PARK HILLS — Being district neighbors, the Mineral Area versus Three Rivers basketball games always carry their own natural hype for basketball fans, and Saturday’s game between the Lady Cardinals and the Lady Raiders did not let fans down.
The two teams exchanged the lead five times in the final four minutes of play with the Lady Cardinals getting the last one for a 76-71 win. Three-point shooting made the difference with the Lady Cardinals making five of their nine attempts in the second half for a total of seven in the game , and Three Rivers connecting on only three all game.
With the Lady Raiders busting out to a 12-2 to start the game, it looked like maybe the Lady Cardinals would be in for another rough night as Fareedah Washington had her way inside the paint. The Lady Cardinals answered back with the next seven points highlighted by a three from Briley Milfeld and a steal by LaShayla Bell that she converted into a basket on the other end.
The Lady Raiders kept their lead between six to 10 points, answering every time that Mineral Area made a run at them in the first half. Two offensive putbacks by Bell shrunk the lead to two at 27-25, but Three Rivers made a 7-2 run to close out the half. Bell scored 10 of her team-leading 19 points in the first half.
Jessica McQuinn put the Lady Cardinals on the comeback trail in the second half. McQuinn drove the lane against the taller Lady Raiders, and made an underhand lay-up which she converted into a three from the free throw line.
Her drive to the basket started a different attack mode for the Lady Cardinals who had tried mostly perimeter shots in the first half. Bell scored eight points for MAC in the first five minutes with all eight coming from in the paint.
The inside play took its toll on the Lady Raiders, but not as much as their mishandling the basketball. Three Rivers turned the ball over five of their first eight possessions and Mineral Area made their comeback run successful as Bell slipped inside the Three Rivers defense to give the Lady Cardinals their first lead at 44-43 with 12 minutes left in the game.
The Lady Cardinals would go up by a score of 51-43 on a 17-point run finished off by a three from Sarah Eagan. MAC turnovers kept their offense quiet, and Washington once again took control from inside to being the Lady Raiders back on top. Washington led all scorers with 32 points.
Milfeld hit a three to regain the lead and then tacked on another, but Three Rivers continued to reclaim the lead and only two threes by Gretchen Gaskin made MAC’s claim to the lead final as they were able to close things out just a basket or two ahead the rest of the way by making 7-9 free throws.
The Lady Cardinals (11-7) will play at Crowder on Saturday for their next game.
Three Rivers 34 37 – 71
Mineral Area 27 49- 76
Three Rivers – Washington 32, Davis 10, Peet 8, Medlin 7, Smith 7, Woodgeard 4, Mitchell 3. 3-pt. FG – Davis 2, Mitchell.
Mineral Area – Bell 19, McQuinn 19, Milfeld 16, Gaskin 9, Evans 8, Eagan 5. 3-pt. FG – Milfeld 3, Gaskin 2, Eagan, Evans.