Ste. Genevieve 54, Potosi 36
PARK HILLS – The Ste. Genevieve girls basketball team held Potosi scoreless for nearly six minutes, and was among four squads that reached the Central Christmas Tournament semifinals on Thursday.
Junior guard Maci Reynolds tallied 17 points, six steals and five assists for Ste. Genevieve (7-0), which opened and closed the first half with extended scoring runs in a 54-36 triumph over Potosi.
Marysa Flieg swished an open 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded for a 29-16 halftime advantage, and finished with 12 points in the victory.
That shot capped a sudden burst as Ste. Genevieve netted eight points in 50 seconds. Reynolds sparked her club with an excellent scoop through heavy contact in transition.
Potosi (4-3) had weathered the effects of an initial 11-0 deficit, thanks to some help from the bench as freshman Kaydence Gibson sank three 3-pointers before the break.
Rain Hongsermeier-Baxter bolstered the post defense with nine rebounds and four blocked shots, but the Lady Trojans were unable to mount their own steady threat inside the arc.
The Dragons found their groove following five straight empty possessions to begin the third quarter, as sophomore Abby Moore powered in two shots from the post.
Flieg and Reynolds drilled 3-pointers to answer back-to-back Potosi scores, and the difference swelled to 43-22 entering the final period.
Potosi had a 14-11 scoring edge from there, but not before Reynolds sank a fast-break runner in the lane off an outlet pass from Sydney Bumgardaner, who altered a shot at the other end.
Bumgardaner compiled seven points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocks, while Moore tallied eight points with eight rebounds for Ste. Genevieve.
Broken pressure created two early baskets by Megan Aubuchon ahead of the pack, and the Dragons were off and running toward a matchup against South Iron on Saturday.
Gibson paced Potosi with 16 points, adding a fourth triple down the stretch. Madeline Bradley added seven points, and Olivia Coleman had five along with five rebounds in reduced action.
Steelville 59, Arcadia Valley 57
PARK HILLS – Naomi Perkins banked in a difficult runner at a crucial juncture after the Steelville girls had appeared to be slightly reeling on Thursday.
The fourth-seeded Lady Cardinals outscored Arcadia Valley 16-8 over the final five minutes, and rallied to prevail 59-57 after sweating out the final second.
Alyssa Church drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining. Following an AV turnover, Daylan Pryor dished to forward Sydney Booker to create a 56-53 margin.
Jaidyn Phelps countered a tying triple for the Lady Tigers when top threat Gracee Smith drew multiple defenders in the corner, and the conclusion would come down to the charity stripe.
Booker made two free throws with 36 seconds to play, then split another pair after an AV missed layup to give Steelville a three-point edge.
Arcadia Valley guard Katie Whited was fouled on a 3-pointer while trying to beat the buzzer, but made only the second toss before Steelville rebounded the necessary miss.
Perkins connected three times from long range before intermission, and netted a team-high 19 points for the Lady Cardinals, who will face top-seeded Central on Saturday.
Church and Booker each netted 16 points as the balanced Steelville (6-1) attack narrowly outdistanced a stellar performance by Smith in defeat.
Smith dropped in a game-high 32 points – including 20 after halftime – and combined with Phelps for all 18 of the Lady Tigers’ third-pointer production.
After Phelps drained two shots in the lane, Smith lifted AV to a 37-36 lead from the left corner off a skip pass from Whited. She punctuated the third with a successful baseline floater plus a steal and layup.
Smith scored after catching a long pass in traffic, and absorbed contact that wasn’t called to force down a tough 15-foot leaner moments later. Arcadia Valley (2-4) built its largest cushion at 49-43.
Phelps ended with 10 points, and Whited provided nine points with seven assists. Smith and Church each picked up three first-half fouls, but avoided further difficulty.
Perkins staked the Lady Cardinals to a 15-7 lead on a couple of threes, but AV responded with a 10-1 surge before the first quarter ended.
Smith dialed a 3-pointer after Phelps forced a turnover for a 17-16 lead. Church scored on a drive down the lane to send Steelville ahead 27-21 midway through the second quarter.
Central 69, Festus 36
PARK HILLS – Kaley Kimball and Sophia Horton each contributed 18 points, and top-seeded Central easily advanced with a 69-36 victory over Festus.
The Lady Rebels nearly doubled their opposition in total rebounds, established a 37-15 halftime lead and advanced to face Steelville in the semifinal round on Saturday.
Avery Norris added seven points and Kaitlyn Johnson notched six off the bench as 11 Central (10-0) players tapped into the scoring column.
Horton propelled the Christmas Tournament host squad to a 21-9 start by dropping in 11 early points, and pushed the margin to 51-27 with a 3-pointer in the third quarter.
Central executed a perfect inbounds play with 1.9 seconds left in the stanza, resulting in an uncontested layup for Abby Holmes and a 57-25 difference.
An 18-foot jumper by Olivia Dunn restored a running clock in the closing moments after Festus got two straight baskets from senior guard Abby Rickermann.
The Lady Tigers attempted only two free throws – missing both – and will meet Arcadia Valley in the consolation bracket on Friday.
Rickermann finished with 16 points, while Taylor Thompson and Lily Knickman had six apiece for Festus (1-4).
South Iron 57, Fredericktown 47
PARK HILLS – South Iron forced 23 turnovers while committing only 10, and turned aside a challenge from seventh-seeded Fredericktown for a 57-47 victory.
Michaela Ayers totaled 17 points with seven rebounds, and the Lady Panthers (6-0) moved on to meet Ste. Genevieve on Saturday.
Freshman Madison Ayers was a difference maker at both ends of the court with 15 points and seven crucial steals. Her transition layup created a 40-24 lead in the third quarter.
Junior forward Kyndal Dodd emerged as a force for Fredericktown (3-5) after halftime, netting 17 of her 18 points while also grabbing seven rebounds on the heels of consecutive double-doubles.
Dodd hustled back for a putback and foul after getting a steal, and cashed in another second chance to bring the Lady Blackcats closer at the outset of the fourth quarter.
The deficit shrunk to five twice following two free throws by Linley Rehkop with 6:32 left and later as Mallory Mathes assisted Dodd at 49-44 with a pass across the paint.
A subsequent 3-point shot missed, however, and South Iron sealed the outcome with a confident 9-0 run over the closing minutes.
Allecia Cornell snuck past the defense for a key layup, and Madison Ayers added two free throws off a steal before setting up a jumper by Drew Gayle for a 57-44 lead with 1:02 to play.
Fredericktown briefly led 11-10 after Shayna Russom hit a turnaround from the low block to begin the second quarter, but the Lady Panthers erupted for a 16-0 outburst.
Hailey Pauley scored after ripping away an offensive rebound, and stepped through a double team for another basket. Michaela Ayers made it 26-11 with an open 3-pointer.
Mathes tallied 12 points for the Lady Blackcats, including a couple of nifty spinning layups in transition during the first quarter. Rehkop added nine points.