Murfreesboro — Monday night’s Moore County versus Cascade District 9A second round tournament game was a floor-pacing, nail-biting thriller.
With less than one second on the clock, the Raiderettes lone senior, Rachel Garland, stepped up to make a clutch free throw after drawing a block foul from a Cascade player on a lay up drive.
As the home crowd (and visitor for that matter) went absolutely nuts in the stands, Garland calmly dribbled the ball, released the shot and swished the game-winning basket – earning the Raiderettes a 58-57 victory and a spot in the TSSAA District 9A Tournament championship game
Just moments earlier and with just 35 seconds remaining in the game, junior Sarah Raby drove inside through a double team to earn the game-tying basket. On the ensuing Cascade possession, Moore County freshman Makayla Ray fouled Cascade junior point guard Alyssa Hoover sending her to the line for two shots. Hoover misses both – giving Moore County a shot at the win.
Confidence, 3-points shots and fouls
Fresh off their 59-55 upset over Eagleville in the first round of tournament play, the Lady Champions game into the game with confidence and red hot 3-point shooting. They made 10 perimeter shots through four eight-minute periods. Cascade’s leading scorer, Elora Skeuce, swished 20 points in the game with 12 of those coming from 3-point shots.
Moore County led by as much as 10 points midway through the second period. With 3:22 remaining before the half, it was Moore County 29, Cascade 19. However, Cascade pieced together 7-0 run capped off with a Skeuce 3-point shot to pull within two points with less than two minutes remaining in the second period.
Raiderette guard Erin Thomas swished a last second basket to send Moore County into the locker room ahead 36-29.
Cascade came out strong in the third period. Less than a minute ticked off before another Skeuce 3-point shot and a bucket by Kelsey Parker pulled the Lady Champions back within two, 36-34.
The two teams traded buckets until Skeuce hit back-to-back, unanswered tres to pull ahead by one point. On the very next play, Erin Thomas answered with driving lay up to pull Moore County back ahead by one. The lead changed two more time before a Cascade player reached in and fouled Garland on a lay up sending her to the line. She swished both shots. The third period ended with Moore County leading by three points, 46-43.
Determined, the Lady Champions swung the ball out to Katie Vincent who hovered around the 3-point line. She got the shot she was looking for and drained a long shot to knot the game at 46.
Moore County pieced together a 6-0 run with points by Savannah Williams and Garland to pull ahead 53-46. Then Cascade pulled together an 11-0 unanswered point run to make the score 57-53 with 1:35 remaining.
Garland answered with a quick basket. The Raiderettes got the turn over and Raby tied it to set up Garland for the win.
Rachel Garland led for Moore County with 22 points. Sarah Raby contributed 16 and Erin Thomas swished 12. Other contributing Raiderettes were Savannah Williams (2) and Kelsey Camp (2).
There were 40 fouls called through 32 minutes of play. Two starters fouled out of the game. Kelsey Camp fouled out with 4:31 remaining and Erin Thomas got her fifth at the 1:35 mark.
The Raiderettes play the winner of the Community versus MTCS game on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for the title of District 9A Champion. The game will be played at Middle Tennessee Christian School in Murfreesboro. It will be broadcast live online at www.atvsportscast.com and 1340 AM.