PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area starters performed efficiently in the second quarter to produce a 17-point lead at the break, and enabled the bench to finish off Region 16 foe Jefferson on Wednesday.
The reserves combined for 32 points – some even logging more playing time than the first five – and the Lady Cardinals maintain a comfortable advantage on the way to a 75-57 victory.
Holly Forbes contributed to the early attack by posting 12 of her team-high 16 points in the first half for Mineral Area (12-5, 2-1).
Ella Gobald, who received the third-most minutes behind Madison Reynolds and Forbes, notched 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Briar Johnson contributed seven points plus seven rebounds in the win, while Olivia White added six points and six boards. Starting forward Tyeshia Mitchell recorded nine points, five rebounds and three steals.
Mineral Area preserved a 44-27 halftime cushion before pulling away after Cheyenne Randle received her fourth foul for Jefferson (5-8, 0-1) only two minutes into the third quarter.
Randle supplied half of her 14 points during her brief stint in the third before watching the remainder of the period.
Mitchell sank a contested jumper over two outstretched defenders from 15 feet for a 56-36 edge midway through the third. Gobald and Lainey Bell then drained consecutive 3-pointers to create a 66-38 lead.
The Lady Cardinals limited opposing inside looks during the fourth quarter, but Jefferson frequently reached the free-throw line.
However, the Lady Vikings shot just 3-of-9 from the stripe overall, while the Lady Cardinals made 15-of-19 attempts.
Shannyn Triplett consistently slashed inside late for Jefferson, and provided 11 of her game-high 24 points during the fourth quarter. She added seven rebounds, while Tyra Bonner contributed 14 points with eight rebounds in the loss.
Bonner notched the first six points for the Lady Vikings on 3-pointers during the opening minute. Jefferson then capitalized on some unforced turnovers by the Lady Cardinals.
Forbes plowed her way into the post to convert three consecutive layups and gain a 12-11 MAC lead with five minutes to play in the first quarter.
Gobald and Johnson drilled back-to-back perimeter shots, and White sank a pair of free throws to earn a 25-17 lead as the period ended on an 8-0 run.
Mineral Area gradually padded its advantage by scoring near the basket. Reynolds pulled in a defensive rebound and dribbled the length of the court to finish a transition layup for a 40-25 edge.
Evi Papadopoulou received an inbounds pass near the opposing goal with five seconds on the clock, and bolted to the other end to assist White on a buzzer-beating jumper before the half.
A rematch in Hillsboro, Mo. is schedule for Feb. 7th. The Lady Cardinals' next game will come at Moberly on Saturday.