PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area women’s basketball team lost an early spark and fell 80-68 to State Fair in Region 16 action on Saturday.
The Lady Cardinals held a 21-14 advantage in the first quarter, but the Lady Roadrunners crashed the boards hard to earn extra possessions and fight back into the lead.
Sophomore Ahjana Oakes hit three shots from behind the arc to end with 18 points and eight rebounds for State Fair (20-8, 8-2).
Catie Kaifes shot 3-of-3 from long distance, and totaled 11 points. Freshman guard Ren’Cia Rolling added nine points with seven assists, and Danae’ Cole also scored nine.
State Fair completed a regular-season sweep after previously posting a 79-52 victory in Sedalia, Mo.
Freshman Olivia White scored 18 points for Mineral Area while Hayley Winter netted 16. Olivia Casey made three of her four 3-pointers in the third quarter to finish with 15.
The Lady Cardinals (13-5, 3-7) hold the No. 5 seed for the six-team Region 16 tournament, and will travel to Moberly for a first-round game on Tuesday.
Cole nailed two consecutive 3-point shots late in the first half, and State Fair regained a 31-30 lead after trailing for more than eight minutes.
Seconds earlier, Alexis Cowan fell into the bleachers on a fade-away shot and left the game holding her lower back.
White scored in the post on three consecutive trips for the Lady Cardinals, but they also committed turnovers on their final four possessions to trail 39-32 at the break.
Each team attacked inside to start the third quarter. Cole extended the State Fair advantage to 44-34 on a layup within the first minute.
Mineral Area began crowding the paint on defense in an attempt to prevent easy shots near the basket.
Casey drained back-to-back shots from behind the arc to bring the Lady Cardinals within 50-43 with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
But the Lady Roadrunners got to the foul line and grabbed offensive boards to maintain a 57-48 edge heading into the final period.
Maya Brewer pulled in 11 rebounds for the Lady Roadrunners, who made 12-of-23 on free throws while Mineral Area went 8-of-12.
The Lady Cardinals tried driving in order to find high-percentage shots, but the opposition provided exceptional post defense.
White once again gave Mineral Area an offensive jolt by shrinking the deficit to 68-59 with layups on three consecutive trips.
Kaifes hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to cancel out any comeback efforts from the Lady Cardinals.
Mineral Area played competitively early, and took a 14-11 lead on a long-distance shot from Shelby Moon four minutes into the game.
The Lady Cardinals generated several turnovers in the first quarter, and capitalized often on fast-break opportunities.
Allie Golden sank a pair of free throws to close out the period for Mineral Area.