PARK HILLS – The Central boys executed at a near optimum level to build a seven-point lead during the fourth quarter against the top-ranked Class 5 basketball team in the state.
Cape Central showed no panic down the stretch, however, and controlled the final 2 ½ minutes on the road to emerge with an entertaining 80-71 victory on Tuesday night.
Senior center Cameron Williams powered his way to 32 points and 12 rebounds, and the Tigers closed with an emphatic 11-1 run that included the last of 13 overall lead changes.
Jaydon Reynolds added 18 points, and directly answered two Central go-ahead baskets with consecutive 3-point shots for a 72-70 advantage that would not be relinquished.
Jobe Bryant netted a game-high 33 points along with four assists for the Rebels, and amplified their hopes with a dazzling stretch of 15 points in six minutes during the third quarter.
Cape Central (24-1) earned two key defensive stops against the all-state guard, and sealed the victory on a putback by freshman TaySeanDre’ Edwards after the Rebels committed their four fouls to give.
Two players carried a majority of the offensive load for Central (22-3), which had won 12 straight games. Senior guard Mason Williams, playing against his cousin in the same grade, starred with 26 points in defeat.
Bryant lobbed to Triston Stewart for a basket, then curled the ball over his shoulder to a jump stop before finishing a remarkable driving layup to restore a 63-56 edge for a Class 4 fourth-ranked Rebels.
Central missed a chance to increase the lead on a rare miscue, and two dunks from Cameron Williams highlighted a 6-0 spurt by the visitors.
Mason Williams connected on back-to-back looks from long range to spot the Rebels a fast 10-2 lead, and went on to drain five 3-pointers before halftime.
Cameron Williams countered with 10 points in the first quarter, and Edwards sank two triples in the second to help Cape stay within 35-34 at halftime.
Bryant nailed three 3-pointers and attacked the rim for three more baskets out of the break, and the Rebels ended the third quarter leading 57-52 as Kannon Harlow beat the buzzer from 22 feet.
Central suffered only two turnovers in the first 21 minutes, and will complete the regular season at home against Poplar Bluff on Thursday.
Edwards provided 16 points in the win.
St. James 78, North County 75
ST. JAMES, Mo. – North County erased a 13-point deficit Tuesday night, but subpar free-throw shooting and late turnovers prevented the Raiders from closing strong on the road.
Senior forward Peyton Gruver bookended double overtime with baskets, and St. James escaped with a 78-75 triumph after trailing by seven with 1:10 left in regulation.
Gruver paced four players in double figures with 23, and freshman James Perkins added 18 off the bench as the Tigers overcame losing three team members to fouls in the fourth quarter.
St. James (9-17) established its largest cushion at 38-25 when Silas Redburn and Cooper Harlan sank consecutive 3-pointers late in the second quarter.
Senior guard Layne Wigger spearheaded the offense for North County (11-13) with a game-high 34 points, and drained a go-ahead triple in double OT before dishing to Drew Johnson for a 75-72 edge.
The Tigers answered with the last six points of the game. Harlan hit a tying baseline jumper, and Gruver made a key steal and layup with 24 seconds left after splitting two free throws.
The Raiders nearly forced a third extra session, but 3-point tries from Wigger and Johnson could not find the mark. Wigger left a driving layup attempt short to conclude the previous overtime period.
Johnson finished with 16 points, and Jobe Smith posted 16 rebounds with 11 points before fouling out for North County. Kooper Kekec dished out 12 assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
Wigger capped the first half with a steal and layup at 38-29, then began the third quarter with a slashing finish. Smith connected from long range, and Johnson put the Raiders ahead 43-42 on a 3-pointer.
The perimeter strikes continued from Wigger and Johnson early in the fourth, and North County seemed poised to win after Kekec drew a charging foul and Grant Mullins scored on an inbounds pass at 61-54.
But the Raiders converted only 6-of-16 free throws over the last 16 minutes, and clanged two front-end chances to extend their late lead.
Silas Redburn made a pivotal steal for two free throws, and Harlan swished a pair to make it 63-63 with 9.1 seconds remaining. Johnson missed a difficult fading jumper just ahead of the buzzer.
North County held a 70-66 lead in overtime, but freshman guard Aidan Boone notched four crucial points for St. Clair with a steal in between.
Silas Redburn finished with 17 points, and Harlan added 12 for the Tigers.
The Raiders will host Windsor in the regular-season finale on Friday night.
Farmington 67, De Soto 50
DE SOTO, Mo. – The Farmington boys wrapped their regular season with a 67-50 road victory at De Soto on Tuesday night.
Sophomore forward Cannon Roth netted a team-high 21 points, and senior Brayden Armes added 10 for the Knights.
Farmington (10-16) will face Hillsboro in the first round of the Class 5, District 1 tournament next Wednesday at North County.
Jefferson 52, Arcadia Valley 41
LEADWOOD – Freshman Halayna Loyd scored a game-high 18 points, and Jefferson bounced Arcadia Valley from the Class 3, District 3 tournament with a 52-41 triumph on Tuesday.
Lia Ott finished with 12 points, and Megan Wood grabbed 16 rebounds while chipping in eight points. Jefferson (14-13) advanced to face top seed West County on Thursday.
The Blue Jays carried a 31-19 halftime advantage, and instantly built their largest lead following a third-chance basket by Paige Beffa and 3-pointer by Loyd to open the third quarter.
Molly Cook posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in her varsity farewell. Arcadia Valley (6-19) ended its season on a four-game slide.
Paige Newstead-Adams also had 11 points for the Lady Tigers. Addison Gallaher tossed in seven and senior Katelyn Strange netted six.
Other action within the bracket saw St. Pius eliminate winless Kingston 51-21 after a defensive shutout in the first quarter to set up a semifinal clash with Grandview, which dismissed Clearwater 51-14.
In Class 2, District 4 first-round action hosted by Crystal City, Bismarck edged Principia 47-46, Valley topped Christian (O’Fallon) 43-35 and Crystal City downed Valle Catholic 51-21.