HEADLINE: Roadrunners expecting big things
State Fair Community College men’s basketball coach Kevin Thomas believes the Roadrunners could do something special this season.
After the Roadrunners beat Missouri State-West Plains 116-114 in a triple overtime Region 16 thriller on Wednesday night at the Fred E. Davis Center, he might be right.
The Roadrunners (14-6, 3-0 region) overcame a 19-point first-half deficit and trailed 45-35 at intermission. Outscoring West Plains 50-40 in the second half, they tied the score on a 3-pointer by Kevin Punter with six seconds left at the end of regulation, according to Thomas.
A pair of free throws by Kedar Edwards in the closing seconds of the third overtime proved to be the winning points. West Plains attempted a 3-pointer with seven seconds left, but the Roadrunners came down with the rebound. Edwards was fouled and made his free throws. West Plains attempted a half-court shot at the buzzer, but it didn’t come close, Thomas said in a telephone interview.
“We played better offensively,” Thomas said of the second half. “We made some plays. We battled and battled and really competed hard.”
Punter finished with a team-high 33 points. Joseph Thomasson had 25, Kedar Edwards 24 and Dondre Alexander 12. Edwards added 13 rebounds, eight assists and four steals, all team highs.
The victory put the Roadrunners in first place in Region 16 with with five games to play. Moberly Area and West Plains are tied for second at 2-1 with their only losses coming against State Fair. Three Rivers is third at 1-3 and Mineral Area is 0-3.
The Roadrunners hope Wednesday’s performance leads to big things.
“We want to do something special. Something we haven’t done since 1976 — win a region championship,” said Thomas, whose team’s next four regional games are on the road. “To win on the road, you have to overcome the officials and the crowd. We have to stay together, defend well and make free throws.”
Mineral Area (12-10) will host the Roadrunners at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Cardinals are led by a trio of guards. Anthony Virdure averages a team-high 19 points, Chris Craig 14.9 and Brier West 13.6. All three are shooting 45 percent or better.
Orlando Johnson (6-6) and De’Aires Tate (6-7) are the men in the middle. While Johnson only averages 5.3 points, he leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game. Tate averages 4.4 points but grabs 5.3 rebounds a game, second-best on the team. Tate averages 1.1 blocks.
Regional play began with a thriller for the Roadrunners. They beat Three Rivers 99-89 in overtime. They followed with a 77-70 win over Moberly Area.
After the Mineral Area game, the Roadrunners go to Three Rivers on Feb. 1, West Plains on Feb. 11 and Moberly Area on Feb. 15.
State Fair wraps up the regular season with a home matchup against Mineral Area.
“They’re excited — and they should be — to keep this thing going,” Thomas said. “We tell them to take it one game at a time. If you start looking at the big picture, you miss what you’re supposed to be doing in a particular game.”