PARK HILLS — The Mineral Area Cardinals transition game in the second half enabled them to build quickly on their ending run of first half, and the Statesmen of Kennedy-King soon found themselves out of the ball game as MAC pulled away to a 79-58 win.
As the Statesmen’s shooting turned cold from the floor early in the second half, with numbers the Cardinals pushed the ball up floor, forcing it inside to make the quick score before the Statesmen could recover on defense.
Sensing the pull away, MAC’s defense also stepped and Kennedy-King had trouble formulating their game plan as a trapping defense contested every play.
To climax a 14-2 run where the visitors scored only two free throws, a Kennedy King time-out ended only to have Carlton Guyton make a steal and claim the ensuing basket on a lay-up, followed by a reverse lay-up on the next possession. Guyton led all scorers with 28 points in the game.
The run gave Mineral Area a 20 point lead and they never looked back as the Statesmen could not get closer than 15 points in the last 10 minutes of the game.
For one half of play, the contest was very even, For the first 10 minutes of the game, the Cardinals had no answer for the first-half, three-point shooting of Reggie Smith. Smith scored 13 points in the first half going 3-3 from the perimeter. Mineral Area’s defense held him to only one three in the second half.
The Cardinals (4-2) were able to stay close with their defense forcing several turnovers. A jersey-number violation for the Statesmen, which resulted in a pair of good free-throws by Guyton, seemed to take the wind out of the Statesmen’s sails.
Trailing 15-12 at the 10-minute mark, MAC received their first of four slam dunks with Guyton doing the honors for the first one, only to be matched on the opposite end by Kennedy-King’s Darrell Blanton.
A three by MAC’s Martell Anderson was followed up by steal of an inbound pass by Al Rapier and a quick bucket for a five-point play and a 21-17 lead. Rapier made a second steal of like manner in the second half.
The Cardinals finally gained their largest lead at the buzzer. Tyler Beers rescued an offensive rebound off of a missed MAC free throw with 19 seconds left in the half.
Using a screen by Beers, Kaleb Wright was able to get free in the corner where he popped a three at the buzzer to make it 34-29 at the break.
It took only three minutes of the second half before the Cardinals took control of the contest. Kennedy-King was able to pull to within one point, but they were never able to recover the lead as their offense stalled and Mineral Area was able to score at will on their end of the floor.
The Cardinals were 20-31 from the floor in the second half for 65 percent, finishing with 53 percent for the game. They were not as efficient at the free-throw line, where they ended up making 8-23, but were matched by the Statesmen’s 10-21.
Mineral Area won out on rebounding with 32 rebounds to Kennedy-King’s 26, and turnovers were 15 for both teams.
Both teams will be back in action tonight at the Bob Sechrest, Sr. Fieldhouse with Kennedy King playing Three Rivers at 5:30 p.m., and Mineral Area taking on Indian Hills at 7 p.m.
Kennedy-King 29 29 – 58
Mineral Area 34 45 – 79
Kennedy-King – Smith 20, Blanton 13, Lee 11, Croom 5, Mayo 5, Smith 2, Love 1, Board 1. 3-ptrs. Smith 4, Croom.
Mineral Area – Guyton 28, Wright 11, Anderson 10, Rapier 9, Thomas 6, Harris 5, Minner 4, Campbell 4, Crittendon 2. 3-ptrs- Anderson 2, Wright, Campbell, Guyton.