Metea Valley was able to take advantage of St. Charles East missing a key component to its offense.
The Saints played Thursday night's Upstate Eight Conference boys basketball crossover game without senior point guard Dom Adduci after he suffered a strained groin against St. Charles North on Saturday.
The Mustangs capitalized, winning 82-73 as St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods thought it was best to keep Adduci sidelined in preparation for the stretch run in conference play.
"We figured it was best to hold (Dom) out for this week so that he's ready for Larkin and Geneva next week," Woods said. "You take 22-25 points out of your lineup and take a big piece of your offense out, you're going to struggle, but I'd rather have him at 100 percent than 80 percent."
Leading 21-20 early in the second quarter, Metea Valley extended its lead on three straight baskets by Bryson Oliver, who finished with 16 points.
"Bryson gets into the flow of the game," Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza said. "He does a good job of running what we want to run, and when he's feeling it he can pull up and hit a jumper."
The Mustangs kept the lead in double digits throughout the third quarter until Cole Gentry trimmed the deficit to 57-48 on a fastbreak layup and free throw with 16.9 seconds left.
Gentry, who finished with a game-high 32 points, scored St. Charles East's first 14 points of the fourth quarter and connected on all 17 of his free-throw attempts on the night.
"As soon as we got into the bonus, we talked about getting the ball to Cole," Woods said. "He can handle the ball well and he's a good free-throw shooter."
Marquell Oliver, who led Metea Valley with 24 points, added a turnaround layup, followed by a floater in the lane on two straight fourth-quarter possessions that helped give the Mustangs a comfortable cushion after the Saints had cut the deficit down to 7 twice.
St. Charles East cut the Metea Valley lead to 5 when AJ Washington's putback off a missed layup by Gentry made the score 75-70 with 2:05 left.
But on the Mustangs' ensuing possession, Bryson Oliver found Justin Kuehn wide open under the basket where he made the easy lay-in while getting fouled. Kuehn made the free throw to put his team up 78-70 with 1:44 left.
Bryson Oliver made his final two free throw attempts after missing his two previous chances, and Nick Dodson, who finished with 19 points, put the game away with two free throws with 38.3 seconds left.