PARK HILLS — Kenzie Lauffer popped a three for the Crowder Lady ‘Riders right after the opening tip, giving the Mineral Area Lady Cardinals a glimpse of things to come in the next 40 minutes of play. It would not be enough as Mineral Area immediately took control with a pair of threes by Hanna Vette, and the Lady Cardinals led the rest of the way for an 80-74 regional win.
The Lady Riders made 13 three-pointers in the game, but the Lady Cardinals were unfazed as they scored inside and out and trumped their opponent’s threes with a 24-29 performance at the line.
Mineral Area (15-14) made eight three-pointers of their own with Vette scoring four in the first half. Following Lauffer’s three, the Lady Riders could not buy a bucket, coming up empty on six straight trips. The Lady Cardinals took advantage with a 15-0 run on their end of the floor.
Crowder finally found its mark again with four different player combining for seven three-pointers. However, the Lady Cardinals continued to score at will, staying far enough ahead that each three by Crowder was matched well enough to keep the Lady Riders from taking the lead.
Vette scored 13 of her game’s 19 points in the half, and coupled with four points from Molly Barnes and five from Emily Brummitt, the Lady Cardinals were in position to hand the scoring reins over to Devonna Smith for the last seven minutes of the half.
Smith made two steals, pulled down four rebounds, was 5-6 from the line to score nine of her game’s 12 points, and the Lady Cardinals held off the sharp-shooters for a 40-34 half-time score.
The second half resembled waves at a beach. Over and over, Crowder would make a run at Mineral Area like waves coming in, and over and over the Lady Cardinals would make a run of their own like the water going back out to sea.
The closest the Lady Riders could come is a late rush that pulled them to within three. Crowder tried to hit the three and foul to get the ball back, but to no avail. Mineral Area made 13 of 15 at the line in the second half, with a 24-29 game total for 83 percent.
Crowder’s defense cracked down on Vette in the second half, but Brummitt took over for MAC to score 12 of her 17 points as one of the four Lady Cardinals to score in double figures. Barnes also contributed to MAC’s second-half scoring with three baskets to finish with 10 points.
Crowder had three players score in double figures with Sierra McSpadden nailing down four threes to finish with a game-high 26 points. Jordan Hunter scored a trio of three-pointers to finish with 14 points, and Kenzie Lauffer added three more three-pointers to her opening shot for 12 points.
Brummitt also took control of the boards, pulling down seven of her 10 rebounds in the second half. The Lady Cardinals won the rebounding battle 44-40, and also had the least amount of turnovers, 16-22. Kylie Oertel, Briannica Tye, Vette and Smith had three steals each in the game. Tye led in assists with 10.
The Lady Cardinals will be back at the Bob Sechrest, Sr. Fieldhouse at 5 p.m. on Saturday in a doubleheader with the men against State Fair as part of MAC’s Homecoming festivities.
Crowder 34 40 - 74
Mineral Area 40 40 - 80
Crowder - Sierra McSpadden 26, Jordan Hunter 14, Kenzie Lauffer 12, Taylor Murphy 7, Jaimee Shields 5, Tamires de Souza 5, Khyrstyn Brumley 3, Sara Paschall 2. 3-point FG - McSpadden 4, Lauffer 4, Hunter 3, Murphy, Brumley.
MAC - Hanna Vette 19, Emily Brummitt 17, Devonna Smith 12, Molly Barnes 10, Briannica Tye 9, Sonya Milford 6, Kylie Oertel 5, Whitney McNeely 2. 3-point FG - Vette 4, Brummitt 3, Tye.