PADUCAH, Kentucky — For a moment, West Kentucky CTC took the lead in the second half. In a flash, the Raiders put the game away. Three Rivers used its fastpaced offense for 12 unanswered points to close out West Kentucky 110-100. Ahead 12 at halftime, the Raiders picked up the second half how they ended the first. The Raiders (2-2) forced a turnover on the first possession and Chris Stocks sank a 3 at the other end to make it a 15-point lead. "It was a normal game up through (the first half)," coach Gene Bess said. "We were matching them physically. We were playing as hard as they were. And then, a couple of those stretches in that second half, they really just got to playing harder than us. We had to kind of recuperate and come back at them. "We put them away pretty good there late." Three Rivers, though, picked up seven personal fouls in the first 5 minutes of the second half to put West Kentucky in the bonus, and just a couple minutes later, the Stars were in the double bonus with Three Rivers up by 12. West Kentucky got back within single digits with a little more than 11 minutes remaining.
"On the road, it's tough to battle through all of that because we had a lot of fouls getting called on us," Bess said. "But we had a pretty good idea what to expect when we went in, and I thought we handled it pretty good." Ellington alum Marshon Morrissey scored through a foul a minute later, but missed the free throw to cut Three Rivers' lead to 79-71. The Stars took a one point lead with about 5 minutes remaining, but the Raiders took it right back and then Tristan Jarrett, who led the Raiders with 29 points, came through with a big 3 from the top of the key to put the Raiders ahead 97-91. "(Jarrett) is more experienced than the rest of them. We have a couple sophomores, Willie (Lucas) and (Chris) Stocks, who've played some, but he's more experienced than the rest of them," Bess said. "He did a good job kind of picking us up." Tallon Fonda picked off an entry pass meant for Morrissey at the other end and ran down the court for an easy layup. Fonda then caught a pass under the basket for an easy bucket to rebuild Three Rivers' double-digit lead and give the Raiders 100 points in the game. Willie Lucas drew a foul and finished the 12-point run with a pair of double bonus free throws. The burst took less than 2 minutes. Three Rivers had plenty of scoring balance with five players in double figures. Poplar Bluff alums Willie Lucas and Chris Stocks had 15 and 13 points, respectively. "We hit 14 out of 30 3s, which was good,'' Bess said. "Our rebounding is what was bad. They out-rebounded us about 2 to 1, so that has been kind of the story of our season so far. We've been outrebounded rather drastically." The win was the most points Three Rivers has scored since it played West Kentucky last year on Dec. 2 and won 117-109. With both teams looking to run, shoot early and shoot 3s, Three Rivers and West Kentucky combined for 29 points in the first 5 minutes, with West Kentucky holding a slim 16-13 lead. Right at the 10-minute mark, Fonda threw down a dunk to put the Raiders ahead 27-26. Jarrett sank a 3, Lucas turned a steal into a finger-roll layup, and Jarrett added another layup off a turnover for a nine point run to give Three Rivers a 34-26 lead, and West Kentucky called a timeout. Austin Parker flew high to finish an alley-oop with 7 minutes left to give the Raiders their first double-digit lead. Three Rivers held a comfortable lead for the rest of the half and Stocks sank a long two to put Three Rivers ahead 55-43 at the break. At halftime, 10 different Raiders had already scored. Jarrett had 14 to lead the team and both Fonda and Lucas had nine points.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic