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Arcadia Valley defends to stop winless drought

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IRONTON – Working through the ongoing early phases of a rebuild, the Arcadia Valley girls basketball program showed glimpses of a brighter future on Thursday night.

The previously winless Lady Tigers frequently turned steals into points after escalating their defensive pressure to outscore Bismarck 20-4 during a huge third quarter.

Sophomore Lily Pursley notched her first varsity double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Arcadia Valley prevailed 63-32 to snap a frustrating 13-game slide.

Offering a current roster devoid of seniors after graduating a superb class last year, the Lady Tigers finally broke through with freshmen providing a major boost.

Kayla Sumpter finished with 11 points and five steals, and Kylee Hartwick made a difference with her speed to contribute 10 off the bench.

Arcadia Valley (1-12, 1-1) began to establish separation before halftime. Molly Cook splashed a baseline jumper and a 3-pointer for a 26-18 lead.

The unofficial turnover disparity was relatively slight – 24 by the Lady Tigers compared to 28 by the Lady Indians – but the home team capitalized on decisively more fast-break chances.

Bismarck (3-13, 0-2) entered the contest having won two of three, and sophomore guard Madison Dunn scorched the nets for 42 points in a recent road victory at Van Buren.

The AV defense utilized fleet junior guards Alyssa Glanzer and Katelyn Strange to shadow Dunn, who often faced two or three defenders at an instance when dribbling near the sidelines.

That strategy ultimately achieved strong results during a 14-0 run that spanned 3 ½ minutes out of the break. Pursley got it started with a shot in heavy traffic, and Sumpter added a driving layup.

Strange pushed the pace off a rebound and dished to Glanzer for a 2-on-1 layup. The duo clicked again a few seconds later with Glanzer cashing in a 3-point play.

Bismarck forward Alyssa Brake was an early force on the glass, corralling a game-high 13 rebounds, and kept her team within 16-14 on a couple of uncontested putbacks.

Pursley began to match that intensity level, and coaxed the Lady Indians into committing several fouls in the paint while sinking 9-of-13 free throws. She tacked on a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Glanzer supplied seven of her eight points in the third while dishing out three assists, and Sumpter hit a triple for a 49-22 advantage after Ruth Francis salvaged an offensive rebound.

Strange ended with four steals, and attacked the lane for her third field goal. AV soon invoked a running clock at 55-24, and Stacie Tedford answered a triple by Karlee Fisher with a banked 30-footer at the buzzer.

The Lady Tigers flirted with their first victory last week in a 35-31 defeat against Valle Catholic, but left nothing to chance this time around.

Dunn succeeded in drawing contact through aggression and creativity, but also passed up possible shots to locate teammates. She compiled 18 points with six steals while going 11-of-18 from the line.

Brake scored eight points for the Lady Indians, whose largest lead arrived at 7-3 after Morgan Randazzo nailed 3-pointer and Brake hit a putback.

Dunn beat the defense in transition to make it 9-6 off an outlet pass from Janson King, who provided five rebounds and three blocks.

The first quarter concluded even at 10-10, however, as Hartwick lifted AV with a layup off a Glanzer steal before racing the length of the court for a second consecutive basket.

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