STE. GENEVIEVE – Gracee Smith soared past 1,000 career points early in her junior season while trying to will the Arcadia Valley girls basketball team to a road comeback.
But a number of timely 3-pointers from Maci Reynolds on Thursday night gave Ste. Genevieve enough of a boost to overcome an elevated turnover count and remain unbeaten.
The Dragons emerged with a 60-53 home victory fraught with heavy contact along the post and several missed layups that frustrated both clubs.
Reynolds knocked down her fourth triple with 4 seconds remaining to punctuate a big second quarter for Ste. Genevieve (6-0), which carried a 33-23 lead into halftime.
Her fifth and sixth perimeter daggers introduced a 49-38 margin before Arcadia Valley (2-3) offered a steady challenge over the final four minutes.
The Dragons, who made 9-of-12 free throws during the fourth quarter, got 23 points from Reynolds and 16 more from junior forward Marysa Flieg.
Smith shouldered much of the AV offensive load with a game-high 27 points, and connected twice from long range in the closing minutes.
She alertly dished a surrounded pass to Kirsten Day for a basket after being blocked, bringing the Lady Tigers within 49-45 with 2:47 to play.
Sydney Bumgardaner answered with a smooth runner in the lane on the next possession, and showed patient shot selection while compiling nine points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Jaidyn Phelps finished a perfect give-and-go feed from Sam Racer, but later missed in transition with a chance to reduce a four-point AV deficit.
Flieg bumped the Ste. Genevieve edge to 56-50 from the line after Smith struck from straight away, and pressure from Reynolds induced an ensuing turnover as Smith lost possession out of bounds.
The Lady Tigers had pulled to within 39-34 as the third quarter concluded on a jumper by Phelps, who ended with nine points while Day added six.
Bumgardaner split two defenders to assist an uncontested layup by Flieg opening the fourth, and Ste. Genevieve dodged trouble when three consecutive AV steals generated no points.
Senior guard Katie Whited tallied five steals with six assists, and clicked on several early looks to Smith along the baseline for the Lady Tigers.
A pull-up jumper by Phelps started the second quarter, and Smith curled around three opposing players for a bank shot to restore the largest Arcadia Valley lead at 19-12.
But the Dragons stormed back for a crucial 21-4 run spanning the last 6 ½ minutes of the half, thanks in part to strong work along the offensive glass.
Megan Aubuchon and Flieg scored on second opportunities while Reynolds burned the opposition with wide-open threes as solid screens caused AV to recover too late.
Reynolds’ tiebreaking 3-pointer at 24-21 put Ste. Genevieve ahead to stay.
Hannah Helvey and Day each claimed 11 rebounds for Arcadia Valley, which forced 20 turnovers while committing 16.