SEDALIA, Mo. — Three Rivers sophomore Gabe Grant had his best game in a month as Three Rivers College beat State Fair Community College 81-72 on Friday afternoon. "He was our second best player. He forced some stuff, but he's really cooperative and I think he is going to get better and better," said Three Rivers coach Gene Bess. Since a season-low six points against Tallahassee on Dec. 29, when Grant was 0 for 6 from the field, he's improved his scoring in each game.
Against State Fair, Grant got back in the starting lineup and was 7 for 18 (39 percent) shooting and finished with 20 points. His layup and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions midway through the second half gave the Raiders their first double-digit lead. Three Rivers was ahead by three at the half and fell behind in the first minute after consecutive buckets by the Roadrunners. Aidan Saunders hit a jump off an assist by Ronnie Carson to retake the lead and Three Rivers didn't trail after that. Camron Reedus, who led Three Rivers with 21 points on 5 for 16 shooting and 9 for 10 at the free-throw line, put the Raiders ahead by two possessions with a free throw a few minutes later. Daniel Soetan sank a jumper, Reedus followed with a layup, then Grant got a layup and a 3 for a 9-1 burst that put Three Rivers ahead by 10.
The Roadrunners didn't get within six points after that. Carson came off the bench for the Raiders and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. Grant and Reedus led the team in rebounding with nine and seven, respectively. Three Rivers shot 9 percent worse than State Fair, but made just two fewer shots by winning the turnover battle. The Raiders were plus-7 on turnovers and plus- 19 on points off turnovers. They also went 24 for 34 (71 percent) at the free-throw line while the Roadrunners were 13 for 32 (41 percent). "They missed a lot of free throws that factored into that situation," Bess said. "I thought our defense was steady the whole game. I thought we did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball and nursing that lead."