PARK HILLS — Mineral Area College’s men’s basketball team, started the season 5-0, but since then the Cardinals have lost four straight, including Saturday’s 90-87 loss to the Wabash Valley Warriors in the Bob Sechrest, Sr. Classic. MAC lost both of their games in the Classic.
Anthony Virdure gave a gallant try to pull the Cardinals back into the win column. As time was running out, Bryce Weibrecht threw an inbound the length of the court to Virdure, who tried to nail a three-pointer at the buzzer and give the Cardinals extra playing time, but the off-balanced, rushed shot would not fall.
Virdure finished the game with 36 points, including six three-pointers. Randy Holmes and Brier West contributed 11 points each, and Aaron Cassell scored another 10.
The Warriors pulled ahead by 10 midway through the first half, and they matched the Cardinals bucket for bucket down the stretch to the break for a 48-37 half-time lead.
The game appeared to be solidly in the Warriors hands as they dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, stretching their lead to as many as 16 with 11 minutes left in the game, which may have an awakening point for the Cardinals.
Mineral Area made a strong comeback attempt in the final 10 minutes of play. The Cardinals pulled to with one of the free-throw stricken Warriors, at 76-75 with just over three minutes left in the game.
The Cardinals would pull to within one point more than once, but each time the Warriors scored on their end to stay just out of reach. With time running down, the Cardinals had a chance to finally tie the score, but a missed lay-in and the following tap left the Cardinals still down by two.
The Warriors obliged to give the Cardinals one last chance as they made only one of two free throws, before Weibrecht’s inbound pass.
Wabash Valley was led in scoring by Jaquan Lynch and Tyrone Sherman, each with 18 points, followed by Sam Thompson with 15, and Wesley Afolayan and Brienne Miles with 13 each.
The Warriors finished the night 26-40 from the line, and they committed 12 turnovers. Mineral Area was 19-29 on free throws with 10 turnovers.
Mineral Area will play next on November 29 in the Southeastern Iowa Classic against Northeast Community College.