POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Myia Yelder didn't disappoint her young fans Saturday.
With a local elementary AAU team in the stands, also named the Lady Raiders and wearing their black and gold jerseys, Yelder got 11 points in the first quarter as Three Rivers beat Jefferson 103-53 at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
Yelder finished with 13 points, and the Raiders are now one win away from an undefeated regular season.
"I think I was just attacking because I couldn't throw it in the ocean, but I could get to the basket," Yelder said.
Three Rivers' lone remaining home game is 6 p.m. Wednesday against Crowder.
The 10th-ranked Raiders are one of three undefeated teams remaining in the top-25 after 23rd-ranked Miles lost on Thursday. Jones and Casper, ranked first and third, are the other two.
Hya Haywood more than doubled her scoring average with a season-high 22 points on 9 for 17 shooting. Averaging 10.7 points, Haywood also got five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Haywood has been particularly effective against Jefferson, with 21 points in their previous meeting and 15 on Feb. 27 for three of her 10 games in double figures.
"Whenever you have all the weapons that we have, and as well as we attack, there's going to be some people that are open," Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs said. "I feel like she did a good job tonight of knocking down shots when she had the opportunities."
Ten of the Raiders' 11 players played at least 12 minutes, and everyone scored.
"It's been a long season, but a short season with a lot of games in a short period of time," Wiggs said. "I think it shows how strong the team is when you can have balanced minutes and continue to get production."
Opponents have shot 18% on 3-pointers in March, and the Raiders have risen to No. 1 in the country in opponents' 3-point percentage (20.6%).
"We do a great job of guarding the 3-point line even though we play a zone," Wiggs said. "We do a great job of making people play a little faster than what they want to."
Jefferson was 2 for 8 on Saturday, and in three games, the Vikings were 7 for 36 (19.4%) against Three Rivers.
Three Rivers, second in the country in steals per game, got 22 steals for 32 points off turnovers. The constant driving to the basket also contributed to 60 points in the paint.
"We did a great job of not settling for 3s," Wiggs said. "We did a great job tonight, especially in the first half, of forcing them into turnovers and converting them."
The Raiders shot 47% from the field and 24% on 3-pointers while finishing with 17 assists.
The 10th-ranked Raiders (18-0, 14-0 Region XVI) started quietly against Jefferson (6-15, 3-11) with one field goal through the first 3 1/2 minutes of play. Yelder and Melton got a pair of free throw along the way to help the Raiders to a 7-0 lead.
Three Rivers then forced several turnovers, with Yelder getting three of the team's next four field goals.
With under 5 seconds left in the quarter, she got the ball at the top of the key and made a buzzer-beating 3 to put Three Rivers ahead by 25-13.
Jefferson got as close as seven points in the second quarter, but Three Rivers' offense didn't stay quiet for long.
Haywood got back-to-back baskets, and her bank shot put the Raiders ahead by 15 midway through the quarter. Abby Turner pushed the lead to more than 20 with a three-point play in the final minute, and the Raiders were up by 21 at the break. The Raiders nearly doubled their advantage in the third quarter and led 82-43 heading into the fourth.
"I just feel like we got in the groove in the second half, and things just started going our way," Yelder said.
Kierra Thornton brought a loud yell from the younger Lady Raiders watching in the stands with a layup to give the Raiders 100 points.
Mar Thomas led Jefferson with 11 points and six rebounds.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic