DeNayia Holmes rescued Three Rivers from near disaster at the end of regulation, and then the Lady Raiders escaped a pair of open shots late in overtime to sweep Mineral Area for the first time in four years. With the 84-82 overtime win, the Lady Raiders overtook Mineral Area in the Region XVI standings for third place and can't finish worse than fourth. It is a longshot but still a possibility for the Lady Raiders to be as high as second. "I felt like the kids composure and their will to win was going to get us through," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. "We had our worst three practices of the year (before Saturday). A sophomore came up to me during shootaround and said, 'Hey, we're ready.'" Three Rivers (19-10, 5-4 Region XVI) last swept Mineral Area in the regular season in 2013-14. "I told them after the win up there, that one was going to be huge. I felt like if we could sweep them, I'd be pretty confident about our direction," Walk said.
Down by as much as 12 early in the second half, the Lady Raiders went to a fullcourt, man-to-man press early in the fourth quarter that gave Mineral Area trouble. After a steal early in the fourth, Holmes was fouled and her free throws got Three Rivers within two. A couple minutes later, Alex Kohler scored to tie the game at 66-all, then poked the ball loose near halfcourt, got it back and hit a free throw to give Three Rivers its fi rst lead of the second half. The Cardinals (15-9, 4-4) sank a 3 and added a free throw to go up by four and held that lead as the clock ticked past the one minute mark. Mineral Area's Allie Golden was called for a foul on Lakeita Chappel when they both went after a loose ball and she made one. After a timeout, Mineral Area got the inbounds near halfcourt and was called for a 5-second violation. After a Three Rivers timeout, Chappel caught the inbounds under the basket for an easy bucket to get within a point with under 30 seconds left, and the Lady Raiders quickly fouled 48.6 percent free-throw shooter Holly Forbes, who missed both. But Markeia Porter was called for a foul on the rebound. "That one almost hurt us," Walk said. That put Golden on the line, and she made one. At the other end, Kohler drove and drew a fifth foul against Mineral Area's third leading scorer, Ella Gobald, and then made both free throws to tie the game with 15 seconds left. Mineral Area set up its offense, reset it, and got the ball to Forbes down low. She missed the turnaround shot but Chappel was called for a foul on the rebound, putting Forbes on the line with 4.7 seconds left. She missed the first, and with the crowd noise at its loudest, her second was perfect. Three Rivers then threw the inbounds pass out of bounds, and Chappel fouled Forbes before the Cardinals could inbound the ball. Still with 4.7 seconds on the clock, Forbes missed the first and made the second, and Holmes raced up court to sink the game tying layup with 0.2 seconds to spare. "I told them before, whoever gets it and go shoot a layup. The Red Sea will part. She's quick enough that she can get there," Walk said. "I think our kids' conditioning was a big factor down the stretch for us." With Three Rivers up by two and under a minute left in overtime, Porter missed a long jumper, and Forbes missed twice at the other end. Three Rivers burned the shot clock and Porter went back to the line with 20 seconds left. She missed both and Chappel got the offensive rebound, but had the ball stripped on the putback. After dueling timeouts, Mineral Area got the ball to Madison Reynolds, who drove and missed an open 5-footer before forcing a jump ball on the rebound with under 5 seconds left. Mineral Area kept possession, and Reynolds drove again from the top of the key and missed a finger roll layup from the same spot as time expired.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic