It's been two months and counting since Three Rivers lost. The Lady Raiders doubled up Dyersburg State's scoring throughout the first half to pull away and win 96-61 on Monday at the Bess Activity Center. The Lady Raiders have now won six in a row dating back to November. Their last loss was to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Nov. 30. "We just keep learning from our wins. Not every game is perfect. We have things every game we have to work on," Three Rivers' Hailee Erickson said. From a 4-2 lead, to 8-4, to 18-9, and eventually 46-27 at halftime, the Lady Raiders never allowed the Lady Eagles any momentum. "We ran pretty much 5-out tonight and we had kids stepped up and made shots," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. Dyersburg's biggest run against Three Rivers' full court pressure was four points late in the second quarter. It was the only time the Lady Eagles (10-6) scored unanswered buckets in the first half. "We took advantage of our quickness tonight, and just communicating and getting together as a team," Three Rivers' Deanay Watson said.
Neither team scored a point in the final 3 1/2 minutes of the first quarter, but Three Rivers (13-3) burst into the second. Katelyn South, who finished with 14 points and four assists, sank a 3 on Three Rivers' first possession of the second quarter and Erickson, who led Three Rivers with 19 points, followed with another. Ahead by 14 with eight minutes left in the half, Three Rivers put together a nine point run, its biggest of the first half. "Just getting up and getting pressure, making them feel panicked and rushed and make passes they don't want to pass," Erickson said. Hannah Thurmon started it off with a spin move on the block that knocked down her defender. After Watson made a free throw, Jordan Little drove left and down the lane for a layup, and J'Kayla Fowler finished a runout with a layup about 25 seconds later. Not done, South drove for another layup to finish the run and put Three Rivers ahead 41-18, its biggest lead of the first half. Three Rivers earned a new largest lead stat early in the second half and pushed its lead to 30 points after Fowler stole and inbounds pass, was fouled on a missed layup, and swished the backend free throw midway through the third quarter. Three Rivers eventually backed out of its press in the fourth quarter and led by as much as 36 in the game. Four Lady Raiders finished in double figures. Along with Erickson (19 points) and South (14 points), Watson earned her sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds on 6 for 9 shooting, and Jordan Little finished with 11 points. "It means a lot," Watson said of her six double-doubles in 16 games. "I was a redshirt last year, so coming in and doing this for me and for our team, to work to get us to the national tournament, it means a lot." Three Rivers forced 30 turnovers and had 27 points off turnovers to go with a plus 18 rebounding advantage and three extra secondchance points. Both teams made seven 3-pointers, but Three Rivers attempted 10 fewer and finished 39 percent on 3-pointers while Dyersburg was 25 percent. Three Rivers outscored Dyersburg by at least nine points in each of the first three quarters while it was pressing. After pulling out of the press in the fourth, Dyersburg scored 21 points to Three Rivers' 20. The Lady Raiders outscored Dyersburg 30-13 in the third quarter to take their 36-point lead going into the fourth. "We were trying to work on some stuff in the fourth quarter," Walk said. "There is going to be a team somewhere down there we won't be able to press and we have to work on our halfcourt defense. I'm hoping that team is in the tournament somewhere, because we can flat guard you when we want to." Miyah Ursery led the Lady Eagles with 12 points and was Dyersburg's only player in double figures. Three Rivers next plays at 5:30 p.m. Friday at State Fair, followed by a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Moberly Area. "We're focused for it," Watson said. "Everyone is focused, we're ready to take it on and we're ready to battle."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic