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By MATT KING
PARK HILLS — West County freshman Maylee Merrill has been one of the most versatile scoring threats in the MAAA Small-School division throughout this season.
She displayed all facets of her game on Wednesday evening, and helped the Lady Bulldogs beat Valley 53-43 for a spot in the conference tournament consolation final.
Merrill nearly notched a double-double by halftime, and compiled 34 points, 12 rebounds and five steals overall as the teams battled for the second time in two weeks.
Paige Monroe added 11 points plus three steals, and West County (8-16) moved forward to face Potosi on Saturday on a neutral floor at Valley High School.
The halftime margin swelled to 37-19 after Monroe traded 3-pointers with Lady Vikings senior Kenley Missey and broke out for a transition runner.
Merrill, who had 23 points by intermission, began the third quarter on a personal 6-0 push. It started when she dribbled end to end for a layup, and continued with an easy basket off a Monroe steal.
Valley (8-14) responded with a burst of energy and offensive output after trailing 46-25, and peeled the deficit to single digits before the game was decided.
Missey prompted a 16-3 run that spanned 6 1/2 minutes with a basket from the paint, and Kyndra Civey knocked down a subsequent 3-pointer.
After Missey connected on a 21-footer from straight away, the Lady Vikings attacked quickly for an assist by Alyssa Warren to Kamryn DIckey at 49-41 with 1:22 remaining.
Valley was unable to capitalize on an ensuing steal, however, and Merrill sealed the victory when drawing contact on a fast-break layup for a 3-point play.
Dhatri McRaven chipped in four assists, and Addisyn Hedgcorth grabbed eight rebounds for West County, which ended the initial stanza on top 11-9 when Allie Jenkerson beat the buzzer.
Merrill began her 15-point second quarter by being fouled on a made shot, and later sank a couple of 3-pointers. She was ultimately 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.
The Lady Vikings tried to counter with threes by Missey and Ryleigh Maxwell, but West County broke their full-court pressure for three straight layups.
Missey powered her squad with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. Haylee Moore provided six points, and Warren made a pair of jumpers.
Potosi 62, Kingston 28
PARK HILLS — The Potosi girls jolted Kingston with an immediate 20-0 outburst to open the action, and snapped a six-game losing streak on Wednesday.
Aubree Wilson knocked down four 3-pointers, and Ava Wright splashed in three more as the Lady Trojans advanced 62-28 in the MAAA Tournament consolation bracket.
Defense set the initial tone as Nora Henry drew a charging foul, and ensuing steals turned into 3-point transition plays on drives by Wright and Wilson.
Shannon Riddle and Wright extended a 14-0 edge with back-to-back triples, and Potosi (4-16) placed four players in double figures to earn a matchup with West County on Saturday.
Wilson finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Henry had 14 points along with six rebounds, and Wright netted all 13 of her points before halftime while creating four steals.
Kingston (2-19) snapped its drought on a basket in the paint by senior Allison Hahn, and closed the first quarter with a 3-point play by freshman standout Sadie Patterson.
Potosi also has an impressive freshman starter, and forward Eden Robart delivered four consecutive field goals in the second period. She totaled 12 points and four assists.
Patterson countered with eight straight Kingston points on aggressive drives, but a putback by Henry and corner triple from Wilson expanded the halftime lead for Potosi to 42-16.
Wilson connected twice more in the third quarter, and Henry earned three separate trips to the line, where the Lady Trojans went 10-of-14 as a team.
A short lob from Robart to Henry was executed well to make it 53-23. Potosi was bolstered by four steals from Lani Elder.
Patterson tallied a game-high 16 points with 10 rebounds and four steals to propel Kingston. Hahn grabbed six rebounds while Kelsey Courtway and Kaylee Rudolph hit 3-point shots.