Three Rivers spoiled Portage Central’s senior night Tuesday with a 48-40 victory. Although the Wildcats were ahead for nearly the entire contest, the Mustangs kept things competitive, going from behind 12 to behind only two early in the fourth quarter.
Three Rivers scored first and didn’t trail until Kayla Mathieu’s three-pointer just before the first quarter buzzer, which gave Portage Central a 10-9 advantage. The lead was short-lived as the Ladycats outscored the Mustangs 15-6 in the second quarter for a 24-16 halftime lead.
The Wildcats began the third with a 4-0 run for their largest lead of the night, but Portage Central battled back within four by the end of the third, 32-28. The Mustangs had the next bucket and got within two, but no closer. Sophomore Hadley Miller was instrumental for Three Rivers, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter. Miller drained a three and earned a basket-and-one, giving the Wildcats a 40-32 lead midway through the fourth which held through to the end.
“Good win for us against a Portage Central team that has been playing well recently,” said Three Rivers head coach Jason Bingaman. “Once we adjusted a bit to their pressure and got to our spots we were more effective.”
“We had too many lapses defensively by not communicating that allowed some open looks and bad rotations at the defensive end at times though. Proud of how we were able to extend our lead in the fourth quarter and finish. We were also able to hit some big threes at crucial times in the game to give us momentum.”
Miller with 23 points, including an 8-9 mark from the free throw line. As a team, Three Rivers went 6-12 from outside the arc. Three Mustangs finished with seven points each.
Three Rivers improves to 14-3 on the season. Up next is Wolverine Conference play at home Friday with Dowagiac.
Portage Central falls to 10-6. Ahead is the crosstown showdown Friday at Portage Northern.
THREE RIVERS SCORING: Hadley Miller 23, Tessa Hawkins 9, Kali Heivilin 8, Izzy Taylor 6, Alaina Abnet 2.
PORTAGE CENTRAL SCORING: Josie Muffley 7, Kaitlyn Brannstrom 7, Maizie Brown 7, Kayla Mathieu 5, Abby Long 5, Reagan Hoff 5, Jessica Roth 2, Annemarie Stacey 2.