PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area men’s basketball team completed a solid comeback before halftime against the reigning NJCAA Division II national champions on Saturday night.
Triton gained enough separation late in the second half, however, and used 19 points each from Terry Durham and Alondes Williams to outlast the Cardinals 72-68 at the Bob Sechrest Classic.
The Trojans, who have upgraded to Division I this season, moved to 6-0 overall after dropping 100 points on Region 16 opponent Three Rivers one night earlier.
Mineral Area (5-1) was held well below its average of 92 points per game against a surprising zone, but only trailed 58-56 following a third-chance, 3-point play by Yahuza Rases with seven minutes left.
Quinlan Bennett connected on a mid-range jumper, and Williams finished two fast-break layups within a huge 8-0 response to give the Trojans their largest lead of 10.
Darreus Brown tallied 16 points and four steals to pace the Cardinals, and sparked a final rally with a 3-pointer. Two free throws by David Kachelries made it 70-68 with 46 seconds left.
Bennett sank two clutch tries at the stripe after being fouled inside with 17 seconds on the clock, and two perimeter shots from the Cardinals misfired on their final possession.
Kachelries registered a double-double with 10 points, 10 assists and three steals, while Steve Wooten provided 12 points and a team-high six rebounds for MAC.
Martrell Barnes hit an acrobatic twisting shot from beneath the rim to give Triton a 34-27 lead that slipped away when the Cardinals mounted an 8-0 run over a span of two minutes, 40 seconds.
Wooten finished a drive inside, then caught a return feed in transition after grabbing a defensive rebound, and scored in the lane while drawing contact.
Onteral Woodson drilled a go-ahead triple off a kickout from Patrick Strzala for a 36-34 Mineral Area edge, but Williams hit from long range to put the visitors ahead 37-36 at the break.
Strzala totaled nine points and Woodson scored eight for Mineral Area, which finished 10-of-33 from 3-point range.
Durham threw down the first of two transition dunks to open the second half, and netted 14 of his 19 points after intermission.
Mineral Area 99, Kennedy-King 69
PARK HILLS – Patrick Strzala went 6-of-9 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and scored 18 points overall as Mineral Area rolled past Kennedy-King 99-69 on Friday night.
Center Gabe O’Neal made 7-of-10 shots from the post, and matched Darreus Brown with 17 points and seven rebounds each for the Cardinals, who were 25-of-34 from the line.
Mineral Area bolted to a 44-29 advantage by halftime, and shot 53 percent for the game as five players scored in double figures.
Yahuza Rasas made 7-of-9 free throws to provide 13 points off the bench, and David Kachelries finished with 10 in the victory.
Steve Wooten chipped in nine points with six rebounds, while Anthony Wales made six assists.