PARK HILLS – The ability to reduce passing angles and deflect the basketball away helped Mineral Area dominate the first 11 minutes of action on Friday night.
After coughing up a 16-point advantage on their home court, the Cardinals called back to the aggressive defense that previously worked, and safely secured their sixth consecutive victory.
Sophomore center Kevin Hamlet provided 14 points and huge second-half minutes off the bench after picking up two early fouls as Mineral Area edged Roane State 63-56.
Roman Young provided 12 points after halftime, and collected six assists after setting up several early baskets by center Zach Cameron, who also scored 12 in the game.
William Johnson netted a game-high 18 points for Roane State, and put his team ahead 37-34 with a putback and running bank shot moments after Cameron departed with three fouls.
Hamlet sank a pivotal 3-pointer in response, and the Cardinals proceeded to mount a 21-5 run spanning nearly nine minutes after trailing 39-35 with 16:40 to play.
Young assumed more of a scoring presence by attacking the rim while Mineral Area (7-1) forced four Roane State (5-4) turnovers in five possessions at the other end.
The Raiders threw a series of congested passes out of bounds, and blew a couple of open layups after making an impressive comeback to briefly gain the lead.
Bobby Parker drained a triple to extend a two-point margin after Raiders post player Jeremy Joyner answered a Young layup with a tough follow.
Hamlet slashed from the elbow to finish a driving scoop at 51-42, and Lance Singh followed another 3-pointer by Young with a powerful move to build a 58-46 margin with 4:38 remaining.
Johnson scored through contact for the game’s final field goal, but Roane State allowed the clock to be dribbled out after Cameron grabbed an offensive rebound and reset the MAC offense.
Parker finished with 11 points for Mineral Area, which committed only three turnovers in the second half and will host Fort Scott on Saturday.
Cameron threw down massive 2-handed slam after pivoting above the foul line, and Maurice Edwards nailed a three as the Cardinals initially surged ahead 13-4.
Roane State coaches grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of charging fouls as Mineral Area was attacking off the dribble and creating contact.
Five straight points by Parker resulted in a 23-7 cushion with 8:50 left in the first half, but the Raiders adjusted nicely with six-plus minutes of scoreless defense.
Austin Brooks hit a spinning layup off penetration to cap a 10-0 run. An excellent kickout pass to Garrett Crandell resulted in a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to bring the visitors within 31-26.