PARK HILLS – Solid ball handling and passing from all five positions helped the Mineral Area women’s basketball team dismantle the NW Mississippi defense in a rematch on Tuesday.
The Lady Cardinals committed just eight turnovers, and used a plus-24 rebound advantage to notch a dominant 83-50 victory in their final contest ahead of Region 16 action.
Sophomore Makenzy Smith compiled a career-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and with four assists as five Mineral Area players finishing in double figures.
Ella Gobald provided 14 of her 16 points after intermission as the home team steadily built a sizable advantage. She connected on two 3-pointers and an 18-footer in the fourth quarter.
Mineral Area (10-3) needed a late putback by leading scorer Holly Forbes to take the previous matchup 71-69 in Senatobia, Miss. She played less than nine minutes on Tuesday due to illness.
Briar Johnson earned a chance to start as a result, and the Arcadia Valley graduate served a key role inside with a season-high 18 rebounds.
Abbreanna Miller had 14 points to pace NW Mississippi (5-5), which was limited to 29 percent from the field while committing 16 turnovers.
Allie Golden muscled in a basket from the post just before Smith drilled an open 3-pointer along the right wing, and the Lady Cardinals jumped ahead 16-7.
Tyeshia Mitchell alertly dished to Johnson for a driving layup after drawing a double team early in the second quarter. Lainey Bell followed with another triple for a 24-12 advantage.
The Rangers screened on an inbounds play to free Miller for a layup, and she later sank a turnaround from the left side to gather more momentum.
But MAC guard Madison Reynolds made dealt a long pass ahead to Johnson, who then found Smith for a jumper to help the Lady Cardinals carry a 35-27 lead into the break.
Mineral Area was clearly the more energetic team over the remainder of the action, and rarely allowed second shots at the defensive end of the floor.
Smith restored a double-digit lead with a 3-pointer, then connected from the baseline off a bounce pass from Golden to make it 48-34 midway through the third quarter.
Gobald sparked a 12-2 run to close the period with three straight baskets, and Mary Katherine Tucker began the fourth with another triple to establish a 65-40 separation.
NW Mississippi picked up nine points from Ciara Pettis, but converted only 7-of-30 field goal attempts in the second half.
Golden totaled 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Mineral Area. Mitchell also finished with 11 points, while Bell ended with 10.
The Lady Cardinals will host Three Rivers on Saturday.
Matt King is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org