PARK HILLS – On a roster blessed with skilled returning sophomores, Masyn McWilliams has become the energetic catalyst for three straight fast starts by the Mineral Area women’s basketball team.
McWilliams netted 16 of her game-high 18 points during the first half on Saturday, and produced four steals plus four assists as the Lady Cardinals scorched John A. Logan 101-55.
Excellent passing through the interior and crisp activity away from the ball helped Mineral Area (3-0) shoot an impressive 54 percent overall, including 10-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Redshirt sophomore Tyeshia Mitchell provided 17 points and eight rebounds, and the Lady Cardinals never trailed as five players scored in double figures.
McWilliams, who made her first five shots in the season opener one week ago, capped an initial 6-0 spurt by MAC with a spinning finish in the lane.
She was the recipient of an strong outlet pass from Riana Rangi-Brown for a transition layup, and knocked down a 3-pointer later in the first quarter.
Mineral Area committed only 11 turnovers despite dictating an aggressive tempo, and shared the ball to compile 11 assists within its first 12 field goals.
The lone exception to that trend was an uncontested putback by Angela Sorrell, and the Lady Cardinals created separation with a 10-0 surge to extend a 16-13 lead.
Returning center Rionne Papa showed her improved range on a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, and reached into a passing lane for a deflection and steal on the ensuing defensive trip.
Rangi-Brown fired one of her team-high seven assists to McWilliams for another fast-break layup at 33-17. Keanna Williams and Papa scored off subsequent drives for a 42-22 spread.
John A. Logan (0-2) made 9-of-10 free throws in the first half, including 6-of-6 by Bianna Snorton, but generated only seven made field goals during that span.
Mineral Area continued the onslaught behind an effective bench. Fatma Aouinet scored off a pivot in the post, and made an immediate steal and assist toward a 46-27 halftime advantage.
The Lady Cardinals expanded the roster depth with two players seeing their first action of the season. Jada Manase had eight points, and Georgia Sideri sank two jumpers in the second quarter.
Mitchell scored on a baseline cut and again through an inbounds play early in the third quarter. She further ignited the MAC defense as well by drawing a charge.
Ruby Benn was perfect on four shots, and sank a pull-up jumper off a return pass from Papa. Mineral Area stretched a 64-41 difference by outscoring the Lady Vols 37-14 over the last 10 minutes.
Papa drew contact on a successful putback, and Manase banked in a leaner for a 70-44 lead with 8:02 left after Mitchell rebounded a missed free throw.
Manase connected twice in a row from the perimeter, and Benn received a driving pass from Sorrell for the final basket of the contest.
Papa tallied 13 points, and Natalia Lalic ended with 11 after knocking down two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Lalic also dished out six assists.
Mineral Area surpassed the century mark in a game for the first time since defeating Kennedy-King 103-72 at home on Jan. 5, 2016.
Rangi-Brown chipped in eight points for the Lady Cards, who will travel to Senatobia, Miss. on Thursday for games against Mississippi Delta and NW Mississippi.
Emily Holmes and Tyesha Taylor each scored 11 points to highlight John A. Logan, which lost forward Cali Wright to an apparent knee injury early in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Vols got seven rebounds from London Foster, but failed to convert a number of second chances down the stretch. They were a collective 15-of-22 from the line.