HILLSBORO, Mo. – Avery Taggart spent a considerable amount of time on the Eureka bench after picking up a technical foul less than six minutes into the game.
But the senior forward had just drained his third 3-pointer, and put the Central boys basketball team in a double-digit hole with 16 early points on Friday night.
The Rebels closed to within seven on two occasions in the third quarter, but Eureka prevailed 58-46 in the semifinal round of the Gene Steighorst Tournament.
Taggart returned in the third quarter with a timely 3-pointer plus another basket off an inbounds play, and finished with a game-high 28 points while making 10-of-11 free throws for the Wildcats.
Breven McMullen and Brent Wagner nailed consecutive threes out of halftime to quickly reduce a 35-22 deficit, and pulled within 43-36 on a conventional 3-point play from McMullen.
Eureka responded with an 8-0 run, highlighted by transition layups by Marvin Brown and Jhalon Asher-Sanders, and had a 55-43 advantage with three minutes left.
Wagner scored 17 points and McMullen totaled 16 for the Rebels (2-2), who will face Windsor for third place while Eureka meets tournament host Hillsboro in the title game on Saturday.
Central also received nine points from senior guard Jake Casey.
Ste. Genevieve 66, Valle Catholic 63
STE. GENEVIEVE – Derek Morganthaler scored a game-high 20 points, and Ste. Genevieve escaped 66-63 on the road while topping Valle Catholic for the 11th straight time.
Ste. Genevieve (4-1) established a 59-46 lead on a Morganthaler 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, and narrowly held on as Valle Catholic closed the game on a 17-7 run in desperation.
Chase Dunlap connected from the perimeter, and Carter Hoog recovered a miss for his first field goal of the night, trimming the margin to 61-58.
A basket by Dragons forward Christian Boyer was answered by a conventional 3-point play from Kyle Gielow with about 40 seconds remaining.
Ste. Genevieve made 19-of-27 free throws, including a crucial pair by Chad Donze, but the Warriors had one final chance to force overtime after Logan Trollinger split two with 8 seconds to play.
Valle Catholic never released a tying 3-point attempt, however, as time expired instead on an entry pass, missed shot from the post and ensuing rebounding scramble.
Boyer finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Trollinger scored 12 and Donze contributed nine while making 6-of-6 from the line for the Dragons, who surged to a 37-27 halftime edge.
The Warriors had a 17-16 lead through one quarter, and were paced by Dunlap with 17 points and Ryan Grein with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Aaron Doza pitched in 10 points and Gielow registered nine. Valle Catholic (1-1) shot 50 percent as a team, but just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc.
Farmington 74, Saxony Lutheran 38
FARMINGTON – Tycen Gray netted a game-high 25 points, and Farmington outscored Saxony Lutheran 25-5 in the third quarter to roll 74-38 at home on Friday night.
Cole Laurence poured in 13 points and Brant Gray added 11 for the Knights (4-0), who carried a 36-26 halftime lead before breaking the game open.
Andrew Schwarting paced Saxony Lutheran with 12 points.
Central 61, Principia 51
PARK HILLS – Avery Norris and Kaley Kimball each recorded their varsity career scoring highs, and the Central girls outlasted Principia 61-51 on Friday night.
Sophia Horton led all players with 22 points, and the Lady Rebels jumped ahead 17-7 after the first quarter before going into halftime with a 29-21 advantage.
Norris finished with 18 points while Kimball finished with 15 as Central improved to 6-0.
Jordan Fredrickson netted 20 points to pace Principia. Georgia Rather tossed in 13 points and Tessa Boyman supplied 11 more.
St. Paul 51, STL Patriettes 48
HERCULANEUM, Mo. – St. Paul Lutheran edged the home-schooled St. Louis Patriettes 51-48 to claim fifth place at the Doe Run Classic.
Chloe Propst scored 20 points and Paige Ames added 14 for the Giants (3-1).