PARK HILLS – A pair of technical fouls against the Mineral Area women’s basketball team contributed to an evident momentum swing in favor of Three Rivers during the third quarter of a Region 16 game on Saturday.
Head coach Gary Koch received the first technical after standout Holly Forbes was called for her fourth foul with three minutes remaining in the third period.
Forbes’ playing time was limited throughout the contest due to lingering foul trouble, as the Lady Raiders secured a 76-57 victory behind a strong second-half push.
Three Rivers (13-5, 1-0) redeemed itself after falling to Mineral Area (10-4, 0-1) in their past two meetings, including a 72-62 loss in the semifinal round of the region tournament last March.
Alex Kohler put Three Rivers ahead 47-37 by splitting the first set of technical free throws, but Mineral Area suffered another setback less than 20 seconds later.
Starting forward Tyeshia Mitchell remained tangled with Markeia Porter after the whistle while battling for a rebound. But only Mitchell received a technical foul, despite being shoved, following a long discussion between officials.
Kohler again split the resulting foul shots for a 48-37 lead, and finished with 12 points. Teammate Hailee Erickson paced all players with 15 points in the win, including three made shots from the perimeter.
Lakeita Chappel and Porter each recorded 13 points for the Lady Raiders by focusing their attack inside. Sydni Williams added six of her 10 points from the free-throw line.
Mary Katherine Tucker banked in a 3-pointer for her lone basket to bring Mineral Area within 52-41 with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter. However, Three Rivers frequently capitalized on transition opportunities generated off Mineral Area turnovers.
Allie Golden dribbled the length of the floor in the last four seconds of the third quarter, but the Lady Cardinals trailed 57-43 as her layup attempt was released just after the buzzer sounded. Mineral Area was only down 34-27 at halftime, prior to the statement third period by Three Rivers.
Ella Gobald posted a team-high 11 points coming off the bench for the Lady Cardinals. Golden ended with eight points and seven rebounds.
Makenzy Smith scored half of her eight points from the foul line, and added five rebounds for Mineral Area. Holly Forbes led the team with eight rebounds, and totaled six points.
The Lady Raiders concentrated their attack down low early to generate a slim lead. Mineral Area also tried going into the post, but its forced entry passes resulted in a 7-0 Three Rivers run off turnovers late in the first quarter.
Briar Johnson snapped the hot stretch with her first basket, then Mitchell recorded her first points on a layup during the final two minutes of the period to bring the Lady Cardinals within 15-12.
Three Rivers committed eight turnovers in the opening period, but recovered well on defense to maintain an edge.
Mineral Area was held scoreless for the first two minutes of the second quarter until Golden assisted Forbes on a layup.
Three Rivers applied full-court pressure to force mistakes, and achieved a 27-17 advantage on a Porter transition finish.
The Lady Cardinals closed out the half on an 8-0 run, capped off by Golden putting back her own miss as time expired.
The Lady Raiders widened their lead during the fourth quarter by capitalizing at the line. Mitchell fouled out less than a minute into the period, and Porter split the following foul shots for a 59-43 lead.
Mineral Area reduced its turnover frequency in attempt to narrow the gap, but dominant rebounding and effective slashing by Three Rivers spurred an 11-0 run over the final four minutes.
Olivia White contributed seven points and two blocks, while Madison Reynolds had seven points with four assists for the Lady Cardinals.
Mineral Area will travel to Poplar Bluff, Mo. for a rematch against Three Rivers on Saturday, Feb. 17.