POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Three Rivers trailed one time and one time only.
Mineral Area reached the bonus with more than 2 minutes left in the first quarter, and Yasmine Pankey made both to give the Cardinals a one-point lead. It lasted 14 seconds.
Three Rivers immediately went on a 16-point run over more than six minutes and went on to win 70-44 on Saturday during the Alumni Reunion at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
"We got relaxed. We got a pretty good lead, and then we relaxed and stopped doing what we do. Mineral Area is a well-coached team that didn't give up. Next thing we know, they took that lead. The girls responded well," Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs said.
"The big emphasis was crashing the boards. We've got to get stops. Rebounding is one of those things we can't watch others do. If we can get the rebound, that person needs to go get the rebound, and I felt Joi and Chaylea were very, very active on rebounds," Wiggs said.
Mosby got 13 points and 11 rebounds, including six offensive rebounds, while Montgomery had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Three Rivers finished plus-4 on second-chance points.
"For us, it sparks our energy because guards are getting double-doubles," Mosby said. "For the other team, they just have to try to find us and block us out."
Added Montgomery, "Like coach said, we have to (crash the boards). We went into the locker room for halftime, and he said, make sure you (crash the boards). And I just made sure I got there."
Mineral Area was 2 for 22 on 3-pointers. Three Rivers has now allowed four total 3-pointers in their previous three games. The Cardinals shot 27.3% overall while the Raiders shot 35.9%.
Quincy Erickson, averaging 8.7 points for Mineral Area, led the Cardinals with a season-high 19 points.
The 12th-ranked Raiders (13-0, 9-0 Region XVI) now have two wins against all but one Region XVI opponent. Three Rivers will host Crowder on Monday, and with the win, Three Rivers will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against every region opponent, with all teams playing three times this season. Three Rivers can lock up the No. 1 seed for the Region XVI Tournament as soon as March 20 but needs to beat Crowder, Moberly Area and State Fair to get there.
"It is important every year ... as far as getting that first-round bye," Wiggs said. "We are close to locking it up, but we are not there yet."
This season, the Region XVI semifinals and finals will be played at the higher seed. The district final will also be hosted by a Region XVI school.
"We've been working so hard for this. We've had some adversities ... and it would just mean a lot," Mosby said.
Moberly Area, whose two region losses are against Three Rivers, likely needs to beat Three Rivers on Wednesday to have a chance at overtaking the Raiders in the standings.
When Three Rivers previously played at Moberly Area on Feb. 20, the Raiders won 57-54.
Mineral Area (6-10, 4-5) is currently two games behind Crowder for the third seed.
Mosby had half of the Raiders' points during their 16-point first-half burst.
She made a pair of free throws with 90 seconds left in the first quarter and added a second-chance 3 on the Raiders' next possession.
Two minutes into the second quarter, she capped the run with another 3, giving the Raiders a 27-12 lead.
Yelder had four of her 18 points during the run with a free throw and a three-point play.
Mineral Area cut the lead to 10 with three minutes left in the half, and then both teams failed to score until the halftime buzzer.
The Cardinals got the first basket of the second half to get within eight, but the Raiders answered with an 8-point run and led by double-digits the rest of the game.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic