SEDALIA, Mo. — With several key defensive stops, the Three Rivers men's basketball team earned its fourth win of the season by five points or less. The Raiders were down by as much as 18 points in the first half before fighting back to beat State Fair 79- 74 on Sunday. The Raiders are now 4-2 in games decided by five points or less. "I thought our kids regrouped (from Friday)," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said, referencing the Raiders' 128-93 loss to Moberly Area. "We rallied back and we are still in the hunt as far as conference is concerned." State Fair (11-7, 0-1 Region XVI) went ahead by double digits early and Three Rivers (11-8, 1-2) didn't get back within 10 points until Hayden Sprenkel scored with 2 minutes left in the first half. Lydell Geffrard, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, followed that with a jumper to cut the deficit to seven points at halftime. Then, with 12 minutes left in the game, Dionte Raines scored to tie it at 52-all, which also had State Fair calling a timeout. Still tied at 60-all, Three Rivers outscored State Fair 12-5 over the next few minutes, spurred along by Sprenkel who made a 3 and drew a hard charge. The Raiders were ahead by just three points with 27 seconds left and State Fair had the ball. As they had all game, the Roadrunners put the ball in the hands of Damaria Franklin, who finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds, but this time Kinyon Hodges got a steal and was quickly fouled. He made both free throws, putting the Raiders ahead by five with 15 seconds left. Franklin missed at the other end and Raines grabbed the rebound as time expired.
"If we can guard and keep our poise on the offensive end, we'll be all right," Bess said. Tallon Fonda came off the bench to lead the Raiders with 18 points on 7 for 15 shooting. Raines added 11 points off the bench and Austin Parker led the Raiders with eight rebounds off the bench. "Parker did a nice job. He blocked a shot and got a rebound. I keep waiting for him to step up his game. He could be a differencemaker to us," Bess said. Fonda also spent much of the game guarding Franklin, who was 14 for 30 shooting and 4 for 14 on 3-pointers. "Tallon has not been used to getting up on a guy and guarding him and I've seen improvement from him," Bess said. Three Rivers committed a season-low 10 turnovers two days after committing 22 against Moberly Area, and also had 17 assists. The win snaps a three-game losing streak dating back to Dec. 12 and is also Three Rivers' first Region XVI win of the season. The Raiders next host Arkansas State Mid-South at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Libla Family Sports Complex, which will be the Raiders' first home game in nearly a month.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic