ARCADIA — The Thanksgiving turkey wasn’t the only thing that was stuffed on Thanksgiving. Arcadia Valley’s gymnasium was jam-packed with basketball fans on Thursday with standing room only even hard to acquire.
The host team Arcadia Valley faced the Central Rebels in the championship game and the Tigers proved their worthiness of their No. 1 seeding as they jumped out to an early lead and rode it out for a 67-48 winning score.
Central outscored the Tigers by two points over the second and third quarters, but they only drew within striking distance in the third quarter when Luke Baker hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Rebels to within six points.
Stat-wise, on paper, the Rebels matched up pretty evenly in most categories, especially in rebounding and shooting percentages, but free throw points and turnovers weighed heavily in Arcadia Valley’s favor. The Rebels were only 3-8 from the charity stripe to the Tigers 14-23.
Central (2-1) committed 25 turnovers in the game which often times resulted in points for the Tigers on the other end. Arcadia Valley (3-0) was guilty of only having 11 give-aways.
The Rebels took control under their offensive board as they were able to get inside the Tigers’ rebounders for several put back chances in the early going, but both teams found little leftovers under the Tigers basket as Arcadia Valley shot 79 percent from the floor in the first quarter, making 11 of their 14 shots including two three-pointers.
Being on fire early, the Tigers mounted an 11 point lead in the first quarter, and even though their shooting percentage waned in the later quarters, they were still able to keep their distance well ahead of the championship-hungry Rebels. Central has never won the tournament in its 83 years of existence.
Jermaine Jones claimed over half of Central’s rebounding with 16 boards to claim a double-double with 12 points. Baker’s three second-half threes catapulted him into being the Rebels scoring leader in the game with 13 points.
Blake Walker led the Tigers in scoring with 23 points, and Brock Walker was not far behind with a contribution of 18 points for a double-double, courtesy of a 10-10 free-throw performance and 10 rebounds.
Walker’s free-throw shooting and Arcadia Valley’s quick scoring in transition in the fourth quarter helped the Tigers pull away again after Baker’s threes had cut their lead in half.
The last time that an Arcadia Valley team won the tournament was in 2002. This was their 10th championship.
Arcadia Valley will begin their single-game season on Tuesday when they host the Ellington Whippets. Central will also be in action on Tuesday when they will host De Soto.
Central 12 12 14 10 – 48
Arcadia Valley 23 12 12 20 – 67
Central – Luke Baker 13, Jermaine Jones 12, Zach Cunningham 6, Tanner Skaggs 4, Matt Ketterer 4, Donovan Jones, 4, Preston Harlow 3, Donnie Bess 2. 3-ptrs- Baker 3.
Arcadia Valley – Blake Walker 23, Brock Walker 18, Jacob Spitzmiller 7, Garrett Adams 7, Erick Lindsey 7, Caleb Sutton 5. 3-ptrs- Sutton, Adams, Spitzmiller.
Clearwater 54, West County 49
The West County Bulldogs hoped to pull off an upset over the two-seed Clearwater Tigers in the Arcadia Valley Thanksgiving Tournament, but after a full-hearted effort, the Bulldogs got the short end of the wishbone, with the Tigers winning 54-49.
West County (1-2) took the early lead, thanks to the keen shooting eye of Trevor Kean hit a pair of threes to give the Bulldogs a 13-9 lead at the first break. Kean would score one more in the fourth quarter to finish with 11 points.
Zach Priest took over the scoring honors for the Bulldogs from the second quarter on. With a lone basket in the first frame, Priest went on to score a total of 21 with two three-pointers of his own.
The Bulldogs had a total of seven three-pointers as a team, but after a 23-23 tie at the half, the Tigers were able to gain the lead and stay just ahead until the final buzzer. A pair of threes by Cole Ezell and 10 free throws by the Tigers highlighted their fourth quarter.
Ethan Scott led Clearwater with 16 points, Ezell had 14 and Luke Hillis scored 12 in a balanced Tiger scoring attack.
West County is off until December 8 when they travel to Potosi for their next game.