After the Moore County boys basketball team rallied from a huge first-period deficit against Middle Tennessee Christian School, it was the Raiders who were on the wrong end of a rally in the fourth quarter.
The visiting Cougars rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final three minutes to steal a 52-51 victory on Friday night. Moore County had a chance to tie or take the lead with two seconds remaining, but J.P. Robinson missed two free throws and MTCS hauled in the rebound.
A quick foul by Moore County put Derrick Spears at the free-throw line at the other end with .8 seconds showing on the clock. When Spears missed both free throws, all Moore County’s Dillon Davis could do was hoist a prayer toward his own goal.
The ball fell well short and the Cougars escaped with a win.
It was a tough loss for a Moore County team that battled back from an early 15-2 deficit. MTCS pulled ahead in the first quarter by scoring on run-outs and easy baskets at the rim. Moore County battled back in the second quarter, finally uncorking a tight rim and getting shots to fall.
Davis went to work in the paint and Moore County picked up its intensity on defense.
Cole Boyce then sank a 15-footer at the halftime buzzer to cut the Cougars’ lead to two points, 24-22, at intermission.
It took only 18 seconds into the second half for Moore County to take the lead. Doran Noble hit a 3-pointer from the baseline to give the Raiders a 25-24 advantage. That was the first of eight straight points from the Moore County sophomore.
Davis then added a bucket as Moore County went ahead 35-30. By the end of the third quarter, 3-pointers by Robinson and Boyce pushed the Raiders out to a 10-point lead, capping a 31-18 Moore County run.
But Middle Tennessee Christian chipped away in the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws by Spears pulled the Cougars to within three points with 1:40 left in the game. Seven seconds later, a Raiders’ turnover led to a Spears lay-in and the lead was down to one.
With 57 seconds remaining, MTCS took its first lead since early in the third quarter. Moore County answered with a driving baseline layup by Robinson, but it was the last time the Raiders would lead.
The Cougars scored on a putback with 35 seconds left, took a 52-51 lead and never trailed again.
Spears led all scorers with 20 points.
The Raiders were led by Davis, who tallied 15 points. Noble added 10, while Robinson and Boyce had seven apiece. Dalton Barrier and Chris Nix scored three each, while Dylon Smith, Blydge Farrar and James Dougherty had two each.
By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor