MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After more than three weeks off, Three Rivers was back in action Friday and looking like the same team that posted nine wins in its first 12 games, aside from two additions. Freshman An'Nayah Pettus made her collegiate debut after missing the team's first dozen games with a wrist injury, and redshirt sophomore Casey Douglas returned from a foot injury that kept her out for nine games. Pettus posted a double double in her first collegiate game, scoring 10 points on 5 for 7 from the field and grabbing 13 rebounds in 18 minutes. "She just dominated the glass, came back with 10 points and 13 rebounds," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. "That just takes a load off other people. Now, one of our kids inside get winded or get in foul trouble, we've got somebody that can go in and get it." Jordan Little, Deanay Watson and J'Kayla Fowler were their usual selves, helping Three Rivers get on a game-clinching run in the third quarter to put away Lewis and Clark for an 85-68 win. Balance was key for the Lady Raiders (10-3), who finished the game with five players in double figures, led by Fowler's 18 in 22 minutes off the bench. Having its full rotation back is a big benefit for Three Rivers with region play starting Jan. 5. "It's just going to make us better all the way around. I mean, the kids can just go as hard as they can go and play harder than the other team," Walk said. Three Rivers put on a dominating performance on the glass, finishing plus21 with a 51-30 edge. The Lady Raiders started strong in the first half, steadily building a 13-point lead through minutes. In the third quarter, that 13-point lead shrank down to seven as Lewis and Clark (10-2) had momentum on its side thanks to six points from Alexus Williams and four from Jocelyn Anderson. Williams finished with a game-high 22 points. Three Rivers took a couple of timeouts in the third quarter to try to figure out how to stem the tide, and Watson, Little and Fowler all took turns briefly taking over the scoring load on offense to solve that problem. The Lady Raiders went 18 for 21 from the freethrow line for an 85.7 percent performance, large improvement over their 62.5 percent mark entering the game. Lewis and Clark cut the Three Rivers lead down to 13 points near the end of the fourth quarter, but the Lady Raiders answered every challenge they were dealt in the game.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic