PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area men lost leading scorer Bobby Parker to an ankle injury just three minutes into its Homecoming game, making the challenge of facing Region 16 rival Moberly even tougher on Saturday night.
The Greyhounds gradually built their lead through a balanced attack. Randy Miller, Jr. displayed exceptional quickness to earn chances at the free-throw line, and JaQualis Matlock battled in the post to power a 78-63 victory.
Moberly (21-3, 4-0) remained atop the region standings with a second win over Mineral Area (19-6, 3-3) this season after taking the previous meeting 71-65 in overtime last month.
Miller drained four 3-pointers, and shot 7-of-8 from the stripe to record a game-high 25 points for Moberly. Matlock notched 13 points and led all players with 11 rebounds while making two blocks.
Lance Singh paced Mineral Area with 16 points and six rebounds. Jamie Ahale added 12 points, including three shots from beyond the arc.
Ahale posted the first points for the Cardinals with three free throws to halt a 4-0 start by Moberly. Singh nailed his lone 3-pointer four minutes into the contest to take a brief 6-5 lead, but the Greyhounds immediately answered with a layup on the other end and never trailed again.
Moberly accelerated ahead 15-9 during the next three minutes behind stubborn full-court pressure that generated four consecutive Mineral Area turnovers.
The Greyhounds later produced a 9-0 run during the final three minutes of the first half to achieve a 35-25 edge.
Miller and Billy Thomas each dropped in a shot the perimeter prior to the break to help gain a 41-29 Moberly advantage at intermission.
The Cardinals earned a bulk of their points from the line early in the second half while drawing several physical fouls. Mineral Area finished 24-of-31 from the stripe, while the Greyhounds shot 14-of-21.
Ahale sank consecutive 3-pointers, and Roman Young added his lone made shot from long range on the following possession to make the deficit 63-55.
Miller responded with a shot from about four feet behind the arc less than 20 seconds later to stretch the margin back to double digits.
Moberly renewed its strong defense to force several turnovers during the final five minutes, and added to its lead with transition scoring.
Tyree White fouled out with eight points and eight rebounds, while Thomas contributed nine points for the Greyhounds.
Dmonta Harris recorded nine points with eight rebounds for the Cardinals, while Maurice Edwards contributed nine points.
Mineral Area will travel to West Kentucky Tech on Wednesday.