PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area men’s basketball team created separation between itself and Shawnee by setting a fast-paced tone during the second half on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals tightened defensively to force nine turnovers after both teams combined to commit only eight in the first half.
Freshman Lance Singh led several transition opportunities, and scored 13 of his game-high 17 points after intermission in the 82-62 victory.
Daniel Soetan tipped in a missed jumper for Shawnee with 1:37 left in the first half to create a 34-34 tie. The game remained square after each team executed two long defensive stands and Singh missed a deep jumper at the buzzer.
Roman Young assisted Bobby Parker and Zach Cameron on back to back 3-pointers to generate a 40-38 lead for Mineral Area (11-3) with 17 minutes to play. Young left the game briefly after being poked in the eye moments later, and notched eight points with six assists.
Dmonta Harris achieved the largest advantage for the Cardinals at 45-42 on a conventional 3-point play with 13:21 on the clock. Mineral Area pulled away with increased defensive pressure and quicker shots.
Singh converted a fast-break layup through contact, and sank the ensuing free throw to gain a 53-43 edge with 9:35 remaining. His lone 3-pointer bounced high off the rim twice before falling through to sustain a 10-point advantage.
Rob Howard Jr. and Shomari Tillett constantly battled in the post to frequently reach the foul line during the second half, but the Saints could not curb the potent Mineral Area offense.
Howard paced Shawnee (7-4) with 11 points plus six rebounds, while Tillett recorded 10 points and seven rebounds.
Cameron, who finished with nine points for the Cardinals, recorded two dunks during the final minute of play, and capped the game by slamming an alley-oop pass from Young.
Parker helped extend the late lead by sprinting up the floor during fast breaks after grabbing missed shots. He ended with 10 points and six rebounds for MAC.
The Saints began the contest on a 7-0 run behind fluid ball movement and a patient offense. Singh was the first to score for Mineral Area on a transition layup with 17:29 on the clock.
Cameron recorded his first dunk to bring the Cardinals closer after receiving an outlet pass from Young. Jamie Ahale ended a three-minute scoring lull by making his first of three shots from behind the arc, and handed Mineral Area its initial lead at 14-12.
The Cardinals scored on four consecutive 3-pointers by a combination of three different players near the middle of the first half.
Cameron recorded three blocks over the last eight minutes of the stanza, and Kevin Hamlet finished with nine points plus two blocks in the win.