HILLSBORO, Mo. — The Lady Raiders' leading scorer was held scoreless for the first 34 minutes of Wednesday's Region XVI matchup at Jefferson.
Three Rivers still won by 28 points.
In another balanced bout that featured stout defense and fast-paced offense, the Lady Raiders won their 12th straight game with an 83-55 rout of the Lady Vikings.
The win gives the Lady Raiders (19-3, 6-0 Region XVI) a two-game cushion over Mineral Area for the Region XVI lead. Three Rivers currently owns the tiebreaker over Mineral Area after defeating the Cardinals to open region play.
Wednesday was the 12th time this season the Lady Raiders have held an opponent under 60 points. Three Rivers scored 30 points off 25 forced turnovers.
"The defensive intensity and kind of pushing the ball up the court every possession (helped)," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. "Making them run both on defense and on offense, making everything hard on, and that just finally took its toll."
It took Three Rivers a quarter to start building a comfortable lead. Layups from offensive rebounds by An'Nyah Pettus and J'Kayla Fowler to end the opening quarter started to swing the momentum of what was a three-point game at the time. Pettus scored 14 points to lead the Lady Raiders, who finished with six players in double figures.
"We had six people in double figures, so you've got to guard everybody out there," Walk said. "That's what they proved tonight. We're not just a one-dimensional team."
Jordan Little started the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Lady Raiders their first double-digit lead of the game. The Lady Vikings (5-13, 0-4 Region XVI) trimmed the lead down to six points on multiple occasions, but a 6-0 spurt by Three Rivers gave it a 10-point lead to end the first half. The Lady Raiders didn't let their lead sink below 10 for the remainder of the game.
"They were throwing some long diagonal passes, and at halftime we made some adjustments, put a little more pressure on the basketball and changed up kind of what we were doing on the backside," Walk said. "That's actually the first time anybody was able to make that pass. But it all starts with the ball pressure, that they can't see that it's there."
A couple of long passes from Hailee Erickson, the Lady Raiders' leading scorer at 13.5 points per game, helped start the run and create a comfortable cushion for the visitors. Casey Douglas ended the half for the visitors with a layup after she caught a long outlet pass.
Three Rivers kept its lead steady throughout the third quarter before scoring the last three of the frame to take a 13-point lead into the fourth.
Once the final frame got underway, Three Rivers found another gear and turned the game into a rout. Kim Shaw had a hot start to the fourth, helping to push the Lady Raiders to their first 20-point lead of the night with a layup and a triple back-to-back. She scored nine points in the first four minutes of the fourth.
Three Rivers' run reached 19-2 when Erickson stole the ball, drew a foul while dropping home a layup and knocked down the free throw for her first points of the night.
With under two minutes to go in the game, a 3-pointer at the top of the key from Katelyn South gave the Lady Raiders their largest lead of the night at 28 points.
Fowler secured her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive end. Shaw (11), South (12), Little (11) and Hannah Thurmon (10) also eclipsed double figures in scoring for the Lady Raiders.
Next up for Three Rivers, the Lady Raiders will become the first team to play a game in the new Libla Family Sports Complex when it opens Saturday. Three Rivers will tip off against State Fair at 5 p.m. following the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic