Top seed Dexter looked impressive in its 71-27 win over No. 8 Bloomfield and No. 4 Puxico held off No. 5 Bernie, 62-58 in Tuesday's final two games in the varsity draw.
With the first-round games out of the way, basketball fans can sit back and enjoy what should be some very competitive semifinal games Thursday and Friday.
Thursday's varsity games will feature Dexter against Puxico at 7 p.m. followed by No. 2 Bell City against No. 3 Advance in the nightcap at 8:30.
Junior varsity play will open Thursday's action when No. 1 Dexter will tangle with No. 4 Bell City at 4 p.m. and No. 2 Advance will take on No. 3 Puxico at 5:30.
Puxico pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Bernie for the third time this season, 62-58 in the most competitive game in the first round of the SCAA Tournament.
Bernie led 48-47 entering the final period of play, but Puxico (13-6) rode a 15-10 advantage to earn the win and advance to the semifinals and a date with the top seed, Dexter.
Bernie (7-9) battled from behind for almost three quarters and didn't take its first lead until Marcus Massey hit two free throws with 1:38 remaining in the third period. The uphill fight by the Mules took its toll as Bernie couldn't muster that one last run to try and pull off the tournament's first upset.
"We wore out a little bit in the fourth quarter," Bernie coach Morse Karnes said after the game. "They do have some talented kids inside. Ramsey (Tyler), Helm (Jonathan) and the bigger Townsend (Justin) kid. They are all three have pretty good size and are pretty talented inside. You're right, we just kind of wore down late."
Bernie got 16 points from senior Zach Dill, who Karnes says is playing at "about 60 percent." Marcus Massey (12 points) and Britt Arnold (11) were Bernie's other players in double figures.
Puxico was led by Jesse Townsend's 15 points that included three 3-pointers.
"I'm glad our team came ready to play, they really came out and played hard especially the first half in our man-to-man defense," Puxico coach Chad Allen said after the win. "We didn't do as well in our man the second half. We stuck with it and kept playing hard and came away with the win again."
Bloomfield played Dexter heads up for the first five minutes of the game as Tony Garnett's short jumper tied the score a 8-8, but that would be the last points the Wildcats would score over the next nine minutes of play.
Nick Roe's 3-pointer at the 2:03 mark of the second period broke Bloomfield's scoreless streak, but by then the Bearcats had built a 34-11 advantage and were well on their way to the semifinals of the varsity bracket of the SCAA Tournament. Roe's bucket would be the only Bloomfield points in the second period.
Once Dexter measured the Wildcats, the 'Cats went on a tear both offensively and defensively. After a 19-8 first quarter lead, Dexter went on a 9-of-15 (3-of-3 from behind the arc) shooting spree in the second while holding Bloomfield to 1-of-10 shooting in the frame. At the half, Dexter had forced 22 Bloomfield turnovers.
Coach Eric Sitze got a big offensive effort from some unlikely sources as Levi Rawson (15 points) hit back-to-back treys late in the first and Andrew Boone (15 points) knocked down Dexter's last seven points of the second quarter for a 41-11 Bearcat lead at the break.
Coach Sitze went to his bench often in the second half and nine Bearcats responded with points. Dexter's 58-21 lead heading into the fourth set the mercy lock in motion.
Note: Scott Admire returned to the starting lineup for the Bearcats after missing three games with nagging minor injuries.
Leopold outscored visiting Chaffee 35-23 in the second half to grab a Mississippi Valley Conference win.
Victor Vandeven led Leopold (3-12) with 17 points.
Chaffee (3-10) was led by T.J. Crowden's 12 points.
Austin Morrison scored 18 points and Austin Hahs added 16 as visiting Oak Ridge (6-10) held on for its fourth straight victory.
Ryan Bouge led Oran with 18 points, all in the second half.
Marquand (3-11) defeated Delta at home.
Delta had five players score in double figures - Kevin Bartels (23 points), Terrance Below (15), Brent Menz (13), Cody Crowden (13) and Aaron Kinder (10).
Meadow Heights posted a 24-point victory against host Zalma.
Anthony Bollinger scored 31 points for the Panthers (11-5), while Micheal Collier added 24.
Zalma (2-13) was led by Adam Pixley, who scored 30 points.