PARK HILLS – The ability to pass crisply from all five positions and willingness to forego shots of decent quality for premium chances are key attributes of the Farmington boys basketball team.
The Knights performed another clinic on half-court ball movement Saturday night, and extended their reign atop the MAAA Tournament for a fourth consecutive season.
Farmington added a third championship plaque this winter to its previous titles at Sullivan and Central with a dominant 61-34 triumph over second-seeded Potosi.
“It’s great knowing that when you make a cut, the ball is going to be there,” senior center Cole Laurence, who totaled 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. “It’s just a fun style of basketball.”
Sophomore Brant Gray contributed 12 points while senior Tycen Gray posted 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Knights (20-2).
The gap between Farmington and the remainder of the conference is further illustrated by the other 11 teams having already reached at least 10 losses.
The Trojans (10-11) emerged as worthy contenders after surviving last-second shots to defeat Arcadia Valley and North County, and appeared in their first MAAA final since 2015.
But Potosi had no answer to combat the size advantage or scoring balance of Farmington, as only two starters registered points in the contest.
Senior standout Noah Jacobsen finished with a game-high 20 points, including 10 in the third quarter, and junior center Kaleb Coffman netted 12 more.
Bryce Sancegraw dished out eight assists, and generated a steal and layup during a 13-0 run that began near the midway mark of the first quarter. The outcome was never in doubt from there.
Laurence found Cole Gerstenberger open on a flash along the baseline, and the teammates reversed roles as Laurence commenced the second quarter with a 3-point play for a 17-4 lead.
“They’re so unselfish. To me, that’s what makes this team go,” Farmington coach Terry Noble said. “That’s what got us off to the great first-half start and [continued] throughout the whole game.”
Jacobsen hit a 3-pointer, and Coffman picked up the lone second-chance points before halftime for the Trojans with a putback on the next possession.
But the Knights answered with an open triple from Brant Gray, and freshman Isaiah Robinson added his second field goal to create a comfortable 31-12 margin at the break.
Farmington piled on the first points of the third quarter for a 26-point cushion. Laurence received a pass from Sancegraw to restart the dominance, and Tycen Gray set up a Gerstenberger layup.
“We came out here expecting them to shade Tycen Gray and Brant Gray a lot, so [the rest of us] knew we had to execute properly,” Laurence said. “Everybody was making good cuts tonight and finishing strong at the basket.”
Jacobsen showed why he is among the elite players in the MAAA, and will likely surpass 1,800 varsity points before turning his attention toward Division I baseball at SE Missouri State.
While sinking two more 3-pointers, the senior guard also slashed aggressively for a layup against the taller defenders, and later made both free throws after being hacked at the goal.
But Potosi found itself trailing 48-24 when Sancegraw made a drive and dish to Brant Gray along the opposite block. Laurence added another basket-and-one for a 53-28 difference.
The Knights will be the top seed and prohibitive favorite heading into the Class 4, District 2 tourney, which begins in two weeks at North County High School.
Gerstenberger had eight points, and Evan Burke added two late field goals for Farmington.
Central 53, North County 38
PARK HILLS – Round three this year between the Central and North County boys basketball teams never materialized into an emotional thriller like the first two meetings.
The Rebels instead stifled the North County offense in the first half, and gained control on Saturday for a 53-38 triumph in the third-place game of the MAAA Tournament.
Brent Wagner recorded a game-high 15 points, and set a tone on the glass with two physical offensive rebounds in the opening minutes for Central (12-11).
Jake Casey finished with 13 points, and used a powerful cross-over move down the lane to complete a three-point play and give the Rebels a 44-29 lead in the fourth quarter.
Breven McMullen tallied 11 points with five assists, and Trevor Bradley scored eight in the second half. Central holds a 2-1 edge in the season series, and the teams share a common district.
North County (12-11) was limited to single digits in each of the first three quarters. Karter Kekec netted 14 points and John Starkey had 13 exclusively after halftime for the Raiders.
Wagner swished a long 3-pointer with four seconds left before the break on a patient possession, but Cody Hubbard accurately beat the buzzer from about 70 feet to make it 26-16.
The Rebels connected on six triples in the first half, including a pair from Drew Hamski.
Arcadia Valley 57, Ste. Genevieve 53
BONNE TERRE – Sophomore Carter Brogan went 6-of-10 from 3-point range, and played all 32 minutes as Arcadia Valley outlasted Ste. Genevieve 57-53 for fifth place in the MAAA Tournament.
Arcadia Valley (11-13) was fueled by an explosive 24-9 scoring edge during the third quarter, and bolted ahead 45-39 after Ste. Genevieve (14-10) had established a 30-21 halftime margin.
Brogan finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists as the Tigers shot 50 percent from the field. Luke Savage totaled 11 points while Taylon Jones and Stephen Pursley had seven each.
Daniel Horn grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Chad Donze netted 12 points and Logan Trollinger supplied 10 in a balanced scoring effort among the Ste. Genevieve starting five.
Sam Stolzer had nine points while Christian Boyer chipped in eight and Derek Morganthaler accounted for seven.
West County 70, Valley 33
BONNE TERRE – West County senior forward Hayden Roney followed up a 33-point performance against Bismarck with 24 more against Valley on Saturday.
The Bulldogs stormed out to a sizable early lead, and blitzed Valley 70-33 to win the consolation bracket of the MAAA Tournament.
Dake McRaven finished with 14 points, Ryan Retzer provided 11 more, and Chayton Akers scored nine for West County (12-10).
The Bulldogs capped the first quarter ahead 20-7, and pushed the margin to 46-25 by halftime.
Post player Skylar DeClue compiled 18 points, and Michael Presley added nine for Valley (9-11).