PARK HILLS – Another double-digit cushion slipped away in the second half on Wednesday. But this time, the Mineral Area women’s basketball team refused to fold.
The Lady Cardinals forced 22 turnovers against visiting Jefferson, and restored key momentum early in the fourth quarter to prevail 75-67 for their first Region 16 victory.
Hayley Winter made 10 consecutive free throws in the closing minutes, and totaled 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds as Mineral Area (9-9, 1-2) won for just the second time in eight games.
Freshman forward and Potosi graduate Allie Golden, a recent fixture in the starting lineup, ended with 10 points, six rebounds and a season-high six steals for the Lady Cardinals.
She connected on three jumpers during a pivotal juncture as Mineral Area put together a 10-2 run that spanned more than five minutes. Shelby Moon hit a 16-footer for a 64-56 lead with 4:46 remaining.
However, two empty trips to the line opened the door for Jefferson, which drew to within 69-67 when Alexian Collie drained a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining.
Winter calmly countered with two free throws following a backcourt foul on the ensuing possession, then added another pair after Golden deflected a Jefferson shot.
The Vikings (9-9, 0-1) gathered 23 offensive rebounds, but missed numerous second chances to score from short range in their Region 16 opener.
Jefferson never led during the game, but perhaps could have after increasing the tempo. A 3-pointer by Laura Dick gave MAC a 43-30 edge that quickly evaporated in the third quarter.
Dominique Jennings totaled 17 points with 15 rebounds, and converted two putbacks during a sudden 10-0 run. The second followed a missed free throw.
Collie banked in a tying runner at the buzzer that made it 54-54. She was awarded two points although appearing to release the shot from behind the arc.
Hannah Taulien opened the fourth with strong finish along the low block, and the Lady Cardinals stayed ahead until the conclusion. The sophomore center netted 10 of her 12 points before halftime.
Collie shared game-high honors with 17 points, and Shannyn Triplett had 10 for the Vikings. Each team shot just below 40 percent from the field.
Mineral Area was ultimately rewarded for an impressive start after stumbling against Crowder two days earlier, as crisp passing created baskets on each of its first three possessions.
Winter followed field goals from Moon and Olivia White with a driving layup as the shot clock expired, and seven Lady Cardinals would contribute points in the first quarter.
Dick provided a pair of hustling steals at the defensive end, and Taulien finished an entry pass late in the stanza to establish a 22-9 margin.
Jennings powered her way to four separate baskets in the second quarter, thanks to strong work on the glass. But Jefferson still faced a substantial deficit.
Dominika Skrocka chipped in nine points off the bench, and handed the Lady Cardinals their largest lead at 36-20 on a 3-pointer after Khiandra made a steal and promptly found her open.
Mineral Area was 20-of-32 from the line, including 12-of-14 by Winter, and will host Moberly at 5 p.m. on Saturday with the men’s showdown to follow.