PARK HILLS — The Raiders put this one away almost as soon as it started. Kennedy-King scored the game's first two points, but Three Rivers followed with a 16-0 run to give itself a comfortable lead. The Raiders were never in any real trouble after that point, cruising to an 83-62 win to end its weekend. After giving up a 16-point lead in Friday's loss to Triton, the Raiders came out with a purpose, playing improved defense and matching it with consistent offense. Sophomore Tristan Jarrett continued his role as the driving force of the Three Rivers offense. He earned a double double with 25 points and 12 rebounds to go along with four assists. "We really need him to be able to drive and draw the help and kick out," assistant coach Brian Bess said. "He's been drawing a lot of attention from the other team, and that's been important for us."
Freshman Jay Hines helped the Raiders get off to a strong start with a layup inside for the fi rst points of the game for Three Rivers (3-4). He set the tone for the defense with a helpside swat out of bounds on a driving layup attempt near the baseline from Kennedy-King (0-6). "We helped good. They ran the dribble drive motion, and we helped good and we even helped the helper better," Bess said. "I thought our defense was way better tonight." Jarrett got involved early with a coast-to-coast fi nish with his left hand to put the Raiders ahead, the only lead change of the game. Freshman Tallon Fonda used the glass to score two more inside with a layup courtesy of a pass from Jarrett. "(Fonda) is really athletic," Bess said. "He has a big upside, and I think he's going to be a really good player. It may take a while (and) a little bit of patience on our end." The Raiders got out in transition after a steal, and Austin Parker gathered an alley-oop in the air and banked it in with his right hand. Sophomore Poplar Bluff native Chris Stocks, who was recently dealing with an abdominal injury, announced got into the offensive fl ow by driving and fi nishing a smooth finger roll off an isolation. He followed up with a smooth lefthanded fi nish in transition on the ensuing Three Rivers possession. Jarrett scored the last four of the run with a layup through traffic and two free throws shortly after. Stocks put his abdominal health to the test around the four minute mark when he slid off his defender, got into position and drew a charge on defense. "I think he's been worried about that (injury), and I was surprised that he did that. It was really big, I thought" Bess said. "It sent a strong message to the others, too, about helping your teammates." The Raiders responded to that effort with an 8-2 spurt to end the half leading 34- 19. In the second half, Kennedy-King never pulled within 15 points, while the Raiders put together a complete 40 minutes of steady play. Jarrett gave Three Rivers its fi rst 20-point lead when he went coast-to-coast, stopped on a dime, spun back toward the paint and dropped in a nice layup to put his team up 51-30. The Raiders earned their biggest lead with just a couple of minutes to go in the game. Dickerson nailed a 3 from NBA range above the top of the key, and on the next possession, redshirt sophomore Abiodun Ayetimiyi drained a 3 of his own from the right wing, to make the score 83-60.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic