PARK HILLS – Good things seemed to happen for Potosi on Tuesday evening when junior guard Noah Jacobsen had the basketball in his hands.
The Trojans mounted a pivotal 12-0 run during the fourth quarter, and got a game-high 30 points from Jacobsen to outlast De Soto 83-74 in boys first-round action at the Central Christmas Tournament.
Sophomore post player Kaleb Coffman provided 21 points, and Trenton Cain added 14 to the victory despite sitting significant time with early foul trouble.
Potosi (4-4) reached Thursday’s quarterfinals to face top seed Hillsboro, which easily handled Crystal City 62-27 behind a balanced attack that Gaven Pinkley paced with 11 points.
De Soto (6-7) was highlighted by Trevor Johnson with 18 points while Austin West and Clayton Snudden each netted 16 more.
The score was even on 10 occasions, but the Trojans showed their first glimpse of possibly taking control by forcing four turnovers amid a 10-0 run in the third quarter.
Jacobsen and Coffman drilled consecutive 3-pointers to help build a 48-41 advantage, but a missed dunk by Coffman that could have restored a six-point cushion briefly turned the momentum toward De Soto.
Transition baskets from Johnson and Snudden brought the Dragons all square at 59-59 with 5:38 to play, but Coffman answered with a go-ahead score in the lane.
Jacobsen, who converted 11-of-14 free throws, followed with an attacking layup and spotted Garrett Wilkinson for a corner 3-pointer after Zach Haynes had connected from deep range for a 71-59 lead.
The second quarter featured five ties, and Jacobsen made three free throws after drawing a bump with 1 second left until halftime to make it 36-36.
Cain opened that stanza with a tough turnaround shot and putback for the Trojans, but Johnson came back with a triple and three additional field goals to spark De Soto.
Central 92, Viburnum 52
PARK HILLS – Central pushed the tempo right at the Viburnum defense, and approached the rim without the much difficulty while sharing the offensive production.
Sophomore guard Drew Hamski knocked down four of his five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and had 17 points to lead the fourth-seeded Rebels in a 92-52 triumph.
Brent Wagner finished with 12 points, and Breven McMullen scored 11 more as Central (5-3) advanced to meet Festus in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
The Rebels established dominance from the outset. Will Hopkins finished a 3-point play, McMullen took an ensuing steal the length of the court, and Holden Mayberry capped a 7-0 start with a putback.
Wade Scherffius made a steal and layup to create a 20-3 spread, and Jake Casey splashed a right-side 3-pointer just before time expired in the first quarter for a 32-5 difference.
Junior Ethan Boyle powered Viburnum (6-3) with a game-high 22 points. But the Blue Jays only forced seven Central turnovers, further reducing any chance to forge a comeback threat.
McMullen produced nine points in the first quarter, and Wagner reached double figures by halftime after sinking a 3-pointer from the left corner.
Trevor Bradley also connected from long range nearing the intermission, and Stetson McCoy powered in a conventional 3-point play with three seconds left for a 59-18 differential.
Scherffius netted eight points to equal both Hopkins and Mayberry, but left the action during the third quarter after rolling his right ankle while landing and dishing to Mayberry under the hoop.
The other Central starters were soon done for the night as well. Hamski maintained the running clock by consistently snapping off threes down the stretch.
Keandre Mesa notched eight rebounds and six points for the Rebels.
Andy O’Dell chipped in 13 points for 13th-seeded Viburnum. Boyle made 7-of-11 free throws overall, but was only member of his team to attack off the dribble with much success.
Festus 56, West County 44
PARK HILLS – When the action between Festus and West County reached a feverish tempo in the third quarter, the fifth-seeded Tigers clearly operated more smoothly.
Festus closed the period with an emphatic 12-0 spurt, and rolled to a 56-44 victory in the opening round at Central despite having no players score in double digits.
Starting forward Kobe Branscomb netted nine points along with reserves Blake Holland and Jason John as Festus (6-3) earned a quarterfinal tilt against the host squad on Thursday.
Nate Kinnard shined in the fourth quarter by totaling 11 of his game-high 15 points, and helped West County shrink a 20-point deficit down to 12.
He mixed in a transition layup with contact for a 3-point play, and drove end to end for another basket to make it 56-42 with 2:14 remaining.
Brennan Pryor contributed eight rebounds plus eight points, and spotted Festus its largest advantage of 49-29 with a close-range shot to begin the fourth quarter.
But the previous four-minute stretch marked the decisive portion of the game after Noah Vinson made a spinning scoop to bring the Bulldogs within 35-29.
West County began to force difficult shots early in possessions, while the Tigers increased their lead on consecutive jumpers by Owen Horsley, Savez Thomas and Branscomb.
Johnson followed with a pair of huge 3-pointers, the second of which dropped through the net with 5 seconds left after Festus had settled into a methodical half-court set.
Holland nailed perhaps his biggest of four made shots just ahead of the halftime buzzer as an offensive rebound and subsequent 3-pointer made the difference 32-23.
West County (3-6) moved ahead 6-4 on triples by Nathan Hollock and Reid Pratt, but was blitzed by an ensuing 11-0 run from Festus over the next three minutes.
Holland provided a putback and layup off a steal after Daniel Portell put the Tigers ahead to stay with an open 3-pointer.
Johnson answered an aggressive layup by Vinson – who had 11 points in defeat – by sinking a big three just before the first quarter expired for a 20-11 margin.
Hayden Roney grabbed eight rebounds for the Bulldogs.