Win No. 1 and counting.
After 27 years as an assistant, Three Rivers coach Brian Bess picked up his first win as head coach as the Raiders beat Illinois Prep 100-67 on Saturday at the Libla Family Sports Complex.
"Moving 18 inches over, there's a lot of challenges to my job. Maybe the pandemic has caused a lot of my challenges, but I'm just telling you there's been a lot of challenges, but it's a fun job. It's a labor of love, or I wouldn't have to do it and I wouldn't want to do it," Bess said. "It's not as easy as it looks from the outside, especially this year."
The run put the Raiders ahead by 15 and they ballooned their advantage to 25 points by the break. Justice Thoma finished a reverse layup in the final minute of the game to give Three Rivers 100 points and also set the final score.
Lamar Wilkerson led Three Rivers with 25 points on 10 for 17 shooting. He was 5 for 9 on 3-pointers and also had six rebounds over 22 minutes.
"He is one of those guys who brings a lot of energy to practice and just fun to be around," Bess said. "He is in the gym a lot, he's a gym rat and he is just fun to coach."
Poplar Bluff alum Domonique Hardimon got 14 points and six rebounds and was 4 for 5 from the field. Brahm Harris got 13 points, three rebounds and three assists and Jonathan Ninkingira came off the bench to get 12 points.
Three Rivers grabbed 16 more rebounds and three more offensive rebounds while shooting 55.4% from the field. The Raiders were plus-10 on points off turnovers, plus-18 on points in the paint, and had eight second-chance points to Illinois Prep's two.
Kevin Jones of Sikeston, who injured his hand in the third game of the year last year and redshirted, made three 3-pointers off the bench and finished with nine points and a steal. Three Rivers' other redshirt freshman, Amadou Fall, started and got six points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Glen Valentine led Illinois Prep with 14 points and five assists. Yacouba Traore had 11 points and Deng Alier got 10.
The Raiders travel to Arkansas Baptist on Monday for the second of four games in eight days, including a road trip to No. 1 ranked John A. Logan, and will return to the Libla Family Sports Complex against Link Year Prep on Feb. 6. The Raiders being their Region XVI schedule soon after when they host State Fair on Feb. 10.
"I liked our effort tonight," Bess said. "It was a good start to the season and we have a big challenge next week. Arkansas Baptist is always a challenge, but them having no fans, I don't know what that is going to be like."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic