STE. GENEVIEVE – Junior guard Caden Casey was a disruptive force as the Central boys basketball team attacked host Valle Catholic with defensive pressure throughout the first half.
Casey produced six of his eight steals before intermission, and contributed 17 points as the Rebels kept enough distance from the resilient Warriors to secure a 74-51 road victory.
Jobe Bryant steadily amassed a game-high 26 points along with five assists, and Central (6-1) remained in control following a blistering first quarter.
Casey drained a timely pull-up jumper to restore a 47-32 lead in the third quarter, and notched a driving 3-point play among four field goals in the fourth.
But the buzzing defense set a tone for the game. Valle Catholic (4-2) endured 16 first-half turnovers with 11 resulting in live-ball steals that turned into fast breaks by the visitors.
Sam Drury shined for the Warriors with 16 of his 20 points coming after halftime. He also helped to slow the Rebels down momentarily by drawing two charging fouls.
Both teams had chances to strike early in transition. Central bolted ahead 10-2 when Casey and Bryant scored off steals while Valle missed three different layup attempts off broken pressure.
Kendall Horton finished a powerful drive for a 3-point play, and the Rebels capped the opening quarter leading 25-12 after getting second-chance shots from forwards Triston Stewart and Zack Boyd.
Harry Oliver highlighted the opening minutes for the Warriors with a sudden rise and dunk from the low post, and compiled 12 points with eight rebounds in defeat.
Carson Tucker began the second quarter with a 3-pointer, but the Rebels answered with an outlet from Horton to Bryant, who added a reverse layup on the ensuing possession.
Kannon Harlow finished a series of passes with his third field goal of the game, and also contributed five assists. Central rolled into halftime with a 36-19 advantage.
Sam Drury gave Valle Catholic an aggressive boost out of the break, and earned four separate trips to the free-throw line. His team also exhibited improved ball security.
Bryant nailed an open 3-pointer for a 43-23 separation, but the Warriors retaliated with six consecutive points as Tyler Gegg followed an Oliver basket by sinking a baseline jumper.
Central again turned to its all-state guard as the third period ended. Bryant forced a defender to stumble with a shimmy along the baseline, and hit the layup to make it 51-37.
Casey and Boyd crashed the boards for a putback to increase the margin early in the fourth. Boyd supplied seven points and six rebounds off the bench.
Harlow rejoined the Central starting five in the wake of a serious ankle injury suffered by senior guard Mason Williams last week at Mizzou Arena.
The Rebels have drawn the No. 1 seed for their upcoming Christmas Tournament, and will face Perryville on Monday afternoon.
Clayton Drury chipped in seven points for the Warriors. Standout Chase Fallert was limited to five after drilling seven 3-pointers against Chester on Saturday.
Ste. Genevieve 73, Pacific 44
STE. GENEVIEVE – Aiden Boyer and Kaden Flye carried a majority of the scoring and rebounding load for Ste. Genevieve in a 73-44 home triumph over Pacific on Tuesday night.
The Dragons turned a 37-28 halftime advantage into a blowout after outscoring the Indians 26-5 during a dominant third quarter.
Boyer tallied a game-high 19 points, and Flye thrived with 18 for Ste. Genevieve (7-1) in a final tune-up before taking the No. 5 seed into the Central Christmas Tournament.
The Dragons received nine points from Alex Basler plus eight from Tucker Reed and seven more from Ricky Hunter in the victory.
Jackson Meyer paced Pacific (3-7) with 13 points while Matt Reincke and Gage Clark netted 10 apiece.
Potosi 57, Lesterville 50
POTOSI – Senior guard Kya Gibson totaled a game-high 22 points plus six assists, and Potosi held off Lesterville 57-50 on Tuesday night.
Emily Hochstatter added 11 points, including a clinching steal and transition putback in the final minute. The Lady Trojans committed only nine turnovers as a team.
Potosi (6-2) produced its largest lead at 48-34 when Kya Gibson drained a corner 3-pointer to conclude the third quarter after Kaydence Gibson saved possession with a pass while falling backward.
Lesterville (6-2) opened the fourth with the third triple by Piper Fitzgerald, and closed to within 55-48 on baskets by Grace Hicks and Shacura Jackson.
Reese Gray, who surpassed 1,000 career points for the Bearcats on Monday, compiled a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.
The Lady Trojans surged to an early 19-7 lead on seven points each from the Gibson sisters. A 3-pointer by Fitzgerald and driving layup by Gray highlighted an 8-0 Lesterville response.
Kya Gibson stole a sideline inbounds pass for an uncontested layup that extended a 21-17 lead, and later capitalized on back-to-back offensive rebounds.
Lesterville again offered a strong close to a quarter. Gray finished an entry pass, and fired an outlet pass to Grace Hicks for her second straight field goal as the halftime margin shrunk to 31-25.
Potosi restored a 41-29 cushion on a triple from Kya Gibson. Kaydence Gibson finished with nine points, six rebounds and two steals.
The Lady Trojans had an 8-2 edge in bench scoring.
Hicks totaled 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Lesterville.