ST. LOUIS – Rafael Cruz buried a long 3-pointer and helped Lewis & Clark stop a final push by the Mineral Area men’s basketball team on Sunday.
The Trailblazers built multiple 14-point leads in the second half, and were highlighted by 30 points from Cruz in an 80-75 triumph.
Aaron Jones made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch, and netted 15 points for Lewis & Clark (5-3) as both teams faced a quick turnaround after competing on Saturday.
Mineral Area (10-3) played its third game in four days with a short bench, and trailed 61-47 with about 11 minutes remaining.
Roman Young made a driving layup and later lobbed a pass to Zach Cameron for a dunk. Bobby Parker drained a 3-pointer with 3:58 left to bring the Cardinals within 68-65.
Cruz answered right away to stem the momentum, however, and Jehu Lafeuillee sank two free throws as the Trailblazers drew repeated fouls from there to hang on.
Parker compiled a season-high 28 points for Mineral Area, including 17 after halftime. Cameron dropped 17 points and Jamie Ahale had 15.
The Cardinals produced only three field goals from inside of 17 feet – two by sophomore Kevin Hamlet – while shooting 7-of-22 from 3-point range in the first half.
Parker hit a transition layup for an 11-7 MAC lead after teammate Lance Singh connected from long range and created an ensuing steal.
Lewis & Clark surged to a 22-18 advantage, then padded the margin with an 11-0 run as Ray Smith scored a third-chance basket.
The Cardinals trailed 39-30 at the break.
Mineral Area 94, Daley College 66
PARK HILLS – All 12 players on the active roster scored as the Mineral Area men wore down depleted Daley College for a 94-66 victory on Saturday.
Bobby Parker tallied 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, and Jamie Ahale added 15 on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range for the Cardinals.
Roman Young compiled 11 assists and Dmonta Harris had 11 rebounds as Mineral Area regrouped from a sluggish start by attacking the basket at will in the second half.
Tory Mason provided 18 points and 16 rebounds for Daley (3-6), but his defensive capacity was severely limited after picking up a fourth personal foul with about 16 minutes remaining.
The start time was moved ahead four hours after Daley threatened to otherwise stay home. The Region 4 program brought six players from Chicago after leading scorer Namon Smith missed the bus.
Mason muscled through a double team for a 29-20 advantage as the Bulldogs defied the odds through much of the first half.
Mineral Area answered with a 30-1 blitzing that consumed the next eight minutes. Parker finished two slashing moves to the hole, and Edwards knocked down a 3-pointer as time expired for a 34-30 lead.
The Cardinals generated 16 straight points to commence the second half, including a pair of triples by Ahale on the first two possessions.
Harris added three baskets during a later 17-1 run after the Bulldogs hung within 66-50, and matched Young with eight points apiece.
Kevin Hamlet provided 12 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
Mario Pittman and Darrin Wilson had 11 points each, and Shaquille Crisp netted 10 in the first half for Daley.