The Raiders and Raiderettes traveled to Gatlinburg on Dec 21-23 to participate in the Smoky Mountain Classic tournament. Both teams lost their first two games but finished with a victory before going home to celebrate Christmas. 64 schools from Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, and Mississippi participated in the tourney.
Raiders: The Raiders faced Pigeon Forge, TN in their opening game and lost 58-40. Pigeon Forge is a 2A school who made the short drive to Gatlinburg-Pitman. The Raiders led 28-27 at halftime after a 21-point second quarter surge taking the lead on a 3-point shot by Clay Burnett just before the buzzer. However, the Raiders were only able to score 12 points in the second half while making 11 turnovers. Officiating was a factor in the game as 28 fouls were called in the first half and only 8 in the second. Burnett led the Raiders in scoring with 13. Dylan Knight was a force inside for the Raiders and scored 12 points. Ethan Holt scored 5 points. In the second game, the Raiders lost in overtime 57-54 to Boyd Buchanan, a private school located in Chattanooga. The Raiders led almost the entire game and went into the fourth quarter leading 37-32. In the fourth, the Raiders were outscored 15-10 making several costly turnovers. With 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation and trailing by two points, Coach Hardin called a timeout to setup a final play. The Raiders inbounded to Clay Burnett who weaved through defenders all the way to the basket for a layup to send the game into overtime. The celebration was short-lived as the Raiders were outscored 10-7 in the overtime period. Burnett led the Raiders with 16 points, Andrew Copeland had 13, Dylan Knight had 10, and Nate Love had 8 points. In the final game of the tournament, the Raiders came away with a much needed 53-44 victory over Jackson City, Kentucky. After a slow first quarter, the Raiders took control of the game in the second quarter and led at halftime 27-20. Nate Love had a big night for the Raiders scoring 15 points and aggressively going after the boards. Dylan Scruggs got his first start of the season and scored 11 points. Andrew Copeland had 9 points hitting three 3-pointers. Ben Fletcher, Cayden Smith, and Clay Burnett each hit a 3-pointer in the game.
Raiderettes: The Raiderettes lost their opening game of the Gatlinburg tournament to Creekwood High School Red Hawks 46-53. Creekwood High School is a District 11AA School located in Charlotte TN just outside Dickson. Despite getting called for 3 questionable walks early in the quarter, the Raiderettes ended the Þ rst quarter tied 11- 11. In the second quarter, the Raiderettes only scored 5 points and went into halftime down 24-16. After halftime, the Raiderettes turned up the defensive pressure and went ahead 34-32. Anna Smith and Taylor Holcomb had a big third quarter scoring 6 and 5 points respectively. However, the Raiderettes ran out of steam in the fourth and allowed the Red Hawks to outscore them 21-12. Kinsley Logan led the Raiderettes in scoring with 14 points and Taylor Holcomb had 11. Chrissy Lockhart and Anna Smith both had 6 points. In the second game, the Raiderettes faced Northwest Whitfield Bruins from Tunnel Hill, Georgia. Northwest is a 4A high school about 30 miles south of Chattanooga. The Raiderettes were down 26-32 at halftime but narrowed the score to 39-41 with a strong defensive effort in the third quarter holding the Bruins to 9 points. But the Raiderettes went unable to contain the strong inside play of Jada GrifÞ n who scored 15 points in the fourth and 29 points for the game. Kursten Hawkins led the Raiderettes with 21 points followed by Kinsley Logan with 20. In the Þ nal game, the Raiderettes defeated New Site High School from Booneville, Mississippi 42-32. New Site is a 2A school about 31 miles north of Tupelo, MS. Kinsley Logan led the Raiderettes with 15 The Raiders and Raiderettes will continue play over the holiday break playing in the Summertown Classic on Dec 28-29. Both the girls and boys team play Summertown on Thursday with the girls tipping off at 5:30 and the boys at 7:00. On Friday morning, the girls play Forrest at 10:30 while the boys play Waverly at 11:45