POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Crowder got one field goal in the first quarter. One.
Three Rivers' recent string of defensive showcases reached new heights Monday in an 82-48 blowout Monday at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
"We were forcing them into turnovers, and I felt like we were converting off those turnovers really well in the first half, but also a great job of making an extra pass, of finding the open shooter and taking good shots," Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs said. "Really proud of the kids of the defensive intensity and making our defense convert to offense.
In the first half, Crowder shot 18.2% and was 0 for 13 on 3-pointers. The only starter to make more than one field goal in the game was Fiona Wilson, who had 18 points to lead the team. Jonisha Rolle also had 18 points off the bench.
The Raiders were plus-19 on points off turnovers and led by as much as 48 points.
"That's what we do to teams," Three Rivers' Myia Yelder said.
Three Rivers (14-0, 10-0 Region XVI), ranked 11th in the country, was pitching a shutout for the first six minutes of the game. The Raiders were up 15-0 when Crowder finally got on the scoreboard with a free throw in the bonus.
Rolle got Crowder's first field goal with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
"I didn't even look at the scoreboard," Yelder said. "We just stayed disciplined and didn't gamble as much. It just came to us."
Three Rivers led 27-3 after 10 minutes and 51-5 with 2 minutes left in the half when the Roughriders cobbled together seven points in the final 2 minutes to trail by 45 points at halftime.
"It felt good. We finally got into a rhythm and kept moving, never getting tired, never letting up. We just kept pushing it," Three Rivers' Jamiyah Thomas said.
The Raiders eased back in the second half and worked on some things as everyone played at least 8 minutes. Crowder shot 14% better in the second half. The Raiders shot 50% in the first half and 22.2% in the second.
"We are used to going, going, going, and keeping the tempo fast-paced. It's hard to slow it down like that," Wiggs said.
An opponent has shot better than 40% against the Raiders only twice this season. State Fair shot 41.9% and still lost by 36 points.
Moberly Area shot 40.4%, nearly 9% better than the Raiders, and lost by 15 primarily due to free throws and points off turnovers.
Heading into Monday's game, the Raiders were second in the nation in opponents' field goal percentage (29.8), opponents' 3-point percentage (20.7) and steals per game (19.8), while also ranking fourth in points per game (86.0).
Wednesday's game at Moberly Area is likely Three Rivers' most difficult for the remainder of the regular season.
When the Greyhounds hosted the Raiders on Feb. 20, Three Rivers won 57-54. It was the Raiders' lowest-scoring game of the season, and their only win by fewer than 10 points.
Three Rivers can clinch the top seed in the Region XVI tournament with a win Wednesday and then at home Saturday against State Fair.
The higher seed will host all tournament games this season, and the Region XVI winner will also host this year's district playoff.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic