PARK HILLS – Farmington junior Tycen Gray picked up the slack in the post after teammate Cole Laurence exited the game with an ankle injury during the opening 20 seconds of play Wednesday against Fredericktown.
Gray recorded 10 of the first 12 points for the Knights, and finished with 19 of his game-high 23 before halftime. He added 11 rebounds and two blocks in a 64-24, first-round victory at the Central Christmas Tournament.
No. 3 seed Farmington will play South Iron, which defeated Perryville 66-54, in the quarterfinal round on Thursday while No. 14 Fredericktown drops into the consolation bracket to face Perryville.
Farmington (3-4) held Fredericktown (3-7) scoreless through the first three minutes of the contest until Seth Miller put back his own miss to narrow the spread to 6-2. Miller tallied six points with six rebounds in the loss.
The Knights generated a bulk of their points on fast-break chances, and gained a 26-6 lead Gray's lone 3-pointer midway through the second quarter.
Jackson Schrum increased the edge in 34-11 going into the break with a two-handed dunk attempt that bounced around the rim before falling in with 15 seconds on the clock.
Schrum notched eight points, six rebounds and three blocks for the Knights, and Tyler Herzog added seven points.
Colton Rehkop, who paced Fredericktown with nine points, sank his first basket from the perimeter to begin the second half.
Farmington continued to build its advantage on transition opportunities during the third quarter. Brendon Hardy made the score 54-17 with a 3-pointer as time expired in the third, and ended with 13 points.
Ste. Genevieve 66, Arcadia Valley 58
PARK HILLS – Ste. Genevieve junior Derek Morganthaler drained five shots from behind the arc in a 25-point performance against Arcadia Valley.
Each team began with a perimeter-based offense, but the Dragons won the long-range battle to secure a 66-58 triumph.
No. 7 Ste. Genevieve (4-5) will be tested by North County in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, and 10th-seeded Arcadia Valley (5-5) will play earlier in the day against Herculaneum.
Austin Wren and Morganthaler opened the game by exchanging 3-pointers during the first minute of play. Wren tallied 11 points on three made shots fromthe perimeter for the Tigers.
Jeremiah Moore, who paced Arcadia Valley with 17 points and 10 rebounds, recorded five points within the final 30 seconds of the first quarter to shrink the difference to 21-15. Moore often worked the ball inside to keep the score close.
Peyton Whited was called for a charging foul midway through the second period, and then received a technical foul after disagreeing with the call. Morganthaler sank each resulting free throw to hold a 25-21 lead.
Ste. Genevieve forced several turnovers late in the second quarter, and gained a 34-27 edge at the break.
The Tigers tightened their perimeter defense in the second half, so the Dragons looked inside to widen the margin.
Gabe Greminger notched 13 points plus seven rebounds in the win, and helped create open shots for his post players with crafty passing.
Carter Brogan trimmed the deficit to 64-58 with 33 seconds remaining in the game, but Greminger made two free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Brogan posted 10 points and six rebounds in the loss, and Takota Jones ended with nine rebounds.
North County 77, Herculaneum 42
PARK HILLS – North County turned a series of early Herculaneum turnovers into a quick 16-0 start in the first round of the Central Christmas Tournament on Wednesday.
The Raiders generated six turnovers during the opening three minutes of play, and Hayden Sprenkel capped the early run with his second 3-pointer in transition. Sprenkel paced all players with 23 points in a 77-42 win.
Blake Leathers, who recorded seven points for the Blackcats, dropped in a layup with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter to snap their cold start.
North County (7-2) maintained a stout defense and executed an effective fast-paced attack to establish a 31-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Chandler Jansen notched 10 points, and drove into the lane to score the first basket of the second quarter for Herculaneum with 4:25 to play.
Leathers hit his lone 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to narrow the spread within 47-19 going into halftime.
Isiah Poirrier often attacked the rim and tallied 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting for the Raiders, while Tyler Johnston led all players with nine rebounds.
North County had 13 players score in the win, and will face Ste. Genevieve in the quarterfinal round.