Three Rivers ends Dowagiac’s season

Published 8:25 am Friday, March 2, 2018

PAW PAW — It didn’t take long for Three Rivers to seize control of Wednesday night’s Class B girls district basketball showdown with Dowagiac.

About 30 seconds to be exact.

Coach Brent Nate’s youth-laden Chieftains turned the ball over on nine straight possessions to open the game against smothering pressure by Three Rivers, and went on to drop a 50-5 decision at the hands of the Lady Wildcats.

“They’re a good team,” Nate said about Three Rivers. “They are the defending district champs and finished second in our league for a reason. We knew what they were going to do and we were not able to put things together.”

Three Rivers will take a 19-3 overall record into Friday night’s district championship game against Edwardsburg.

Dowagiac was unable to score a single point in either the first or third quarters, trailing 20-0 after eight minutes had elapsed. The Chieftains missed all five of their first-quarter field goal attempts, and was unable to launch a shot of any kind until just less than three minutes remained in the opening quarter.

Three Rivers turned 11 first-quarter turnovers by Dowagiac into 15 points.

Sophomore Haydyn First scored the Chieftains’ first basket of the game with 6:34 remaining in the second quarter, but Three Rivers outscored Dowagiac, 9-0, for the balance of the stanza and led, 32-2 at halftime.

The Lady Wildcats outscored Dowagiac, 15-0, during the third quarter, and invoked a running scoreboard clock with 2:57 remaining in the stanza with a lead of 43-2.

In all, Dowagiac committed 29 turnovers, which Three Rivers turned into 40 points. The Lady Wildcats also outrebounded Dowagiac by a 44-20 margin.

“Give credit to Three Rivers. They play hard, they play fast and that’s a program we want to model ourselves after, so there’s a blueprint for that,” Nate added.

“This is a rock bottom, but we will get better from this, learn from it and come back next year ready to play.”

Three Rivers coach Jason Bingaman was pleased with his team’s effort.

“You don’t plan on games that go that way, but we played real well, defensively,” he said. “The tempo of the game was a little faster than what Dowagiac wanted to play, but that’s when we’re at our best. We were active, defensively, in the half-court early in the game, and stayed that way for the rest of the game.”

First and junior Tania Parker-Wilson each finished with two points, while freshman Jaleana Payne finished with one point.

Tessa Hawkins and Jessica Barnes each scored nine points for Three Rivers, while Kali Heivilin and Erin Brady each finished with eight points.

Diamond Carter scored seven points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for Three Rivers.