That’s a key to a successful team.
The State Fair Community College men’s basketball team did that Saturday night, beating Mineral Area 90-67 and completing an undefeated Region 16 schedule.
Four SFCC players scored in double figures with Dondre Alexander scoring 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Kevin Punter had 19 points, Joseph Thomasson 15 and Kedar Edwards 13.
Alexander had a team-high three steals, and Edwards led SFCC with eight rebounds. Thomasson had a team-high seven assists compared to only two turnovers. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds.
“You look at this boxscore, and we’ve got four guys in double figures, almost five,” SFCC coach Kevin Thomas said. “I thought there were a lot of guys who played well. Joe Thomasson played a great game again. … They pressed and trapped and tried to get the ball out of his hands. He was making good decisions.
“Dre (Dondre Alexander) made some shots for us, especially in the second half. Kevin Punter was efficient again. Kedar showed some toughness inside, got some big rebounds, but it was the solid play up and down the line.”
Deangelo Stephens-Bell just missed double-figure scoring with nine points.
The Roadrunners (22-6 overall, 8-0 Region 16) executed an offense that had 18 assists, while Mineral Area had only two second-half assists.
“Teams lock in on me but what they don’t realize is our team is unselfish,” Thomasson said. “We’ve got a lot of scorers, a lot of depth. A lot of people can come in and give us great minutes. When they kind of lock in on one player, we get the team involved, get the crowd involved and that’s how we play. We play off the energy. We play off the defense. That’s what we take pride in, and that’s what we did.”
SFCC had good shooting night, making 53.6 percent (30 of 56) of its shots, and went 13 of 27 (48.1 percent) from behind the arc. The Roadrunners outscored Mineral Area 39-12 on 3-pointers and 17-7 on free throws.
The lead changed hands 11 times and the score was tied three times in the first half.
The Roadrunners took the lead for good on two free throws by Thomasson that gave them a 22-21 lead with 6:23 left in the first half. Thomasson’s free throws ignited a 14-2 run that put them ahead 36-23.
“I thought there was a stretch there in the first half where we played some really solid defense, forcing them to take some tough shots,” Thomas said. “The possession got really late in the shot clock. We were able to contest some long 3-point shots. They were unable to get shots they wanted. Guys moving and working together kind of frustrated them there for a five-minute stretch. Second half, we were able to get another chunk in there when we played championship-level defense.”
Edwards followed Thomasson’s free throw with a putback, Alexander scored on a baseline move and Punter dunked. After Mineral Area’s Aaron Cassell drove the lane for two, Punter sank a 3-pointer, Alexander made two free throws, Thomasson scored on a putback and Edwards made one of two free throws for a 13-point lead.
Thomasson closed the half with a 3-pointer, giving the Roadrunners a 41-27 halftime lead, their biggest of the half.
Mineral Area (16-13, 2-6) never came closer than 13 points in the second half. The Roadrunners made seven 3-pointers, created turnovers and made dunks to pull away. Edwards dunked to end a fast break when Thomasson passed backward between his legs to Edwards.
Only two Mineral Area players scored in double figures. Cris Craig had a team-high 16 points, and Malik Brown added 12.
The Roadrunners will open tournament play Friday at Jefferson College in Hillsboro. They will face the winner of the Mineral Area-Three Rivers game at 6 p.m. Mineral Area and Three Rivers will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Park Hills.