Whether at home or on the road, the Lady Raiders twice have been too much for John A. Logan to handle this season. After a 93-74 win at John A. Logan on Nov. 17, the Lady Raiders throttled the Lady Volunteers even worse with an 87-57 win Tuesday at the Bess Activity Center.
The Lady Raiders were balanced offensively with every player in uniform scoring at least a point. Freshman Katelyn South led all scorers with a season-high 27 points, six steals, five rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes in her most complete game of the season so far. "(South) has had a couple in the 20s, but tonight, she shot the ball really well," Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk. "She's got active hands; she can shoot the ball; she can make free throws. It was just a great performance." South didn't see her performance coming. Her shots weren't falling in the pregame warmups, but she found her groove at the perfect time. "In warmups, my shot was completely off and I was getting so mad, but I don't know, I guess it worked out," South said. Freshman Jordan Little knocked down four triples on her way to 17 points and fi ve assists. The common theme in Three Rivers' successful games has been defensive tenacity. The Lady Raiders brought that on Tuesday as the full-court press forced turnovers and allowed the hosts to run in transition and get easy layups. Little showed a perfect example of that tenacious style of play in the third quarter when she deflected two passes and got on the ground for a loose ball less than a minute into the half. "Effort wins ballgames. That's not changed since elementary, junior high, high school, college, or even pro," Walk said. "If you put forth effort, good things will happen to you. They understand that, and they're going to sacrifi ce little bangs and bruises, you know, getting on the fl oor just for the team. That's great to see." South had a knack for finding the ball all game. In the third quarter after a missed free throw, she snuck up behind a much bigger ZaKyra Stallworth and ripped the ball right from her hands and dished it to Lana Reed for a layup. "Coach yells at me quite a bit to get up and stay up, so that kind of keeps me motivated to stay up on defense and it helps me get more steals when I'm up," South said. The Lady Raiders scored the fi rst eight points of the game and never looked back in the wire-to-wire win. Freshman Hannah Thurmon scored the fi rst two points of the game, and South pushed the lead to double digits almost immediately with a layup off of an assist from sophomore Hailee Erickson after freshman J'Kayla Fowler came up with a steal, pushing the score to 13-2. South went on a personal 7-0 run with a steal and score in the backcourt and a trey in transition on the next possession. Thurmon fi nished with eight points, 10 rebounds and fi ve assists in a wellrounded performance. "I know how to get other people open, and getting a rebound provides more opportunities for my teammates," Thurmon said. "I have to get in there and get it done on the inside if the shots aren't falling on the outside." The Lady Raiders' defense was so consistent it held the Lady Volunteers to 15 points in the fi rst half. "It was just a great defensive effort," Walk said. "We held them to 15 points at half. That's pretty good defense. Granted, we didn't score enough points for me, but yet, 15 points at the half, that's pretty tough." Three Rivers maintained a consistent lead all the way through the second half until a 15-0 run in the fourth put them ahead by over 30 points. South started the run with a pull-up 3-pointer to stretch the lead above 20. Another steal and score from the Twin Rivers alum added two more, and Little scored got a layup and a foul on a fast break on the next possession. South added back-to-back 3s before Kim Shaw finished the burst with a layup from Little on a four-on-one fast break. The win is the fifth by 30 or more points for Three Rivers this season, and all but one of its wins have been by 20 or more. The Lady Raiders will travel to Crowder College to open the Crowder Classic against Lyon College JV at 5 p.m. Friday.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic