The Lady Raiders caught fire in the third quarter and took control in their Region XVI opener against Mineral Area.
Three Rivers (12-3) stormed out of the locker room and went on an 18-2 run to start to seize the momentum on the way to a 74-67 win against the Cardinals (12-4).
Hailee Erickson caught fire in the third, knocking down four 3-pointers to lead the Lady Raiders and finish with a season-high 30 points on an 8 for 12 clip from downtown for the game.
"Keep going to the well," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. "She got those shots in rhythm on offense coming down the floor. She's one of the best shooters in the region. She had 30 and was 8-of-12 from 3. That's a pretty good clip. That's awesome. Nobody else in double figures, but once you get in region play you kind of rely on your sophomores."
Hannah Thurmon started the run with a layup before Erickson's first 3-pointer gave the Lady Raiders their largest lead since 5-0 in the first quarter.
Jordan Little drove the baseline for another layup, and Erickson buried another trey as everything started to go right for Three Rivers. Little got back involved with a 3 that took a high bounce off the rim and dropped in.
Erickson went unconscious from the floor, connecting on eight straight attempts without a miss, including 14 straight points for the Lady Raiders in the third and fourth quarters as part of a personal 14-4 run. Defensively, she stepped up and drew two charges, contributing on both sides of the ball.
"Honestly, I felt like if I wanted to throw anything up, hook shot, anything, no matter what I threw up, it was going in," Erickson said. "But honestly, it's just my teammates just keeping me going and keeping me confident whether I'm making or missing, telling me to keep shooting."
As Erickson led the charge and everything went right for the Lady Raiders, they started to force Cardinal turnovers and brought the defensive energy in the second half, overcoming some slow points in the first half.
Mineral Area came storming back, though, erasing what was once a 20-point deficit with a 14-0 run in the closing minutes. Masyn McWilliams gave the Cardinals a big lift with a long 3 near the wing. Keanna Williams grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for two more. A few plays later, Williams cut the Lady Raiders' lead to single digits with a 3-point play, getting fouled on a layup. Holly Forbes capped the run with a jumper near the paint that banked in.
Erickson made a huge play to whether the storm, dropping in a floater to break the run and put the Lady Raiders back up by eight points.
"How long did we go without scoring, three minutes? We also did that in the first quarter and still scored 74 points, so that's scary," Walk said. "They had a little hand in that defensively, but we missed some shots I think we'll make the more we get into these region games."
In the first half, the Cardinals successfully slowed down the Lady Raiders' offense, but Three Rivers kept them from leading by more than eight points.
Holly Forbes came into the game averaging 16 points and 9.9 rebounds, but the Lady Raiders' defense limited her to eight points and six rebounds with a solid effort as the Lady Raiders quickly bounced back and answered each time they were tested.
Three Rivers will host Dyersburg State at 6 p.m. Monday.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic