CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. — Playing in arguably the toughest — at the very least the most competitive — girls Class A district in the state, it was clear that there could be a couple of very good teams on the outside looking in by the time the region tournament rolled around.
Both Moore County and Huntland were bounced from the District 9-A tournament on Monday night, leaving both the Raiderettes and the Lady Hornets out of the district semifinals, therefore out of next week’s region tournament. Now Moore County, with a 17-win season, and Huntland, with its 20 victories, are done for the season.
Moore County fell to Eagleville on Monday night 44-39. With the loss, it marks the first time the Raiderettes (17-9) have failed to make it to the region tournament in more than 14 years. The Raiderettes have lost on the road in the opening round of the region tournament the past two seasons.
It also marked the third straight loss to the Lady Eagles (19-7), who advanced to play No. 1 seed Community (23-2) at 6 p.m. on Thursday night.
Moore County looked primed to snap that streak as the teams battled down the stretch. Moore County secured a two-point lead with 3 minutes remaining, going ahead 39-37. The Raiderettes then tried to take the air out of the ball.
Eagleville allowed Moore County to sit on its narrow lead and work the clock inside two minutes before the Lady Eagles defensive intensity picked up. The Raiderettes rarely attacked the basket, and in a physical game where even hard contact rarely drew a whistle, Eagleville managed to overpower Moore County.
The Raiderettes scored only six points in the fourth period, getting a basket from Kursten Hawkins and a pair of runouts on passes from Kinsley Logan to Grace Cauble. Still, they clung to their two-point advantage when they turned the ball over with 49 seconds left in the game.
Eagleville’s Taylor Turnage, who had been held to just eight points on two made field goals in the first three periods, made her third basket count. Turnage nailed a three-pointer from the far side wing to give the Lady Eagles a 40-39 lead with 17 seconds remaining.
Moore County tried to answer as Hawkins drove down the left side of the lane. She was bumped but didn’t draw a foul. The ball clanged off the rim and Eagleville pulled down the rebound with 7.7 seconds left to play.
During a dead ball as Eagleville attempted to throw the ball inbounds Faith Cauble was whistled for an intentional foul. The Lady Eagles made two free throws, extended the lead to 42-39 and got the ball back. MCHS fouled again with 4 seconds left and Eagleville again made two free throws, sealing the victory.
Hawkins led the Raiderettes with 15 points, hitting three treys. Katie Thomas hit a pair of threes and finished with eight points, while Grace Cauble scored six. Logan and Chrissy Lockhart finished with five points each.
Kristen Barnes paced the Lady Eagles with a dozen points.
The game was knotted at 24-all at halftime.
In Monday’s nightcap, Forrest (17-13) beat Huntland 65-57, winning back-to-back games for the first time since early January. Forrest moves on to play Middle Tennessee Christian (18-6) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The district championship is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Moore County’s girls were coming off of a 58-47 Senior Night victory over Cascade on Feb. 11. Moore County’s lone senior, Taylor LaCook, was honored in between the girls and boys game during her final home appearance.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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