WEST PLAINS — After riding high last Saturday night after a win against Three Rivers, the Mineral Area Cardinals found themselves on the other end of the spectrum on Friday night after falling to SMSU — West Plains on the road 83-76. The Cardinals had plenty of opportunities to win but couldn’t seem to cash in on the opportunities as Mineral Area is still winless at West Plains.
“We didn’t prepare all week for this game,” said Mineral Area coach Tim Gray. “We were flat coming off of a nice win last Saturday. We didn’t do a great job preparing and we didn’t play very well. We’re 1-1 in the region instead of being 2-0.”
The Cardinals trailed in the first half but made a run late to grab a 23-22 lead. West Plains then went back on top but a pair of free-throws by Armend Kahrimanivoc gave the Cardinals back the lead.
West Plains followed with an offensive run and grabbed a 39-29 lead. The Cardinals then got a three-pointer to make it a seven point game but West Plains got another basket before the buzzer to make it a 41-32 game at the half.
Mineral Area came storming back at the start of the second half. Before the West Plains fans had a chance to settle back into their seats after going to the concession stand, the Cardinals cut what was a nine point deficit to just two points, 43-41.
Mineral Area continued to keep pace with West Plains as Norman Prather came up with a huge dunk to keep the Cardinals within two points, 49-47.
After an intentional foul call though, on Mineral Area, things went south for the Cardinals. Mineral Area struggled defensively late as West Plains picked up the 83-76 win.
Lorenzo Gordon led Mineral Area with 18 points. Joel Shelton had 15 points and David Bryant had 13 points. Prather finished with 11 points.
Mineral Area falls to 13-5 and will travel to McKendree on Thursday.