On back to back nights, Dionte Raines prevented a 3 at the buzzer to secure the Raiders a close win. Raines checked a potential game-trying 3 in the final seconds to beat MSU-West Plains 88-84 on Saturday, then blocked a potential game-winning 3 to beat Southwestern Illinois 79-78 on Sunday. "Critical play, last second play. He was kind of our unsung hero," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "I think the key to our team is we're going to have to be able to play close games. Every team on our schedule is capable of going to the wire with us and vice versa."
SWIC took the lead Sunday with 47 seconds left. The Raiders (9-5) got the ball to Lydell Geffrard, passed to Dominique Hardimon and he scored through a foul but missed the free throw. SWIC (5-5) worked the clock and got the ball to Charles Jones, who came off a staggered screen, but Raines jumped and blocked it. SWIC grabbed the loose ball, airballed a shot from way out and Austin Parker grabbed the rebound for the Raiders as time expired. "Last night was a fabulous, athletic shot block. I haven't seen him jump like that before. He had an injury to his leg. He's a solid player and has played in a good system. He competes," Bess said. "You need to win games like that one last night. We had too many turnovers and stuff like that … You've got to find a way to win when your fundamentals are lacking."
The Three Rivers bench scored 34 points, led by Tallon Fonda who came off the bench for a team-high 18 points on 7 for 10 shooting. "He's capable of just turning it on on the offensive end. As he buys in better on the defensive end, he's a pretty good player," Bess said. Geffrard had 11 points and seven rebounds and Jay Hines had 10 points. "I think that is pretty much the nature of our team," Bess said. "We've got several guys that can play and we've given everybody a chance up to this point. It is one of those situations where we've got different options and sometimes a certain player plays better on certain nights. It is good for us to have the depth that we've got."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic