The Raiders kept John A. Logan's star player quiet, but the Volunteers picked up the slack.
Three Rivers, which won at John A. Logan, weren't able to complete sweep for the first time since 2013 and lost 71-59 on Monday at the Libla Family Sports Complex in their final game before the Christmas break..
"Tonight, they played harder than we did. We're not quite ready for primetime," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "The easiest thing in the world for me to do is point fingers at this moment. It is always hard to play a really good team right before we go on break. I thought we could turn that around and make it a positive, but it was even worse than I thought it might be."
John A. Logan's Jay Scrubb, the No. 1 ranked NJCAA recruit according to rivals.com and Louisville commitment, had two points in the first half after picking up two quick fouls. With four points and 9 minutes left in the game, Scrubb, who didn't start and played 25 minutes, picked up his third foul and stayed in the game with the Volunteers sitting on a seven-point lead.
He finished with six points in the game and came into the night averaging 22.9 for the season. In their first matchup, Scrubb had 38 points, but the Raiders won 112-109 in overtime.
With Scrubb had a slow night, Eric Boone gave Three Rivers trouble in the second half by consistently driving to the basket. He ended up with a triple-double leading John A. Logan (10-4) in each category with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 38 minutes.
Sydney Curry added 16 points in 8 for 8 shooting. John A. Logan shot 51.6% in the game compared to 34.3% for the Raiders.
"At our level, you have 3-4 bad possessions and let the other team get on a role and you're in trouble. And that's what we did," Bess said.
Three Rivers scored 22 points and shot 29% in the second half.
"We went away from what we were doing in the first half," Hardimon said. "We were driving the ball and just getting in the lane because they couldn't guard us when we were driving the ball."
The Raiders (10-6) jumped out to a seven-point lead in the opening minutes after baskets from Kinyon Hodges, Hardimon, and a rare 3 from Geffrard, who has now made two for the season.
The Raiders were still ahead by eight 4 minutes into the game, but then gave up a 15 point run. Three Rivers was scoreless for 6 minutes as John A. Logan retook the lead, and the reversed their initial deficit, going ahead 20-13.
Hayden Sprenkel ended the Raider drought with a 3 and Three Rivers eventually retook the lead after Dionte Raines made a pair of free throws in the double bonus with less than 3 minutes left in the half.
His free throws were in the middle of a 10 point run by the Raiders, putting them up by five with 1:40 left in the half.
The run featured four points by Raines, all from the free-throw line, and another spot where Hardimon got a putback and drew a charge less than 10 seconds later.
Later on with 2 seconds left on the shot clock, Fallon caught an inbounds pass in the corner and sank a long 2. It was the Raiders' final points of the half and they went into the locker room leading 37-33.
"We needed to get back and guard and we did a pretty good job the first half. We got back and guarded pretty well," Bess said. "You've got to play harder when you aren't scoring that well, but that is not the mentality of our guys."
John A. Logan quickly retook the lead in the second half with Scrubb back in the game and in the process Hodges, one of Three Rivers' point guards, picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench. He would return with 8 minutes left in the game to relieve Raines, who had played a six-minute shift, and Three Rivers down by seven.
The Volunteers pushed the lead to 12, taking their first double-digit lead of the game, after Justin Saddoris rattled in a kickout pass for 3 with 5 minutes left.
Fonda got a steal for a big dunk on the fast break, but with 3:20 left in the game, it didn't provide the needed momentum boost to spark a comeback. Instead the Volunteers stretched their lead to as much as 22 points in the closing minutes.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic