Lady Raiders vs. Iowa Western DK Playoff

Friday, March 8, 2019
DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC/Paul Davis

The Lady Raiders are headed to the national tournament for the first time in 15 years. In front of a packed, raucous crowd at the Libla Family Sports Complex, No. 22 Three Rivers pulled away from Iowa Western with tenacious defense and fast-paced play for a 77-59 win in the District K Playoff. The win clinches a berth in the national tournament, which will be held in Lubbock, Texas, from March 18-23. “Words can’t explain it,” Three Rivers coach Jeff Walk said. “I’m so proud of the kids, the tenacity and just the will to win. I felt like in the second quarter, (Iowa Western) was getting tired. I knew it was just a matter of time.” With about a minute and a half left, the reality set in, and Walk started pumping up the crowd and handing out high-fives to the whole bench. Once the clock expired, the Lady Raiders all embraced and the student section stormed the court, elated by the accomplishment. “Honestly, I don’t even know what to think right now,” said Hailee Erickson, who finished with 14 points. “Whenever there was about a minute and 55 seconds on the clock, I almost started getting a little emotional, you know, all the excitement kicking in. This right here is once in a lifetime. I’m excited, and I can’t wait to see what we do down in Texas.” Friday’s win is the 20th in a row for Three Rivers (27-3), which hasn’t lost since Nov. 30. Iowa Western (23-9) had won 15 of its last 16 games, but Three Rivers kept wearing it down throughout the night.