North County 52, Ste. Genevieve 34
PARK HILLS – The longest girls basketball win streak in the MAAA imploded amid a baffling repetition of clanks on Thursday night.
Fourth-seeded North County dominated the paint and handed Ste. Genevieve its first setback, 52-34 in the semifinal round of the conference Tournament.
The Lady Raiders established their physical presence from the outset, more than doubling the Dragons in total rebounds while unofficially holding them to 26 percent shooting.
Kamryn Winch compiled 14 points plus 13 rebounds, Kayleigh Winch added 10 points with 10 rebounds, and North County (16-4) overcame 22 turnovers to secure the marquee win.
Ella Gant provided nine rebounds while equaling Emily Veach with seven points each. The Lady Raiders will face Central for the championship on Saturday night.
Ste. Genevieve (19-1) beat the opposing defense in immediate transition three consecutive times for layups after allowing baskets in the first quarter.
But junior standouts Sydney Bumgardaner and Maci Reynolds were limited to one field goal each, and the state-ranked Dragons generated only eight points over a futile 18-minute stretch.
Julia Christopher helped North County close the first period with a pair of 3-pointers for a 22-12 lead, and two putbacks by Kamryn Winch bumped the halftime margin to 30-14.
The Lady Raiders made just 13-of-30 free throws, and saw their offensive efficiency decline after the intermission, but never relented on the defensive end.
Kayleigh Winch posted a 3-point play off an excellent interior lob from Christopher for a 43-20 spread, while Katelynne Jones, Emily Pruneau and Emma Gaugel contributed bench points.
Megan Aubuchon had a team-high 10 points, and Abby Moore brought down eight rebounds for the Dragons. Marysa Flieg and Reynolds scored seven apiece.
Ste. Genevieve, which takes on Farmington for third place, missed its first nine attempts from 3-point range until Flieg connected with 12 seconds left in the contest.
The Dragons will have an opportunity for revenge on Feb. 27, when the teams meet in a rescheduled game for the MAAA Large-School regular season title.
Central 46, Farmington 23
PARK HILLS – The theme of lockdown defense continued in the MAAA Tournament girls semifinal round as second-seeded Central pressured its way to the championship round.
The Lady Rebels played 12 full minutes before yielding a single point to Farmington on Thursday night, and induced 17 turnovers while easing to a 46-23 triumph.
Sophia Horton starred with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists while making 8-of-10 free throws. Central (18-4) will seek its third straight title against North County on Saturday night.
Kaley Kimball totaled 12 points plus seven rebounds, and Avery Norris finished with nine points and four assists. That duo combined for an 8-0 lead through one quarter.
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Horton took control from there with 10 points in the second. She scored on a cut into the lane before sinking a 3-pointer, and Central pushed the halftime margin to 20-4 following a long possession.
Youthful Farmington (10-9) struggled on its most prominent stage so far this season, missing its first 11 shots from the field and going 23 percent overall.
Skylar Sweeney broke the Knights’ drought with free throws at the midway mark of the second quarter, and Emma Gerstner netted their first basket with 2:45 left before intermission.
Horton converted a 3-point play off an inbounds pass, and Norris followed with a 16-foot jumper during a 14-0 run that made the advantage 34-6.
Madison Holmes grabbed an offensive rebound and zipped a pass to Olivia Dunn for a Central basket as the third quarter expired.
Farmington picked up two second-chance baskets from senior Bri Speakar while outscoring the Lady Rebels 11-6 over the last eight minutes.
Gerstner tallied five points and Grace Duncan claimed five rebounds for the Knights, who will challenge top-seeded Ste. Genevieve for third place on Saturday.
FIFTH PLACE BRACKET
Arcadia Valley 51, Potosi 42
PARK HILLS – Gracee Smith poured in 28 points, and Arcadia Valley rallied down the stretch to overtake Potosi 51-42 in the MAAA Tournament fifth-place bracket on Friday.
Katie Whited contributed seven points with five assists and three steals, and the Lady Tigers outscored Potosi 16-5 in the fourth quarter after trailing 27-20 at halftime.
Arcadia Valley (14-8) made only 11-of-29 free throws, but allowed just 15 second-half points while earning a rematch with Large-School division champion West County on Saturday.
Freshman guard Kya Gibson powered Potosi (10-12) with 21 points after drilling five shots from beyond the arc. Olivia Coleman totaled 13 more in her final conference tourney appearance.
Kirsten Day grabbed nine rebounds, and Hannah Helvey secured seven more for AV.
West County 62, Fredericktown 50
PARK HILLS – West County answered a comeback push by Fredericktown on Friday by controlling the fourth quarter, and prevailed 62-50 in an MAAA Tournament fifth-place bracket contest.
Dori McRaven finished with 24 points, including 11 as the Lady Bulldogs posted a 22-10 scoring edge over the last eight minutes after the contest was square at 40-40.
West County (16-4) will face rival Arcadia Valley on Saturday afternoon after knocking down 12-of-16 free throws. Claire LaBruyere contributed 16 points, and Madelyn Whitter added eight to the win.
LaBruyere had half of her team’s eight 3-pointers.
Kyndal Dodd netted 10 of her 24 points in the first quarter for Fredericktown (4-18), which trailed 33-26 at intermission before pulling even.
Kayleigh Slinkard chipped in seven points and Mallory Mathes had six more for the Lady Blackcats.