Three Rivers will face Jefferson in the Region XVI semifinals after the fifth-seeded Vikings beat fourth-seeded Mineral Area on Tuesday.
“We have to make sure we’re ready to go,” Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs said. “We have to make sure we rebound, match their energy. We have to limit them to one shot.”
As the higher seed, the Raiders will host at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
Should Three Rivers win, it will also host the championship at 7 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Moberly Area and Crowder.
In three games against Jefferson, the Raiders have won by at least 34 points. Wiggs emphasized that Jefferson rebounded well against Mineral Area on Tuesday.
“They played extremely hard,” Wiggs said. “I thought they did a good job of limiting Mineral Area to one shot. They impressed me on the defensive end and rebounding.”
After sitting out multiple players in their season-finale, Three Rivers is expected to have everyone available for the semifinal, including guard Karlee Holland, who made her season debut in the season-finale after recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Raiders beat Jefferson by 60 points in February, then by 34 in Hillsboro two weeks later. In the final matchup on March 27, the Raiders cruised to win 103-53.
Jefferson has made seven total 3s against the Raiders, including a 1 for 16 effort in the Vikings’ lone home game against Three Rivers.
Mar Tomas is the only Viking to make two 3s against Three Rivers.
She led Jefferson with 11 points on March 27 after going 4 for 9 from the field and was the only Viking in double figures.
The Raiders didn’t allow a double-digit scorer in the first meeting, and in the rematch, Jayrissa Grayson was 6 for 12 for 13 points to lead the team. Laila Mcneal also got 10 points after shooting 3 for 10 from the field and 4 for 4 on free throws.
Grayson then shot 25% from the field in the finale.
Three Rivers’ Hya Haywood has been particularly good against the Vikings.
She scored 15, 21 and 22 against the Vikings. Her 22-point effort was a season-high for the freshman guard. She finished 9 for 17 from the field and 4 for 8 on 3-pointers to go with five rebounds, four of which were offensive rebounds.
Myia Yelder has also scored in double figures in all three games.
“Jefferson has mixed it up against us on the defensive end the past few games,” Wiggs said. “I think (Myia and Hya) have done a great job of staying aggressive and knocking down open shots.”
Jefferson has committed at least 26 turnovers each time with Three Rivers grabbing at least 22 steals.
Three Rivers has also shot at least 10% better than Jefferson from the field and at least 42% overall in each game.
The Raiders want to run and press, get a lot of steals for a lot of layups and a lot of 3s. The fast-paced games favor Three Rivers’ deep bench.
The undefeated Raiders lead the nation in opponents’ 3-point percentage (20.6%) and rank in the top five in opponents’ field goal percentage (31%), points allowed (50.5), steals (17.7), 3-point attempts (33.1), 3-pointers made (10.1), field goal attempts (30.5), and points (84.9).
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic