The highs and lows of athletics were on display Saturday night at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
The State Fair Community College Lady Roadrunners built an 18-point second-half lead and then watched Mineral Area College close the game on a 24-8 run.
However, the Lady Roadrunners came out on the winning end, beating nationally-ranked Mineral Area 61-59.
State Fair (16-5, 2-2 Region 16) committed eight turnovers over the final five minutes and watched the Lady Cardinals tie the score at 59 on a 3-point play by Chelsea Roberts, who finished with 13 points, with 28.7 seconds left.
The Lady Roadrunners answered on their end where Adella Randle-El made a 10-foot, baseline jumper with 5.2 seconds remaining to win the game.
“Credit to the players, they finished it off,” State Fair coach Kevin Bucher said. “They did get the win. We needed it at home. It still keeps us in line for where we want to be (in the region).”
Randle-El finished with nine points, a team-high six assists and two steals.
“We (went) on a good run (27-13) where we played pretty well, like State Fair basketball,” Bucher said, “and then probably about the 9-minute mark, we go brain dead. We don’t score.”
Antoinette Taylor was a spark plug for the Lady Roadrunners early in the second half. She scored six of her team-high 12 points and had a pair of steals during the run.
Taylor finished with a game-high six steals.
Mineral Area, ranked No. 13 in the nation, scored 21 of the next 25 points.
“We probably went seven minutes without scoring,” Bucher said. “No one looked like they wanted to handle the ball. (They) looked like they were scared and nervous. I don’t know. It’s perplexing. It was almost heartbreaking, to have such a lead (and nearly lose the game).”
The Lady Roadrunners struggled to score in the first half, making only 7 of 17 shots (25.9 percent), but they stayed close from the free-throw line. They outscored Mineral Area 11-1 from the line and outshot them 16-4.
Mineral Area (17-4, 3-3) took advantage of the cold spell and built a nine-point lead with the help of Brittany Lawson, who scored eight of the 11 points during a run that put Mineral Area ahead 20-11.
The Lady Roadrunners battled back with a 9-0 run that tied the score at 20. Sannayiah Johnson scored five of her 11 points during that stretch that included a steal and a layup by Apiphany Woods.
Mineral Area went right back in front and led by four (24-20) when Lawson scored on a post move.
Lawson scored a game-high 21 points.
Woods’ driving layup gave the Lady Roadrunners a 25-24 lead, but Ashleigh Bow, who tallied 11 points overall, drove the lane for a basket that tied the score at 26 at intermission.