CALEDONIA – Austin Jarvis deflected a soft pass near midcourt and darted to the rim for a pivotal dunk after his team nearly squandered an entire 16-point lead on Tuesday evening.
The Bismarck sophomore finished an explosive performance with 36 points and 15 rebounds, and the fourth-seeded Indians downed Kingston 70-56 in the first round of the Valley boys tournament.
Hunter Drake flirted with a potential double-double, compiling 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as Bismarck (2-2) advanced to meet top seed Grandview in Friday’s semifinal round.
Kingston (0-2) stormed back with a strong third quarter, and eventually pulled to within one possession with senior forward Dayton Shepard leading the attack.
Shepard tallied 23 points and 11 rebounds overall, and finished a pair of powerful drives to make it 51-49 with about six minutes to play.
Jarvis answered by making two free throws – part of his 15-point fourth quarter – and likewise raised the offensive tempo whenever possible.
A subsequent attempt resulted in charging foul as Jonathan Dickerson absorbed the contact, but Jarvis atoned moments later with his second slam of the season that restored a 56-49 margin.
Freshman Logan Dunn muscled in a putback on the next Bismarck trip, and Drake attacked from the right side after burning more than 30 seconds to punctuate a clinching 11-0 outburst.
Dunn had eight points and Pierce McGeorge chipped in seven for the Indians, who made 16-of-26 free throws compared to a struggling 7-of-18 by the Cougars.
Steven Mitchelle hit a 3-pointer and Cole Ragan slashed inside to help Kingston trim the halftime margin to 33-22. A rash of Bismarck turnovers fueled the rally into the third quarter.
Ragan netted seven of his 12 points within a five-minute stretch, and the Cougars executed several effective cuts away from the ball.
Michael Wallace found space along the baseline for a layup, and the period ended with Bismarck clinging to a 47-43 edge.
But the Cougars were stalled by numerous miscues of their own down the stretch, and will play Bunker in the fifth-place bracket on Wednesday.
Bismarck played more than 10 minutes before committing its first turnover, and built a 15-7 advantage on 3-pointers by Jarvis and Austin Droege.
Chris Smith snagged an offensive rebound and found Drake open to establish the game’s largest separation at 28-12.
Grandview defeated Bunker 74-48, Greenville topped Lesterville 62-37 and Marquand edged Valley 56-47 in other first-round action.