PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – When seemingly every shot is a contested one, this is the end result.
Cannon County was fortunate to escape with a 24-22 win over fellow Tennessee school Moore County in the girls’ championship game at the Marlin Christmas Classic at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach, Fla., last week.
The Lionettes carried a 14-11 lead into the final quarter and thwarted Moore County’s best efforts to steal a victory late.
Autumn King made a pair of free throws with just over two minutes left in the contest to give Cannon County a 24-20 lead. The Raiderettes halved that gap with Makayla Ray’s two free throws with 1:51 remaining. Moore County eventually got the ball back with 19 seconds left, but freshman Katie Thomas misfired on a three-point attempt with 3 seconds on the clock.
King, the only player in the game to score in double figures, finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Lionettes, who forced 20 turnovers to counter their subpar shooting performance.
Both teams made 20 percent of their field-goal attempts. Cannon County made only 8 of 40 shots from the field, including 1 for 13 on shots beyond the arc, and Moore County was just 5 for 25.
MCHS freshman Kursten Hawkins was held well below her regular total after averaging 25 points per game in Moore County’s first two victories in Florida.
Moore Co 36, University School 27
On Tuesday evening, Moore County used a 25-point effort from Kursten Hawkins to dispatch of University School of Nashville 36-27.
Moore County missed enough free throws to allow the Lady Tigers to stay in the contest, but, conversely made just enough late in the game to keep University School at bay. The win puts MCHS in the championship game of the Marlin Christmas Classic, where they will face yet another home-state foe.
Tennessee’s Cannon County High School topped Archbishop (Fla.) on Tuesday night to advance to Wednesday’s finals. The Raiderettes and the Lady Lions are scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve for the tournament title.
Moore County 57, J.R. Arnold 36
The Moore County Raiderettes earned a 57-36 victory over host J.R. Arnold High School in the opening round of the Marlins Christmas Classic on Dec. 29 in Panama City, Fla.
Monday’s tournament opener went well for the Raiderettes (11-4), who had to concentrate on slowing down Arnold’s Jazlin Jones.
Jones, who poured in 38 points in a win over South Walton (Fla.) just three days before Christmas, did score a game-high 29 points against Moore County. But she scored 14 of those in the fourth quarter after Moore County had already built a 47-32 lead.
While Jones was en route to scoring all but seven of her team’s points, MCHS freshman Kursten Hawkins was on her way to a 25-point effort to lead the Raiderettes. Hawkins scored 10 in the first period as Moore County went out to an 18-11 lead. Hawkins had 18 at intermission and the Raiderettes led the Marlins 32-18.
—JASON SHOOT and DUSTIN KENT, The Panama City News Herald