After falling behind eight points, the Crowder Lady Roughriders clawed their way back in the second quarter to go into halftime only six points against No. 22-ranked Three Rivers on Sophomore Day Saturday at Bob Sneller Gymnasium.
Three Rivers outscored Crowder 32-17 in the third quarter, though, and went on to a 93-73 victory, improving to 24-3 overall and 10-0 Region 16 with 17 consecutive victories since a 82-72 loss to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on the last day of November.
Crowder, meanwhile, heads into the Region 16 Tournament with three straight losses. The Lady ‘Riders finished their regular season 12-18 overall and 3-7 Region 16.
Crowder earned the No. 4 seed and the Lady ‘Riders host State Fair at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
On Saturday against Three Rivers, sophomore Alex Vogt led the way for Crowder with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals, while fellow sophomore Elle Williams had 16 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals coming off the Crowder bench. Fellow sophomores Aubrie Ayers and Maegan Bandimere finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively, Ayers grabbed eight rebounds, and former Neosho High standout and Crowder sophomore Sydney Linny produced five points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 24 minutes played off the bench.
Three Rivers’ seven scorers each reached nine points with no player higher than 17: Hailee Erickson and Jordan Little each had 17 points, Casey Douglas 15 off the bench, Hannah Thurmon 13, Deanay Watson and Kimberley Shaw 11 each, and Katelyn South nine more from the bench.
Watson grabbed nine rebounds, Shaw had five assists and four steals while Little added four assists and four steals, Erickson swatted away three shots, and Three Rivers made 17 steals overall.
If Crowder defeats State Fair on Tuesday, top seed Three Rivers would be the semifinal prize at Lincoln University’s Jason Gym in Jefferson City.
Crowder has finished second in Region 16 the previous two seasons, but a third championship game appearance in a row will be a daunting task for the Lady ‘Riders.
Though, keep in mind that any team can get hot at exactly the right time and make a run.
In the regular season, Crowder and State Fair split their two meetings, Crowder winning 73-69 in Neosho and State Fair winning 78-69 in Sedalia.
In the first meeting, Crowder outscored State Fair 24-11 in the fourth for the comeback victory and the trio of Vogt, Williams, and Kourtney Shipley combined for 45 points. Crowder overcame 26 turnovers.
In the second contest, Crowder outscored State Fair 25-14 in the fourth, but the Lady ‘Riders entered the fourth trailing by 20 points, 64-44. Maia Wright had a monster performance with 17 points and 16 rebounds, Vogt just missed a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds, Bandimere produced 15 points, and Williams finished with nine points as this quartet combined for 60 of the team’s 69.
Will the team who reaches 70 be the team to win this third contest?