Three Rivers' Gabe Grant and Camron Reedus were recollecting Wednesday night about what a long, strange trip its been. Grant came to Three Rivers from the south side of Chicago. Reedus from Courtland, Alabama, a town with fewer people than some Chicago buildings. They were different players from vastly different places taking different paths to the same Missouri Bootheel. Today they are both 1,000-point scorers, putting them both in the top 20 all time in Three Rivers history. "I never would have thought that coming in," Grant said. "I couldn't even do that in high school in four years. To do that in two here is crazy." Added Reedus, "I never go out setting those types of goals. When I first came here I just wanted to be a part of the team and try to contribute as best I can. I never thought I would be scoring a thousand points."
Grant sank a corner 3 in front of the Raider bench with 15:34 left against Arkansas Baptist on Thursday to reach exactly 1,000 points. It put the Raiders ahead 15 points, and they went on to beat Arkansas Baptist 94-78 at the Bess Activity Center. Grant added a pair of free throws in the closing possessions for 23 points off the bench to go with 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. "I thought Gabe had one of the better games he has had. He hit some big shots and he guarded. If he could rebound a little better he'd be an All-American," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. Reedus finished with 24 points, four rebounds and four assists. He crossed the 1,000-point mark on Feb. 4 against State Fair when he sank a 3 with 6:38 remaining. With two games left in the regular season, Grant is 19th alltime in scoring at Three Rivers and Reedus is 17th.
Lattrell Sprewell is the all-scoring leader at Three Rivers with 1,488 points, set during the 1989-90 season. The only time two Raiders crossed the 1,000-point mark in the season was in 1980-81, when Terry Mead (1,083 points) and Tony Wallace (1,184 points) did it. Three Rivers has not had a 1,000-point scorer since Tarius Johnson in 2011-12, who finished seventh in career scoring with 1,234 points.
"It is just a blessing. I just felt like we had to be here at the right time, right place, right circumstances. I feel like the man above put us here to be that," Reedus said. The Buffaloes (18-8) were able to cut the Three Rivers lead to six points with 6 minutes to play. Aidan Saunders scored and Reedus followed with a 3 to get the Raiders back ahead by double digits. With both teams in the double bonus, the Raiders drove to the basket time and time again drawing fouls to build a comfortable lead at the free-throw line. "They missed a lot of free throws the first half. It would have been a much closer ball game," Bess said of Arkansas Baptist. "We are going to have to get better real quick if we are going to beat Mineral Area (on Saturday.)
Three Rivers (21-7) has a short turnaround before its final Region XVI game of the season in Park Hills on Saturday night. The Cardinals are currently tied with Moberly Area at the top of the Region XVI standings with one loss each. Mineral Area currently holds the tiebreaker for the top seed, but the Raiders can play spoiler with a win. If Three Rivers wins Saturday, it would also play Mineral Area in the semifinals of the Region XVI Tournament, which is down to four teams this year because MSU-West Plains is ineligible. A Saturday loss, and Three Rivers will play Moberly Area, which won by 11 points in Moberly and by three at Three Rivers. "I think we can beat either one of those teams, but it will take our best," said Bess, who returned to the bench against Arkansas Baptist after undergoing knee surgery two weeks ago.