NEOSHO, Mo. — After 21 games, nobody has scored more points than the Three Rivers women's basketball team in the nation. The Raiders held off a late charge from Crowder to win 84-72 Saturday. "They were putting some points on the board and we were struggling a little bit offensively," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. "It was a ballgame." Their latest win gives them 1,870 points for the season to lead Division I in scoring. Three Rivers is third in points per game at 89.0, a hair behind Vincennes and 5.6 points behind Wabash Valley, which has played two fewer games. Three Rivers (16-5, 3-1 Region XVI) was missing its leading scorer in Deanay Watson who missed her first game of the season Saturday due to an illness. The third year sophomore is averaging 13.8 points and shooting 56.7%, both team highs. In her absence, Twin Rivers alumna and sophomore Katelyn South got her first start as a Raider and finished with 11 points, three assists and two blocks. Myia Yelder nearly matched her season-high with 16 points on 6 for 9 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists. "Her ball pressure got her some easy baskets and got her going offensively," Walk said. "If we can get everyone to rely on playing hard on defense the offense will take care of itself and she has bought in." Point guard Jordan Little added eight points and eight rebounds to give the Three Rivers starting backcourt 35 total points despite Watson's absence. Hannah Thurmon earned her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She also had two assists and three steals. Kalyssa Hollis added 10 points and five rebounds to put four of the five Raider starters in double figures. Hollis continued to show off her shooting range by going 2 for 3 on 3-pointers.
As of a week ago, the 6 foot 2 center was 1 for 9 on 3-pointers for the season, but then she went 3 for 4 against Arkansas State Mid-South and 2 for 3 against Crowder, rocketing her average up to 37.5%. "It was an overall good team effort to help pick up the slack (without Watson)," Walk said. Three Rivers led Crowder (11-9, 0-2) by 15 at halftime and by 11 going into the fourth quarter. Midway through, the Roadrunners got back-to-back turnovers for points the other way and cut Three Rivers' lead to seven. An'Nyah Pettus then scored three straight baskets, including a 3, for the Raiders, putting them back them back ahead by 13. She finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists off the bench. The Three Rivers offense scored more than 20 points in the three of four quarters, but got 14 in the third as shooting went cold and the Raiders started settling for jump shots. "That takes away our biggest attribute on offense and that is our press defense," Walk said. Crowder was 20 for 22 at the free-throw line and forced 26 turnovers. Three Rivers made just two free throws in the game, one by Yelder and one by Jamiyah Thomas, and finished 2 for 9 (22.2%) on free throws. With the win, the Lady Raiders have one more Region XVI road portion of their Region XVI schedule 3-1 and will host everyone, starting with Moberly Area at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic