Porter lifts Lady Raiders in last minute

Markeia Porter came through when it mattered most. Then she did it again, and one more time just to be sure.

The freshman forward was clutch three times in the final minute of Three Rivers College's 61-56 win over Vincennes University on Tuesday at the Bess Activity Center.

With the Lady Raiders clinging to a five-point lead and 45 seconds left, Porter drew a charge.

"I saw her coming because she was coming off the dribble really hard. I knew she was going to try to get to the basket either way," she said.

Three Rivers beat the press and got the ball down the court, but then committed an untimely 12th turnover. The Lady Trailblazers fired an outlet pass to halfcourt, but Porter read it and cut it off for her second steal. With a foul to give, Three Rivers burned a few more seconds before DeNayia Holmes made a pair of free throws.

Vincennes missed a pair of shots the other way and Porter grabbed a final defensive rebound before being immediately fouled with 8.6 seconds left and Three Rivers up seven.

"Those were tremendous. If she doesn't do that, we have a chance not to win. We were up enough, but that sealed it for us," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said.

In 10 minutes of playing time, Porter had three rebounds, four points, two steals and two drawn fouls.

"Coach told me to go in and rebound and be strong with the ball, so that's what I tried to do," Porter said.

The win was effectively the Lady Raiders' biggest of the season to date, though the team played it down after the fact as just another game. Vincennes (10-2) was ranked 21st in the NJCAA preseason poll before falling out of the new rankings, released Tuesday, and would have been the Lady Raiders' first ranked opponent.

The Lady Raiders (10-2) were a bit psyched out in the early going and Walk had to call two timeouts and sub in two complete line changes in the first five minutes. During the second time, he asked his sophomore laden squad if they could play with their opponent?

They affirmed the somewhat rhetorical question and Walk answered, "Then why aren't you."

Three Rivers was down by seven and on the wrong end of a 9-0 run at the time, and the message sunk in. Seven points was the biggest lead Vincennes would ever get.

"Our kids are just as good as what they are," Walk said. "Granted, they are a good basketball team, but what is that saying about you when you don't think you are a good basketball team? It is all mental. The kids are athletic enough, they're strong enough, they're smart enough. Now we just have to work on the mental aspect of the game. That was the thing I saw tonight, we grew mentally."

The Lady Trailblazers were held scoreless for 7 straight minutes between the first and second quarters as Three Rivers took its first lead. Three Rivers wouldn't get a seven point lead of its own until the fourth quarter.

Ge'Naisha Robinson led Three Rivers with 14 points on 50 percent shooting and Michael Everhart had 11 after hitting three 3s. Joya Smith got 13 rebounds, 10 more than any other Lady Raider, and was a free throw shy of a double-double.

Laurhen Pickett had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Vincennes despite picking up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter. Walk called her absence huge.

Pickett scored Vincennes' first three baskets in the second half, retaking the lead, and had eight points in the third quarter alone before heading to the bench with four fouls. She had two more points after that and was Vincennes' most efficient shooter, going 8 for 14 overall.

Three Rivers pressed from start to finish, forced 22 turnovers and grabbed 12 steals. With 12 turnovers of their own, the Lady Raiders used the 10 extra possessions to make up for shooting 29.5 percent from the field, 8 percent worse than the Lady Trailblazers.

"If we would of had 22 turnovers, they would have beaten us by 12," Walk said. "We made shots when we had to."

Three Rivers was plus-four on points off turnovers, as well as plus-five on second-chance points, even though the taller Lady Trailblazers had one extra offensive rebound and 15 more total rebounds.

"Porter lifts Raiders in last minute" Daily American Republic 07 Dec 2016: B1

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