Three Rivers is in the driver's seat for the Region XVI tournament.
The 13th-ranked Raiders picked up their second region win against 14th-ranked Moberly Area, 69-54 on Wednesday at the Libla Family Sports Complex and now hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Three Rivers (10-0, 6-0 Region XVI) also has at least one win against each region opponent, with the Raiders playing everyone three times this season.
Moberly Area (10-3, 4-2) was the only region team to play Three Rivers close during the first leg of region games. The Greyhounds lost by three points at their place. Three Rivers beat everyone else by at least 16 points.
"We just have to focus every single day and make sure that we do our job," Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs said. "Being 6-0 in the region puts us in a great spot ... but we literally still have 2/3 of the region games left."
While Three Rivers led wire-to-wire, Moberly Area got as close as one point early in the second half, and then the Raiders put an end to that.
"In the second quarter, we did not follow the scouting report," Wiggs said. "Whenever they cut it to one, we started paying attention to what we were supposed to do on the offensive and defensive end."
It was an 11-point run across 3 1/2 minutes, with Yelder scoring eight straight.
"We just kept going. It's nonstop. We just go, and that boosts our momentum all the way up. That's really all we needed was that spark," Yelder said.
The Raiders continued to build their advantage through the rest of the quarter.
Autumn Dodd made a 3 to put them ahead by 13, Joi Montgomery got two free throws to make it 15, and Chaylea Mosby got a 3 with 20 seconds left that put Three Rivers ahead 50-34 going into the fourth quarter.
Moberly Area was unable to get back within single digits in the fourth quarter.
"Patiently aggressive is what I want. I don't want you to be on your heels, I don't want you to be second-guessing yourself, but I also don't want your head down, running in there and throwing up wild shots," Wiggs said.
Yelder set a new career-high with 27 points on 7 for 13 shooting and 10 for 11 on free throws. She previously scored 26 points in the Region XVI semifinals last year against Mineral Area.
"I feel like I wasn't in my head as much. Then my teammates kept picking me up, so they kind of made me forget about the turnovers I was having. I just kept going," Yelder said.
Mosby got 14, while Dodd and Montgomery each had 10.
Three Rivers got 16 steals and finished plus-12 on points off turnovers. It was also 18 for 21 on free throws, while Moberly Area was 10 for 22.
The Raiders jumped out to a double-digit lead after holding Moberly Area to three points in the first 7 minutes of play.
Yelder drove and scored through a foul on the Raiders' first possession, and Three Rivers continued to play aggressive.
Yelder soon followed with a steal that led to a pair of free throws. Ahniya Melton got another steal and assisted Dodd for a layup that put the Raiders ahead 11-3 after 4 minutes of play, and Moberly Area called a timeout.
After three scoreless minutes, Dodd scored to put the Raiders ahead by 10. On the final possession of the quarter, Yelder got a 3 off an inbounds pass that put the Raiders ahead by 13.
The Three Rivers offense scored just seven points in the second quarter but held its double-digit lead almost throughout.
It wasn't until Bryce Dowell, who had 10 points, banked in a 3 to barely beat the shot clock with 50 seconds left that the Greyhounds got within single digits. Moberly Area got a stop, and B'Aunce Carter scored with 15 seconds left to cut Three Rivers' lead to 27-22 at halftime.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic