By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve High School’s Abby Moore made a putback basket and then a free throw to give the Dragons a 15-0 lead with 2:50 left in the first quarter during a Monday, Feb. 1 game versus rival Park Hills Central.
The Rebels never completely shoveled out from that early hole.
And Ste. Genevieve claimed its third consecutive Mineral Area Activities Association Large School Division regular-season title with a 53-41 conquest over Central.
Ste. Genevieve girls took a photo after the game, holding three fingers up with enough smiles to make a dental commercial.
It was a far cry from Central’s 67-59 victory over St. Genevieve in the championship game of the Bob Sechrest Jr. Christmas Tournament — when the Dragons fell behind early and committed 22 personal fouls.
Ste. Genevieve played better defense while showing more restraint, with just 11 fouls this time around.
“The girls hard work and defense won them that game,” said Ste. Genevieve head coach Jordanna Walk-Robison.
“Our girls came out ready to play, and set the tone early with our defense,” Walk-Robison added.
Ste. Genevieve scored early through both steals and pass deflections — Moore deflected a pair of Central passes that were transformed into turnovers. Maci Reynolds added three steals and Jayden Pullins and Marysa Flieg two apiece. Pullins also had a remarkable blocked shot during the second half.
Megan Aubuchon, the night before signing with Central Methodist University for track and field, paced the Dragons with 15 points including 3-of-7 from the free-throw stripe. Reynolds added 13 points, with one 3-pointer.
Shelby Horton, the Rebels’ leading scorer with 14 points, made a bank shot to close Ste. Genevieve’s lead to 23-10 with 1:50 left in the second quarter.
However, the Dragons responded with a Reynolds bucket inside the lane then Sydney Bumgardaner nailed a 22-foot 3-pointer just before the intermission buzzer sounded. Ste. Genevieve was ahead by 18 points.
Aubuchon connected on a traditional 3-point play in the third quarter to give the Dragons their biggest margin of the game (37-13, 4:31 mark).
The Rebels trimmed the Dragons’ advantage to 12 points in the final frame; but, that’s as close as the game got.
Moore also contributed a game-high 10 rebounds (two offensive) with Flieg nine (two offensive) and Aubuchon five (four offensive).
Ste. Genevieve R-II School District athletic director Dr. Jeff Nix emailed the Herald Monday morning noting the Dragons’ quarterfinal game versus Fredericktown was moved to Tuesday at 4 p.m. — with the game at Park Hills Central.