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BONNE TERRE – North County senior Hayden Sprenkel outscored Festus by himself with an uncanny stroke from long distance.

He finished 12-of-20 from the perimeter, and recorded a career-high 44 points plus five rebounds for the Raiders in a 79-42 victory on Tuesday.

Sprenkel had averaged 14.5 points over his last two games, more than 10 points below his mean for the season, and North County executed solid screens to pop him open behind the arc.

John Starkey, Cody Hubbard, and Hunter Johnson each added a 3-pointer to round out the 15 total for North County (17-5). Hubbard banked in his shot from about six feet past the line as time expired in the third quarter.

Festus (12-11) exhibited physical defense to power through screens early, and trailed just 12-11 at the end of the first period. However, the Raiders exploded on a 34-11 stretch through the second to lead 46-22 at halftime.

Sprenkel drilled 3-pointers on five straight possessions, and helped propel North County ahead with 18 points in the second quarter.

The Tigers stalled offensively due to seven turnovers during the second quarter, and struggled to rotate defensively along the perimeter. Owen Horsley tallied a team-high 12 points, while Daniel Portell had seven.

The Raiders looked inside early in the second half, and dropped in three layups during the opening two minutes.

Festus attempted to cut into its deficit with a perimeter-based attack, but converted only one shot from long distance during the second half.

The Tigers earned four trips to the free-throw line during the last three minutes of the third quarter, and finished 9-of-15 overall. The Raiders missed just two of their 14 attempts at the stripe in the win.

Sprenkel nailed a 3-pointer from the corner on the first possession of the fourth quarter, then proceeded to pull up from the logo on the next trip to cap his career night.

Hunter Johnson contributed none points and five rebounds, while Nick Parker posted a team-high six rebounds.

With three games remaining in the regular season, North County has a chance to notch its first 20-win campaign since 2009. The Raiders will face Perryville, St. Pius, and district foe Hillsboro before beginning post-season action in Farmington.


Sports Reporter

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