FESTUS, Mo. – The Arcadia Valley boys basketball team established the ideal tempo to fulfill its game plan of slowing down top-seeded St. Pius on Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded Tigers benefited from a bevy of blown layups by the top-seeded Lancers, but could not overcome an inflated total of 17 turnovers given the deliberate pace.
Junior forward Josh Ruble totaled a game-high 13 points with five rebounds, and St. Pius prevailed 38-32 in a brisk contest where fouls were reduced to a minimum.
Eli Boyer knocked down four 3-pointers to finish with 12 overall, and the Lancers (20-7) advanced to face district host Jefferson for the championship on Friday.
Arcadia Valley (12-16) bolstered its upset bid with an 8-0 run in the third quarter. Stephen Pursley sank his third 3-pointer of the game to snap a 6 ½ field goal drought.
Luke Savage dished to Taylon Jones for a basket in the post, and Daniel Horn broke ahead of the pack for a rare transition layup and a 30-27 advantage.
St. Pius regained momentum when Kayden Cook buried a 30-footer just before time expired, and went on to outscore the Tigers 8-2 over the final eight minutes.
AV junior Daniel Horn answered a putback by Luke Klahs with a fading 6-footer over him to make it 32-32, but Ruble put the Lancers ahead for good with a 3-pointer.
The Tigers had committed three total fouls in the game with 2:17 remaining, when team fouls for the second half stood at merely 2-1.
Boyer delivered a key stop up 36-32 by stripping Carter Brogan on a drive, and Jalen Thornton sank two free throws with 18.6 seconds left after Arcadia Valley committed four straight fouls.
St. Pius wisely fouled Arcadia Valley over the closing seconds with several to give, and a final shot from the corner missed the mark.
Brogan finished with eight points plus nine rebounds and three assists to cap his sophomore season. He drilled a 3-pointer as the first half expired to put the Tigers ahead 22-21.
Pursley paced Arcadia Valley with nine points, and gave his team a 19-17 edge with back-to-back triples. Horn and Savage each had six points in defeat.
St. Pius failed to convert four chances on a long initial possession, but jumped ahead 5-0 when Thornton scored off a midcourt steal and Boyer drilled a wide-open three.
Arcadia Valley pulled even on a Horn putback and Savage 3-pointer momentum later, then trailed 11-8 when the opening stanza concluded.