STE. GENEVIEVE – Kinley Norris was still recovering from knee surgery when the Central girls basketball team marched toward a district championship last year.
The junior guard has enjoyed a healthy and productive resurgence this season, and was the early centerpiece in helping the Lady Rebels decisively claim their fifth straight title.
Norris scored 13 of her 15 points during a scorching first quarter, and Central overmatched Potosi 62-24 in the Class 4, District 2 final on Saturday night.
Disruptive trapping defense limited the Lady Trojans to seven total field goals, and Central committed only six turnovers in the contest while forcing 18.
Khloe Dischbein netted a game-high 19 points along with three steals, and Allysa O’Connor collected 11 rebounds and six assists from her guard position.
Currently ranked fifth in the MBCA state Class 4 poll, Central (25-3) will face No. 3 Doniphan (26-2) in a sectional showdown on Tuesday evening at Farmington Civic Center.
Potosi (14-14) reached the same postseason stage as last winter despite graduating three starters, and faced more adversity when two seniors left the team prior to the MAAA Tournament.
A daunting test against Central spiraled downward in a hurry. After breaking pressure for a layup by Kya Gibson early on, the Lady Trojans waited about seven minutes for their next basket.
Norris had a personal 10-0 scoring run that included two 3-pointers, and punctuated the opening period with another long-range splash for a 23-3 lead after O’Connor controlled an offensive rebound.
Dischbein provided a 3-point play after jumping in front of a backcourt pass and spinning to finish with contact. She then scored off another forced miscue before the quarter ended.
The Lady Rebels extended their half-court defense against uncomfortable ball handlers, and continued to stretch the margin after yielding a putback 3-point play to Nora Henry.
A series of rapid passes through the paint resulted in an open 3-pointer by Dischbein along the left side. She finished a 10-point second quarter by turning an inbounds pass into a 38-10 halftime cushion.
Central posted its 10th consecutive victory since dropping a second game against Fredericktown, which could not escape the first round of the Class 4, District 1 tournament last Tuesday.
Norris exhibited more of a passing role as Potosi hoped to limit her chances to shoot after intermission, and picked up three assists to help increase the lead.
Halle Richardson sank a couple of inside shots, and Central moved the ball to the perimeter for 3-point strikes from Taylor O’Connor and Sydney Miles to make it 50-18.
Dischbein deflected a pass for a steal and beat the buzzer with a jumper after Allysa O’Connor raced to the baseline and saved an errant shot from going out of bounds.
Potosi did not produce a made 3-pointer, but found some positive results off the bench from center Blair Sitton, who wrapped her sophomore campaign with eight points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Trojans made 8-of-10 free throws with perfect trips by seniors Emily Hochstatter and Kaydence Gibson, whose emotional departure arrived on a fifth foul after colliding with guard Aniston Mapes.
Allysa O’Connor notched her first field goal with a layup off a Norris steal to begin the fourth quarter. Central has held 11 opponents this season to 31 points or fewer.