PARK HILLS, Mo. — The Raiders shot a season-high 60 percent from the field Saturday to push their record above .500 for the season. Three Rivers defeated Lang Prep 92-71 Saturday to go 2-0 in the Bob Sechrest Classic at Mineral Area College. The Raiders beat Kennedy-King (Ill.) 76-58 on Friday. "These were two good wins and we needed them," said Three Rivers coach Gene Bess in a radio interview, who now has 1,259 wins over 48 seasons at Three Rivers. Aidan Saunders led Three Rivers (3-2) with 16 points. Willie Lucas added 15 and Keiondre Jefferson had 13 while three more players finished with nine points. The Raiders had 49 points off the bench and led by as much as 23 late in the game. There were a few lead changes early, but then back-to-back 3s by Chucky Wilson and Saunders put Three Rivers ahead by 12 with 8 minutes left in the first half. Lang Prep was down by 14 at the half and never came within striking distance in the second. While the Raiders had their best shooting performance of the season, they also allowed 51.5 percent shooting and were out-rebounded. Defense and rebounding have been focal points for Bess as trouble spots early in the season.
After a rough 30 minutes Friday, the Raiders eventually found their form and allowed fi ve points over the fi nal 10 minutes to beat Kennedy-King. Three Rivers was down five at halftime and by as much as seven early in the second half. Saunders sank a 3 about 6 minutes in that put Three Rivers ahead for good. After a few minutes of trading baskets the Raiders were ahead by three points with just under 10 minutes to play and out-scored Kennedy-King 41-18 in the second half. "We started running our half-court trap every once in awhile and we kind of took the other team out of their focus," Bess said. "We started playing pretty good. That was the best half we've played this year." The Raiders allowed two field goals in the final six minutes and zero points in the final 3 minutes and 44 seconds of play. The Raiders also closed out the game with 11 unanswered points. Three Rivers went ahead by 10 with 4 minutes to go after Ludy Kayouloud sank a layup. Kayouloud led Three Rivers with a career-high 27 points and fi ve rebounds over 20 minutes of playing time. He was 8 for 12 shooting and 11 for 11 on free throws. "Ludy just really stepped his game up. The first half, he was about all we had. He would catch the ball in there and beat his man and we did a good job of feeding him," Bess said. "We were down five at halftime, we would have been down 20 if he hadn't been playing as well and then the second half, several of them got to playing pretty well." Kayouloud, who is second on the Raiders in scoring this season at 13.8 points per game, scored more than double his previous career high of 13 points, which was on Nov. 4. As a freshman, Kayouloud averaged 1.3 points while playing sparingly and didn't score in double figures. Jeffery Porter added 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. "I really thought Porter was key for both these wins," Bess said. "He is kind of our leader." Porter's fi ve offensive rebounds led the Raiders while Deion Dobbins led the team in overall rebounding with eight. The Raiders shot 32.4 percent in the fi rst half and then turned the offense around to shoot 56 percent in the second half. The defense did the same thing and allowed Kennedy-King 56.7 percent shooting in the first half and 25.9 percent in the second half. "We guard the dribble drive Kennedy-King was running and we guarded it quite well. A lot of people will be running that and that was good experience for us," Bess said. Kennedy-King (3-4) also made 2/3 of its 3-pointers in the first half and 22 percent in the second half. Poplar Bluff alum Chris Stocks got his first start for the Raiders and finished with four points and three assists over 14 minutes. Willie Lucas also started and had six points and seven rebounds.
Scott Borkgren-Daily American Republic