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STE. GENEVIEVE – North County senior Hunter Johnson drained five 3-pointers, and finished with a game-high 21 points against Valle Catholic on Friday.

Hayden Sprenkel added four made shots from the perimeter, and the Raiders recorded 11 total 3-pointers in a 78-42 victory. Sprenkel notched 15 of his 20 points during the first half, and added seven rebounds.

Johnson sparked a third-quarter explosion by North County (7-2) with eight points and a rejection within the first two minutes of the period.

He sank a second consecutive shot from behind the arc after blocking a layup on the defensive end, and widened the margin to 48-26.

The Raiders continued on a 21-7 run to gain a 59-31 lead. Sprenkel posted his first points since the first half with his fourth made shot from behind the arc on the opening possession of the fourth quarter.

Johnson capped his performance with his fifth long-range shot two minutes later for a 30-point advantage.

Each side began with turnover issues while trying to force a fast pace, and Valle Catholic (3-5) squared the score at 7-7 midway through the first quarter on a transition 3-pointer by Ryan Grein. He ended with a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds.

Carter Hoog captured the Warriors' initial lead at 10-8 after grabbing a defensive rebound, and pulled up from the perimeter at the other end with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Valle Catholic often allowed too much space to North County shooters, and trailed 18-12 at the end of the first after Johnson drilled his first triple with six seconds on the clock.

The Raiders greatly reduced their turnover frequency in the second quarter, and continued to succeed at popping shooters open.

They expanded the advantage to 29-19 midway through the period on the lone perimeter shot from Isiah Poirrier, who ended with 10 points.

Valle struggled to limit mistakes against full-court pressure, and ended with 10 turnovers in each half, while the Raiders committed 12 for the game.

North County maintained a comfortable lead nearing halftime with a steady rate of jump shots.

Grein slightly narrowed the gap to 38-24 at the break after turning a steal into a fast-break layup as time expired.

Sean Pruneau was effective in the post with 12 points for the Raiders. Nick Parker recorded all six of his points on transition baskets early in the third quarter.

Luke Ritter tallied seven points for Valle Catholic, while Aaron Doza and Hoog each added six.

North County carries the No. 2 seed, and will face Herculaneum in the first fourth of the Central Christmas Tournament on Tuesday.

Valle Catholic will host the Warrior Winter Classic next week, and will meet Grandview on Wednesday.

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Sports Reporter

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