WARTRACE — Even though his team has faced opponents from four states this season — including top teams from Kentucky and Alabama — won two holiday tournaments and owned a 15-game win streak, Moore County girls basketball coach Bruce Slatton warned that the toughest part of the schedule was still in front of the Raiderettes.
After wrapping up a successful stretch during the holidays that included championships in the Gatlinburg-Pittman Smoky Mountain Classic and the South Pittsburg Christmas Tournament, the Raiderettes delved into the meat of their schedule this week.
It’s an important stretch that includes eight District 9-A contests in nine games, and a total of five games on the road.
Slatton proved prophetic Tuesday night, as Moore County fell 46-43 to a solid Cascade team determined to avenge last year’s loss in the district semifinals.
The win by the Lady Champions (11-5 overall, 6-1 District 9-A) snapped the Raiderettes’ win streak that stretched nearly seven weeks and marked Moore County’s first loss since a 49-38 defeat to Page all the way back during Thanksgiving.
It also forged a tie atop the district standings, with Cascade now owning the tiebreaker.
In Wartrace, Moore County (16-4, 6-1) couldn’t hang on to a slim lead in the fourth quarter. Trailing 38-34, the hosts used a 9-5 run to tie the score at 43-all on a lay-up and free throw by Haylee Simpson.
With less than a minute remaining, Kelsey Parker made one of two free throws to give Cascade a 44-43 lead. The Champs, who closed out the game on a 12-5 run, never trailed again.
Haley Edmondson led all scorers with 20 points.
Sarah Raby led Moore County with 17 points, two below her average. Erin Thomas netted eight and Kelsey Camp had seven.
Cascade led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and held a 29-22 halftime lead. Moore County outscored the Lady Champions 12-5 in the third quarter to climb back into the game.
Moore County will look to bounce back on Friday as the Raiderettes host Forrest. Tip off is set for 6 p.m.
By ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)