EAGLEVILLE — Thursday’s District 9-A girls basketball semifinal showdown between Moore County and Community had the feel of a heavyweight bout with two teams going the distance. From the opening tip-off to the final buzzer, the game’s physical tone dictated play as both squads battled down the stretch.
At Eagleville High School, Moore County, the No. 5 seed, couldn’t overcome a 12-point fourth-period deficit and fell to No. 1 seed Community 58-55.
The win sends the Viqueens back to the district title game for a chance to repeat as district champions, while the Raiderettes are relegated to the consolation game where they’ll battle for third place against rival Huntland.
That game was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, but inclement weather throughout middle Tennessee pushed the tournament back one day. With Tuesday’s forecast not looking much better, the third-place game was not completed at press time.
On Monday afternoon the TSSAA issued a statement giving each district across the state “the remainder of this week to finish their district basketball tournaments.”
The region tournament is now scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 23 with the girls quarterfinal game to be played at the higher seed at 7 p.m. The Region 5-A semifinals and finals will move back to Eagleville and will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 25 and wrap up on Thursday, Feb. 26.
During last week’s district semifinal contest, Community (18-8) built a 12-point lead at one point late in the fourth quarter, but soon saw the Raiderettes fight their way back into contention.
Led by freshman Kursten Hawkins, who scored 18 of her game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter, Moore County (19-11) cut the Viqueens’ lead to one possession with less than 20 seconds to go.
Trailing by one with less than 10 seconds to go, Hawkins drove the lane and went up for the potential game-winner only to see it ricochet off the iron and into the hands of Community’s Alyssa Freeman, effectively ending the game.
With Moore County firing away from outside, connecting on eight treys overall, the Viqueens got effective production in the post from sophomore Erin Thompson and junior Lacey Reed, who combined for 24 points despite early-game foul trouble.
Though Community was able to fend off the threat late, the Viqueens led for much of the game thanks to an effective night at the free throw line.
Through three quarters, Community connected on 7-of-9 attempts at the line, but saw that percentage plummet in the fourth quarter, allowing the Raiderettes to fight their way back into the game.
In the dramatic final frame, the Viqueens connected on 14-of-24 attempts at the line, which proved just enough to hold off the Raiderettes. Hawkins’ 31 points also helped her top 1,000 points in her career as well. She’s been a starter since eighth grade.
Community led 9-8 after one and held a 21-17 halftime lead.
Katie Thomas added 13 for Moore County, while Kinsley Logan chipped in five. Grace Cauble, Makayla Ray and Chrissie Lockhart netted two each. Sarah Pierce led Community with 19.
—By CHRIS SIERS, The Shelbyville Times-Gazette
Follow us on Twitter: @TheMooreCoNews