Kevin Bucher gave his players an ultimatum following a poor showing against Mineral Area on Saturday night.
“I challenged them,” Bucher said. “I said, ‘If you’re tired of basketball ... you can quit right now and not walk through those doors again.’ ... But I said, ‘If you want to come in and compete for a region championship and raise a banner, I want hungry ladies to come through.’ The last several days, we’ve had great, intense practices.”
The Lady Roadrunners responded with a 68-41 victory on Tuesday night over Arkansas Baptist, of Little Rock, Ark., at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
State Fair dominated under the goal, outrebounding the Lady Buffs 51-36 overall, including 23-15 on offense.
The Lady Roadrunners played some tight defense, too. Their pressure led to many of Arkansas Baptist’s 23 turnovers, and they had seven steals.
State Fair held the Lady Buffs to 26.3 percent shooting (15 of 57), including 21.9 percent (7 of 32) in the second half.
Antionette Taylor was in the middle of everything, scoring a game-high 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds and having two assists.
Three other State Fair players scored in double figures.
Apiphany Woods logged a double-double with 11 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. Adella Randle-El had 11 points and a team-high four assists. Mia Wesley had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Roadrunners, who attacked the Arkansas Baptist defense from the start, outscored the visitors 20-8 at the free-throw line and outshot them 30-12.
“We took the ball to the hole. Most teams, with our speed, can’t handle one-on-one,” Bucher said.
State Fair (17-5) never trailed, although the Lady Buffs (10-13) stayed close early. They closed their deficit to 16-11 on a free throw by Ashley Wakefield with 12:07 to go in the first half.
The Lady Roadrunners closed the half with a 26-10 run to lead 42-21 at halftime. They made two of their four first-half 3-pointers during that stretch, and Taylor scored seven of her 10 first-half points over the final 7:46.
“I think we came out with energy and good intensity,” Taylor said. “(We played) good defense (and) executed our plays.”
Arkansas Baptist made three 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half to keep the team in striking distance.
However, the Lady Buffs went cold from the field for the rest of the game.
State Fair held the Lady Buffs to one shot on many possessions in the second half, limiting their scoring opportunities.
“Our posts earned their opportunities to get back on the floor,” Bucher said. “They’ve been banging and hitting and that’s what we need.”
The Lady Roadrunners’ defense stopped Arkansas Baptist’s 6-3 center Tatiyana Smith in the second. She scored 12 first-half points but was held scoreless in the second half.
SFCC at Three Rivers College
5 p.m. Saturday at Poplar Bluff
RADIO: 1050 AM