The Moore County High School boys basketball team missed not one but two chances to pull off close victories last week.
The Raiders battled visiting Forrest tooth and nail on Friday night before falling 66-59 in double overtime. On Saturday, Moore County traveled to Richland, where the Raiders dropped a 44-39 decision.
On Friday night in Lynchburg, Moore County was primed to claim its second District 9-A game of the season, but missed free throws down the stretch let Forrest slip away. It was a hard-fought win for the Rockets, who needed two extra periods to dispatch of the Raiders.
Moore County gave the visitors plenty of chances though. After scoring only two points in the third quarter, Moore County found itself in a 35-28 hole heading into the fourth period. The Raiders got a big lift from junior Ryan Northcutt over the final eight minutes — he scored 10 of his 19 points during that stretch — to pull even with the Rockets.
But as well as the Raiders played to get back into the contest, their struggles at the free-throw line were equally magnified. MCHS was just 6-of-12 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, missing four key shots late in the period that could’ve put Forrest away for good.
The Raiders missed two more in the first overtime period. By comparison, Forrest was 11-of-17 from the free-throw line in the second overtime alone. While that was just 65 percent, it was more than enough to keep Moore County at bay.
Moore County led 26-21 at the half before watching Forrest surge ahead in the third quarter.
Northcutt’s 19 led the Raiders, while Cole Boyce added 11 despite shooting just 3-of-10 from the free-throw line. Dillon Davis finished with 10 and James Dougherty eight. Doran Noble scored four; Jordan Barrier three; and Will Slatton and Chris Nix two apiece.
Ty Hoeft scored a game-high 23 points, including 14 in the second half, to lead Forrest.
At Richland on Saturday, Moore County carried a 34-26 lead into the final frame, but couldn’t hold off a late rally by the hosts. Richland held MCHS to just five points over the final eight minutes.
Moore County shot a paltry 36 percent from the field and just 29 percent (2-of-7) from beyond the three-point line.
Just before the half, Moore County got a boost from Noble, who hit a running 60-footer at the horn to give his team a 19-17 advantage at intermission. Noble finished with nine points in the game, as did Blydge Farrar. Northcutt led the way with 10.
Dougherty with four; Boyce with three; and Nix and Davis with two each completed the scoring for Moore County.
After hosting Middle Tennessee Christian School this Friday night, the Raiders will be off until after Christmas. MTCS comes to town with an unblemished 11-0 record and 2013 Class A Mr. Basketball winner Derrick Spears leading the way.
Moore County will then participate in the Summertown Christmas Classic Dec. 27-30.
The Raiders will play Collinwood at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 27; Fayette Academy at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28; and host Summertown at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30.
—ROBERT HOLMAN, editor & publisher