Joshua Bailey scored 20 points on six 3-pointers to lead State Fair to an 84-69 victory over Mineral Area on Saturday.
Willie Jimerson Jr. scored 20 with seven rebounds and eight assists and Ronnie Rousseau III added 19 points in a game that saw just two lead changes early in the matchup.
A Bailey trey tied the game at 36 with less than two minutes left in the first half. He hit another one with 20 seconds, giving State Fair a 41-36 lead at half.
Bailey stayed hot through the halftime break and opened the second period with another three.
Head coach Kevin Thomas said the Roadrunners played up for one of the stronger teams in the region. State Fair is scheduled to face the Cardinals again Thursday in the Region 16 semifinal.
“I thought our energy was good and our focus was good,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be hard to beat them again. They’re a good team. We got to hope they can miss some shots, and hopefully we can make some.”
Thomas said facing a sharp-shooting team presented a mental challenge during the game.
“I told our guys that they’re a good team, they’re going to make some shots,” Thomas said. “When they make some shots we can’t hang our head and get down. We have to make them score tough shots over the course of the night.”
Montell Goodwin and Yoshua Trent led Mineral Area with 16 points each. Elliott Sentance added 11 points.
The Cardinals led 18-10 early after a Goodwin 3-pointer.
State Fair faces Mineral Area College Thursday at the Ozark Christian College Multipurpose Building in Joplin at 8 p.m.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2