PARK HILLS — Valle Catholic played more than 14 minutes without notching a made field goal, and still managed to defeat MAAA Small-School champion Bismarck on its third attempt Thursday afternoon.
Junior guard Linc Stoll had a game-high 13 points and converted a perfect 6-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors prevailed 40-36 in a battle of sputtering offenses.
Senior forward Ryan Hermann was an interior force throughout the first half while compiling 10 points and 12 rebounds, and the Warriors (13-8) earned a fifth-place MAAA Tournament battle with North County on Saturday.
Valle was hindered by 22 turnovers, but never trailed after surging ahead 12-0 over the opening six minutes. A spinning shot in the lane from Hermann followed consecutive 3-pointers by Stoll and Alec Greminger.
Junior guard Klayton Loughary netted 12 points to pace the Indians (15-6), who were arguably the hottest team entering the tournament. Two positive regular-season results against Valle highlighted a recent 9-game win streak.
But Bismarck missed its first eight shots from the field, and again struggled to a 6-of-16 effort from the charity stripe. The Warriors did not surrender an offensive rebound until the midway mark of the third quarter.
A putback by Hermann extended the lead to 21-5 with about four minutes left before halftime. Valle would not record another basket until Stoll’s driving layup connected with 5:44 remaining in the contest.
Trevor Mills buried a 3-pointer after teammate Jeremia Owens maintained a sliding dribble, and Bismarck closed the half on a prolonged 10-0 run to seize momentum and stay in contention.
Loughary finished a give-and-go just moments before collecting his fourth personal foul, and Jeff Jarvis scored inside to bring the Indians within 24-23 late in the third quarter.
Valle made numerous trips to the charity stripe from there to remain ahead, and restored a 33-24 cushion. Stoll sank four clutch free throws after Colton McLane’s 3-pointer with 19 seconds to play pulled Bismarck within 36-35.
Jared Bruns chipped in eight points and nine rebounds for the Warriors.
Valle Catholic 14 7 6 13 – 40
Bismarck 3 12 8 13 – 36
Valle Catholic – Linc Stoll 13, Ryan Hermann 10, Jared Bruns 8, Alec Greminger 4, Trevor Klump 3. 3-point FG – Stoll, Greminger. (FT: 16-30)
Bismarck – Klayton Loughary 12, Jake Jarvis 7, Colton McLane 7, Ryan Johnston 4, Logan Blunt 3, Trevor Mills 3. 3-point FG – Loughary 2, McLane, Mills. (FT: 6-16)