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PARK HILLS — North County coach Joe Arnold expended his allotment of five timeouts trying to correct and shield his team during an early onslaught by Central on Thursday night.
The top-seeded Lady Rebels pressured and attacked their way to a 23-0 scoring run in the first half, and coasted to a 72-52 triumph in the MAAA Tournament semifinal round.
Taylor O’Connor scored a game-high 18 points, and opened the action with consecutive 3-pointers before her transition layup increased an 8-5 advantage.
Gracie Populis also sank back-to-back threes after Central forced a 5-second violation, and added 12 points off the bench among four players in double figures.
Allysa O’Connor tallied 15 points, including two turning shots from the low post to punctuate the first quarter. She began the second with a 3-pointer and layup off a steal for a 31-5 separation.
Central (17-3) established its largest lead of 40-7 when Khloe Dischbein faked a defender and dribbled in, and advanced to face Farmington for the championship on Saturday night.
North County (8-13) hoped for a better outcome in the rematch after being routed by the Lady Rebels in December, but recovered too late to pose a threat.
Amy Layton scored the first seven points for the Lady Raiders, and equaled Raegan Pierce and Alyssa Ludwig with nine overall to share the team high.
Ludwig finished two driving layups to make the halftime margin 46-17, and Pierce ignited her team with three 3-pointers in the third quarter.
Dischbein countered with three quick baskets while netting 13 points, and Taylor O’Connor scored on a fast break in the closing seconds to restore a 64-36 lead for Central.
The Lady Rebels utilized their bench extensively from there, and North County outscored them 16-8 over the last eight minutes.
Lydia Hasemeier provided eight points, and matched senior guard Addy Mann with eight points as every player in uniform for the Lady Raiders contributed to the scoring column.
Sydney Miles notched seven points, and Courtney Dortch tossed in six more for Central.
Farmington 61, Arcadia Valley 30
PARK HILLS — Brynn Johnson and Aniston Mapes spurred the Farmington girls toward a 19-0 run with their play at both ends of the court on Thursday night.
The second-seeded Knights routed Small-School champion Arcadia Valley 61-30 to secure their place in the MAAA Tournament championship game.
Johnson scored a game-high 20 points, and Mapes added 12 points plus several assists and steals. The duo effectively slowed their opposing guards along the perimeter.
Farmington (17-4) never looked back after shooting 65 percent in the first half, and earned a second chance to challenge Large-School champion Central on Saturday night.
Arcadia Valley (14-7) had its season-best, seven-game win streak snapped, as a series of turnovers halted some positive early momentum.
Sophomore guard Paige Newstead-Adams knocked down her second 3-pointer from well beyond the arc for a 10-8 lead. The Lady Tigers went scoreless for the next seven minutes.
Mapes scored off her own steal, then assisted fast-break finishes by Johnson and Charlotte Buerck before an inside basket from forward Raylin LaCava made it 19-10.
Johnson started 6-of-7 from the field, and sank back-to-back threes with Madison Mills as Farmington surged to a dominant 35-15 lead.
Braelyn Turnbough notched her first basket near the middle of the second quarter, and still paced the Lady Tigers with 12 points following a triple and two driving layups in the third.
Mapes found Mills cutting for two more transition layups, and added another 3-pointer to make the margin 47-24. Johnson capped her solid game with a steal and layup at 53-27.
LaCava had eight points and Mills ended with seven for the Knights. Freshman Kenzie Tucker provided three baskets off the bench.
Newstead-Adams tallied 11 points, and attempted the only two free throws for Arcadia Valley. Lillie Adams chipped in six points.
St. Paul 55, Meadow Heights 49
FARMINGTON — Julie Lunsford scored 19 points, and St. Paul returned to the win column by holding off visiting Meadow Heights 55-49 on Thursday night.
Mia Sherrill and Josie Berkerey each added 15 points for the Giants.
St. Paul (8-15) travels to Kingston on Monday to begin the final week of the regular season.
Ste. Genevieve 47, Fredericktown 28
PARK HILLS — Ste. Genevieve delivered a big defensive effort on Thursday to reach the boys fifth-place game in the MAAA Tournament.
Devin Flye netted a game-high 15 points, and the Dragons beat Fredericktown 47-28 while allowing single digits in three separate quarters.
Tucker Reed added 11 points, and Zach Henderson connected twice from the perimeter while finishing with 10 for Ste. Genevieve (9-13).
The Dragons built a 20-10 halftime lead, and pulled farther away with a 16-7 scoring edge in the fourth quarter. They will face West County on Saturday at Valley High School.
LeeAndrea Catchings and Tim DeSanto had six points each for Fredericktown (7-13).
West County defeated Arcadia Valley 58-49 in the next contest.
Bismarck 65, Delta 62
BISMARCK — Sven Wilson scored 22 of his 34 points in the second half, and Bismarck rallied past Delta 65-62 in a recently scheduled contest on Thursday.
Daven Miller added 18 points for the Indians, who trailed 30-25 at halftime and pulled even at 47-47 when the third quarter concluded.
Bismarck (7-12) bounced back from consecutive losses in the MAAA Tournament.
Ryan Jeffries made 6-of-8 free throws, and netted 25 points for Delta (5-15), which jumped ahead 18-12 in the first quarter.
Casey Crowden finished with 13 points while Coleton Deckard and Paxton Hornbuckle had nine each.