadia Valley made 14-20 attempts.
The quarter-final round will be split up over two days with the action to commence from Mineral Area College. On Monday, top-seeded Farmington will meet Ste. Genevieve at 7 p.m. followed by No 4. North County against Central.
Tuesday’s quarter-final action will pit No. 3 Potosi versus Fredericktown at 7 p.m. with the nightcap featuring No. 2 West County taking on Arcadia Valley.
Consolation play will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday for the boys bracket as Bismarck battles Kingston. Valle will face Valley at 8 p.m.
Ste. Genevieve – 16 12 9 17 – 54
Bismarck – 13 10 11 4 – 38
Ste. Genevieve – G Ditch 18, M Schlueter 14, K Faulkner 10, J Donze 8, D Hutson 4.
3-pointers – M Schlueter 1.
Bismarck – S Fisher 13, K Randazzo 6, N Fortner 6, R Scherffius 4, M Franklin 4, T Henson 3, B Spangler 2.
3-pointers – N Fortner 2, T Henson 1.
Kingston – 7 4 15 2 – 28
Central – 18 24 22 18 – 82
Kingston – B Hayes 10, L Lemons 8, C McIllwain 6, N Boyer 2, D Kamper 2.
3-pointers – B Hayes 2.
Central – C Beard 17, B Boren 10, C Spurgin 9, D Jones 8, K Huff 8, G Clark 8, M Watkins 7, R McFarland 6, M Watkins 5, J Forsythe 2, J Carlyon 2.
3-pointers – M Watkins 1, C Spurgin 1.
Valle – 5 12 15 7 – 39
Fredericktown – 27 17 14 10 – 68
Valle – S Odneal 12, A Hermann 12, K Basler 7, D Rozier 5, K Basler 2, N Grass 1.
3-pointers – None.
Fredericktown – K Foster 17, D Hinkle 12, D Groves 12, M Francis 8, E Skaggs 8, J Clauser 5, T Beatrice 3, M Tinnin 2, J Johnson 1.
3-pointers – J Clauser 1, T Beatrice 1.
Valley – 13 8 11 18 – 50
Arcadia Valley – 17 11 27 17 – 72
Valley – M Dodd 16, K Kearns 9, J Tedder 9, A Neier 6, J Smith 4, C Price 4, K Martin 2.
3-pointers – None.
Arcadia Valley – J Franklin 43, J Yarbrough 11, A Warren 7, N Benz 5, L Smith 3, D Royer 2, W Spitzmiller 1.
3-pointers – J Franklin 4, J Yarbrough 3, A Warren 1.