PARK HILLS – Skyler Amonette and Bree Seaton emerged with timely production Saturday night as the Central girls basketball team survived a serious threat to its enduring string of victories.
Megan Skaggs compiled 26 points and 11 rebounds in her return from a sprained ankle, and the Lady Rebels dominated the final 12 minutes to overtake feisty Neelyville 65-52 at the Rotary Shootout.
The defending Class 3 state champions got the formidable challenge they anticipated, and notched their 34th straight win after staring down a 9-point deficit midway through the third quarter.
Central (7-0) rallied under pressure to outscore Neelyville 31-7 during an extensive stretch. Amonette provided 13 points and Seaton had 12 in a contest where top perimeter shooter Olivia Casey was held without a field goal.
Senior standout Shelby Moon drilled six 3-pointers and scored 22 for Neelyville (5-1), which projected no intimidation after making its own postseason push to the Class 2 state quarterfinals last year.
She gave the Lady Tigers a 40-31 advantage after Central was plagued by a flurry of miscues, and J’Kayla Fowler restored a 42-34 spread with a strong move inside.
Skaggs was responsible for 11 points in the third stanza, and contributed a key steal and assist on back-to-back transition scores as the Lady Rebels stormed back with a patented 15-0 outburst.
The all-state senior knocked in a short jumper and muscled in a tying putback after blocking a shot at the defensive end. Amonette capped the quarter with a steal and layup for a 47-42 Central lead.
A basket by freshman Jentri Worley was answered by Skaggs, and Amonette pushed the margin to 54-44 with a corner 3-pointer. The Lady Rebels soon built a 16-point separation on two Casey free throws.
Worley finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, and Neelyville jumped ahead 18-11 when Moon ended the first quarter with a triple and started the second with another.
Seaton beat the halftime buzzer with an important 3-pointer, and Skaggs scored on two straight trips to initially bring Central within 32-31.
The Lady Tigers pushed back with an 8-0 run – including two perimeter jumpers by Moon – before losing momentum for good and ending with 21 turnovers.
Central finished 13-of-17 from the line while Neelyville was 2-of-6 in limited chances.
North County 59, Union 49
PARK HILLS – Standout forwards Holly Forbes and Emily Eaton each registered a double-double to power North County past Union 59-49.
The Lady Raiders dominated the third quarter by helping Forbes repeatedly attack the basket, and generated a 17-3 scoring spurt to create a 45-28 advantage.
Forbes compiled a career-high 30 points along with 10 rebounds, and highlighted the pivotal run with six consecutive made field goals.
North County (6-2) forced 18 turnovers and marked its largest advantage at 58-40 after making 18-of-30 free throws.
Senior guard Cassidy Terril scored 11 points to pace Union (3-2), which competed without four varsity players due to academic testing.
Kennedy Reeser and Taylor Seely chipped in nine points each for the Wildcats. Terril handed them an 11-10 edge with a 3-pointer just before the first quarter expired.
Eaton extended an 18-17 North County lead with a long 3-pointer and subsequent basket plus the foul, and totaled 17 points with 10 rebounds.
Calvary Lutheran 43, St. Paul 22
PARK HILLS – Rebecca Thompson scored 12 of her 14 points before halftime, and Calvary Lutheran held St. Paul to just 25 percent shooting in a 43-22 victory.
Freshman Abby Girard totaled eight points and 10 rebounds for the Lions (1-4), who established a 20-8 halftime following back-to-back-field goals by Thompson.
Junior Catherine Mell shared game-high honors with 14 points while picking up three first-half fouls for St. Paul (0-5), which failed to generate a shot during its first six possessions.
Mell was the lone member of the Giants to score throughout the first 22 minutes. Caroline McClanahan knocked down a jumper late in the third quarter to make it 33-14.
St. Paul was 2-of-9 from the line while Calvary Lutheran connected on 10-of-19 free throws.
West County 92, Ste. Genevieve 77
PARK HILLS – Jacob Meinershagen delivered 15 of his game-high 32 points during a huge third quarter, and spearheaded a stellar offensive performance by West County.
The Bulldogs maintained a blistering pace to finish 66 percent from the field, and landed four players in double figures to race past Ste. Genevieve 92-77.
Blake Barlow tallied 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and Parker Forshee scored 14 for the Bulldogs (4-3). Jared Jones had 10 points and Matt Momot chipped in eight.
Morgan Schenck posted 17 points for Ste. Genevieve (3-3), which lost steam in the second half after battling for a hard-fought win one night earlier against rival Valle Catholic.
The Dragons surged ahead 22-14 on a mid-range jumper by Schenck, but West County closed the first quarter with a driving Meinershagen layup and 3-point play from Barlow.
West County retaliated with an 18-5 run, and transition baskets by Meinershagen and Momot capped an 8-0 West County spurt to finish the first half after Ste. Genevieve had pulled even at 38-38.
Meinershagen attacked and drew contact on consecutive 3-point plays, helping the Bulldogs construct a substantial 71-48 lead late in the third period.
Sophomore Gabe Greminger had 16 points, connecting four times from long range, and Nathan McKlin netted 15 as the Dragons put 11 players in the scoring column. Each team committed 17 turnovers.
Kingston 63, Lesterville 30
PARK HILLS – An unusual morning start could not disrupt the perimeter excellence of Kingston senior Dayton Shepard as he drained eight 3-pointers in 11 attempts against Lesterville.
The forward compiled a game-high 32 points while the Cougars collectively shot 59 percent and pulled away for a 63-30 triumph in a battle of previously winless clubs.
Shepard connected on three triples in a row to spark a 14-4 start. Gavin Heath matched Cole Regan with nine points each, and gave Kingston a 37-12 halftime lead with his third basket off the bench.
Kingston (1-4) committed just three turnovers in the first half, and carried a 50-18 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Freshman Riley Mathes scored 11 points and B.J. Mathes added eight for Lesterville (0-7).
Viburnum 87, Bismarck 69
PARK HILLS – Collin Blount burned the Bismarck defense for 41 points on 18-of-24 shooting, and pulled down nine rebounds while leading Viburnum to an 87-69 victory.
The Blue Jays (3-3) sandwiched a pivotal 19-0 run around the halftime break to assume command, and finished an impressive 59 percent from the field.
Preston Sumpter had 12 points plus nine rebounds, and Couper Davis scored 11 points in the win. Kolten Sumpter finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Austin Jarvis netted 22 points for Bismarck (3-5), which was 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. His 3-pointer gave the Indians their final lead at 32-31 late in the second quarter.
Blount scored three times as Viburnum notched the last seven points before intermission. He continued to dominate with a 3-point play, putback and reverse layup to create a sudden 50-32 separation.
Hunter Drake totaled 20 points and scored two straight baskets as Bismarck claimed an early 19-15 lead. The margin reached 23-18 on a jumper by Chris Smith.
A brisk first quarter featured seven lead changes.