LUBBOCK, Texas - There's a quote from the movie "Blazing Saddles" that goes, "Oh no, don't do that, don't do that. If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad."
Casper jumped out to an 11-2 lead against Three Rivers in the opening 5 minutes, and Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs called a timeout.
"I told the girls, the great thing about this is there are still 37 minutes to go in the game," Wiggs said. "As soon as they came out from that timeout, we locked down defensively."
The Raiders answered with 14 unanswered points and outscored the Thunderbirds 29-10 over 12 minutes to go ahead by 10 points.
"We don't take getting scored on lightly," Three Rivers' Hya Haywood said.
Casper never got within one possession again as the eighth-seeded Raiders won 68-60 on Tuesday in Lubbock, Texas.
Three Rivers advances to face No. 16 Western Nebraska in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Thursday. Western Nebraska upset top-seeded Jones, which was without its starting point guard due to an ACL tear shortly before the tournament.
With Jones out, the ninth-seeded Raiders are now the only undefeated team in the tournament.
After shooting 13 for 25 from the line Monday, the Raiders started 10 for 12 on free throws and finished 19 for 28.
"We can shoot the ball well. I think yesterday was 13 hours on the bus, first game of the national tournament, a little bit of jitters, a little bit of the first time we had really gotten after it since our last game against Moberly," Wiggs said. "And today, just confidence and stepping up there to the free-throw line. We did a good job of being there for each other, picking each other up, and encouraging each other, and I think that was a big part of it."
Casper fouled in the closing possessions, and the plan partially worked. The Raiders went 2 for 6 from the line on three consecutive trips.
However, those pesky Raiders kept getting offensive rebounds.
"One thing I love about this team is we are going to play hard and fight to the very end, and that's what we were doing," Haywood said. "We were just fighting hard. We knew we had to get the boards in order to secure the win."
Three River was ahead by six with 50 seconds left, a nearly opposite position from where they sat in Monday's game.
Myia Yelder, who finished with 16 points to lead the team, missed both her attempts. She finished 7 for 10 from the line.
But Region XVI Player of the Year Chaylea Mosby grabbed one of her team-leading eight rebounds and was quickly fouled.
Mosby made the first, missed the second, and Hya Haywood grabbed one of her four offensive rebounds.
The Raiders were able to burn nine seconds off the clock before Yelder was fouled again. Like Mosby, she made the first and missed the second.
But once again, Mosby grabbed the offensive rebound and passed to Yelder, who was fouled once again.
"It's all about being tougher than being tougher than the person who is in front of you, and that's something this team does really well," Haywood said.
This time, Yelder was perfect and put the Raiders up by 10 points with 35 seconds left.
Mosby finished with 14 points and three offensive rebounds. She was 4 for 12 shooting and 3 for 10 on 3-pointers.
The bench was huge for Three Rivers once again. In the opening round, no player off the bench finished with a negative plus-minus.
Against Casper, the bench was a collective plus-70, with all five finishing at least plus-8.
Autumn Dodd was plus-20 to lead the team after going 3 for 6 for eight points and a rebound in 15 minutes.
Three Rivers held Casper to 5 for 26 (19.2%) on 3-pointers and 38.5% shooting overall.
While Three Rivers shot 32.3% overall and 26.5% on 3-pointers, the Raiders were plus-six on second-chance points against the taller Thunderbirds, plus-seven in points off turnovers, and plus-13 in points off the bench.
Kobe King-Hawea led Casper with 17 points on 7 for 13 shooting to go with nine rebounds and three assists.
Kammie Ragsdale got 13 points on 6 for 11 shooting. Joseana Vaz finished with 11 rebounds and seven points.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic