Beating No. 16 Moberly Area at full strength would have been a tough task. The Raiders, though, had two options for subs while Moberly had 13 players log minutes. With seven active players, including the addition of Kolby Bess, grandson of Three Rivers coach Gene Bess, the Raiders faded as time wore on and lost 103- 74 on Saturday at the Bess Activity Center. "I don't know if Chucky (Wilson) will play anymore. He had some kind of stress fracture or vertebrae (in his back). I don't know about (Keiondre Jefferson's) concussion. I guess that is day-to-day. He got that last Saturday. Willie (Lucas), I don't know where he is. He has some kind of problem in the groin area. I guess those are the three we have any chance of getting back," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "We'll still have enough talent if we can zero in, start focusing and work harder."
In a turnabout from last year's Region XVI championship game when Moberly Area had five players after having its entire bench ejected in the semifinals, the Raiders had the short roster and were able to compete only while their legs were fresh. There were three ties and three lead changes in the first nine minutes, but then the Greyhounds led for the rest of the game and by as much as 31 late. It was the most points the Raiders have given up in a loss this season. They previously allowed 109 points in an 8-point win against West Kentucky. "When we started allowing people to get all the way to the basket, we are not going to compete against anybody doing that. I bet they got 10-12 unmolested layups right down the middle of our defense. I know some of our guys have a little lack of quickness. But to me, I think I can guard that," said the 82-year-old Bess who had knee replacement surgery over the summer. The Raiders didn't fall behind for the first time until six minutes in. Soon after, Aidan Saunders sank a 3 to put Three Rivers ahead by two at the 12-minute mark. It was the last time Moberly Area trailed. The Greyhounds (20-3, 4-0 Region XVI) tied it up immediately after Saunders' bucket and then Jaqualis Matlock added a pair of free throws. It was the beginning of a 18-2 run. Three Rivers (7-13, 0-5) has now played with either seven or eight players in each of their past six games. The Raiders would have had six against the Greyhounds had it not been for Kolby Bess. Against Arkansas Baptist, Wilson took a hard foul and injured his back. He was ruled out later in the week, sparking the addition of Bess, who played 7 minutes Saturday and missed a pair of 3 pointers. "It was a deal where they needed me and I said 'OK, it is family,'" Kolby Bess said. The freshman and Poplar Bluff alum was on the bench Tuesday when Three Rivers was at Arkansas Baptist, but just in case of foul trouble. But with Chucky Wilson hurting his back in that game, his dad and grandpa needed him against a nationally ranked team. "I was like, if you guys get mad at me, it can't roll over to Thanksgiving or Christmas," Kolby Bess told his dad and grandpa when they asked him to join the roster. "I have played for my grandpa and dad, but not in an actual game. They've been teaching me life my whole life. It was fun." Added Gene Bess, "He's a good little guy. He kind of sacrificed to be here and I appreciate him. I love him totally and I'm glad to be on the bench with him." Saunders led the Raiders with 23 points on 10 for 23 shooting. Jeffery Porter added 15 points and nine rebounds. Ludy Kayouloud had 14 points and 14 rebounds and Cameron Maddox got 13 points. Alonzo Verge returned to the Moberly lineup for the first time since Dec. 31. The Greyhounds' leading scorer at more than 20 points per game, Verge finished with 21 points off the bench on 9 for 12 shooting. Billy Thomas led the Greyhounds with 23 points. Dallas Morgan had 21, Randy Miller got 13 and Sean Miller-Moore had 11.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic