HARRISON, Ark. — It was raining 3s in Harrison, Arkansas, Saturday afternoon. Three Rivers knocked down 19 3-pointers against North Arkansas (6-5), including five each from sophomore Tristan Jarrett and Hayden Sprenkel in a 122-86 victory for the Raiders. "We shot the 3 really well," coach Gene Bess said. "I show us hitting 18 out of 30."
Jarrett finished with 27 points 9 rebounds and seven assists, giving him eight straight games with more than 20 points and seven straight with 25 or more. He also finished with his fifth double-double. "He's just pretty much at another level," Bess said. "It's been heartening for us. We didn't really know exactly what we had coming into the season, and he's really been a spark plug for us." Sprenkel's 19 was a season-high for the freshman. "(Sprenkel's shooting) just really lifts us up," Bess said. "It's like putting a dagger in someone's heart. You've got a little lead going and you hit a big 3 like Hayden has been hitting, it's really hard to explain but it really was helpful this afternoon. (North Arkansas) is pretty good." Three Rivers (6-5) began the game in dominant fashion with a 16-4 run out of the gate in a wire-towire victory. Jarrett drew a foul on a shot and knocked down a pair of free throws to start the game, and Sprenkel made it sprinkle with a trey on the next possession to put the Raiders up early. After freshman Jay Hines scored an easy deuce courtesy of a pass from Jarrett, freshman Tallon Fonda took over briefly. "We had a little size advantage on the team we were playing, and we've got some guys who rebound pretty good," Bess said. Fonda drew a foul and split a pair at the charity stripe, but when he missed the second, he got his own rebound and threw down a putback dunk. He added two more on the ensuing possession for a quick five points. "He's probably our most athletic player," Bess said. "He's making progress. He's come a long way since the first part of the season." Just over five minutes into the game, the 3s started dropping for Three Rivers. Jarrett corralled an offensive rebound and dribbled out for a triple. That one wasn't enough as he added another on the next possession when he got down the floor. Sprenkel followed his lead with a shot from well beyond the arc to continue the downpour. Jarrett raised him another 3 on the next possession, and Khalil Johnson came in the game and knocked one down to raise the streak to five straight 3-pointers for Three Rivers. Freshman Austin Parker broke the streak with a lefthanded layup off the glass, but two more 3s by Miganeh Jama made it seven triples on eight made baskets during a 23-10 spurt for the Raiders. The Raiders carried that momentum into a 22-point halftime lead, and the start of the second half wasn't much different. Three Rivers came out of the locker room and poured in three more 3s, picking up right where they left off. Redshirt sophomore Abiodun Ayetimiyi nailed a triple to start the half, and Sprenkel drilled two more from way beyond the arc to give the Raiders a 25-point lead. The Raiders cruised to the finish line for an easy win to finish off their first game in a week.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic