Three Rivers couldn't make a single thing for nearly 5 minutes.
Every shot and even a pair of free throws missed early for the Raiders, but they kept shooting and rolled to an 87-40 win over St. Louis CC on Tuesday at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
"That's why you come and play every game," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said.
Despite the early shooting troubles, the Raiders were only down 4-0, the Chaylea Mosby swished a 3 with 5 minutes left in the first quarter.
"We overcame it. Not scoring the first 5 minutes was not really that big of a deal. We just kept playing and kept going," Three Rivers' Kalyssa Hollis said.
It was the beginning of a 10-point run for the Raiders, who would finish with 16 points in the first quarter and lead 45-20 at halftime.
Three Rivers allowed one field goal over the final 5 minutes of the first quarter and was up by more than 30 points before St. Louis finished the half with seven unanswered points.
Jamiyah Thomas finished with a season-high 16 points. Mosby led the Raiders with 17 after scoring a season-high 31 points Saturday against State Fair. Deanay Watson added 13 points and An'Nyah Pettus had 12 rebounds.
Three Rivers got 13 offensive rebounds, one more than St. Louis, but was plus-29 overall for rebounds.
Three Rivers was also 19 for 28 on free throws, plus-21 on points off turnovers plus-28 on points in the paint and plus-47 on points off the bench.
"Good overall effort," Walk said. "Free throws are getting better and better as time goes on so that just gives you more opportunities to put the ball in the basket."
Forty points are the third-fewest the Raiders have allowed this season. They previously gave up 28 points in two separate wins against Lindenwood-Belleville JV. Three Rivers also hasn't allowed 75 points to an opponent since it beat Mineral Area 96-92 on Jan. 4.
St. Louis shot 20.6% from the field.
Tuesday marked the eighth straight win for the Raiders, who are ranked 25th in the most recent poll to crack the top-25 for the first time since Nov. 18.
"I'm sure we've got a bullseye on our backs because there's a couple of teams in the region who might feel like they deserve it a little bit more," Walk said.
Three Rivers was ranked 19th in the preseason but dropped out of the rankings after November losses to Wabash Valley and Mineral Area. Wabash Valley is currently ranked 15th while Mineral Area is not receiving votes. Three Rivers also lost to Wallace State, making it 0-2 against ranked teams this season, but recently beat Moberly Area, which is earning votes but is not ranked, by 29 points.
Moberly Area was the most recent team to beat Three Rivers after it earned 55 free-throw attempts during a 90-74 win on Jan. 10 at Moberly.
Three Rivers next travels to Jefferson on Saturday for its final road Region XVI game of the season and will next play at home when it hoses Mineral Area on Feb. 15.
"As long as we play together the rest of the season, we can advance through regionals, if not nationals," Hollis said. "We just need to stay together and communicating is the key."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic