EAGLEVILLE — Of the eight Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) girls Class A region basketball champions, only Moore County has to go on the road Saturday night for a sectional game.
The Raiderettes will not get to play at home because the seating capacity at the Moore County High School gym doesn’t meet the minimum TSSAA requirements, which is 1,000.
The MCHS gym holds just 755 after taking away the seat space needed for each team’s bench.
It’s not a new situation for Moore County. Both the MCHS boys and girls are accustomed to playing away from home — typically at Motlow College — each time the TSSAA rule comes into play. Moore County hosted the District 9-A tournament at Motlow this year and the Raiderettes played last year’s sectional game against Summertown at Motlow.
This year, a scheduling conflict at the college prevented the Raiderettes from playing Saturday’s game at Copperweld Arena.
Instead, Moore County will host Collinwood at Eagleville High School at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available for $7 each at the MCHS front desk. While it’s far from a home-court advantage, Moore County’s move to Eagleville’s comfortable gymnasium isn’t without precedent.
Because Motlow’s gym was being renovated during the 2002-03 season, the Raiderettes hosted Franklin Road Academy at Eagleville. That came on the heels of a Moore County region championship run, which also happened to be played at Eagleville. Feeling quite cozy at Eagleville, the Gayle Sessions-coached Raiderettes won that game and advanced to the TSSAA state tournament.
The Raiderettes are hoping for a repeat of that this season.
It’s 100 miles from Collinwood — which is west of Lawrenceburg — to Eagleville. It’s about the same distance from Collinwood to Lynchburg. Meanwhile, it’s less than 40 miles from Moore County High School to Eagleville High School.
And by now, the Raiderettes should be used to the commute, as Moore County played there both Monday and Wednesday.
Moore County’s 50-22 victory over Nashville Christian Wednesday night was the 14th in a row for the Raiderettes, who have also won 29 of their last 30. Sessions’ 2002-03 team had won 16 in a row heading into the sectional.
The Raiderettes were led Wednesday night by senior Sarah Raby, who scored 20 to follow up a 27-point performance on Monday. Fellow senior Kelsey Camp added 16, including 11 of the Raiderettes’ first 15 points. She added five assists as well.
Savannah Williams scored five points, while Erica Limbaugh and Erin Thomas had three apiece. Gwen Jacobs scored two and Whitney Lemmon netted one.
Moore County led 23-10 at halftime.
Collinwood comes into Saturday’s game 23-7 following a 56-45 loss to Summertown in the Region 6-A championship game. Even though the Lady Trojans have seven losses, five have come against just two teams — McNairy Central and Summertown. Collinwood was 8-3 over its last 11 games, with all three of the losses coming against Summertown.
Heading into Saturday’s games, seven of the 10 teams that made up the season’s final Associated Press Class A prep girls basketball poll are still alive, as the postseason has been whittled to just 16 teams. And each of those seven are ranked in the top eight in the state.
Five of them — No. 2 Moore County, No. 3 Jackson County, No. 4 Summertown, No. 5 Cloudland and No. 8 Madison Academic Magnet School — won their respective region tournament.
Two — No. 1 Lake County and No. 7 Clarkrange — lost in their region finals and must play Saturday’s Class A Sectional contest on the road.
No. 1 Lake County lost to Union City in Region 7 and will play at No. 8 Madison Academic, the Region 8 champion. The Lake County/Madison Academic match-up is the only sectional game featuring two ranked opponents.
All three Class A Miss Basketball finalists are still playing as well.
Moore County’s Raby, along with Jackson County’s Jaycee Coe and Cloudland’s Brooke Rhodes, each helped their team claim region crowns on Wednesday night.
While Moore County topped Nashville Christian for the Region 5-A title, Jackson County beat Clarkrange to win the Region 4-A championship and Cloudland topped Hampton to win the Region 1-A final.