UNIONVILLE, Tenn. — Trying to escape a seven-game losing streak, the Moore County High School boys basketball team looked to be in good shape heading into the second half of Friday’s game against District 9-A foe Community. But another streak the Raiders are trying to avoid — the inability to put together four strong periods in one game — reared its ugly head.
As a result, Moore County was outscored 23-10 in the third period and the host Vikings went on to win 59-52. The third period marked the only quarter of the contest during which MCHS was outscored.
The Raiders (3-10 overall, 0-4 District 9-A) led 12-11 after the first and the teams played even with 13 point apiece in the second. After the disastrous third quarter, Moore County bounced back and outscored Community 17-12 over the final eight minutes.
The game was a microcosm of the Raiders’ season to date: strong play surrounded by offensive and defensive letdowns that allow teams to escape or pull away for wins.
Friday’s game in Unionville was slowed by 25 fouls in the first half alone. But with several of Community’s starters sitting on the bench, the Raiders couldn’t extend their lead before the half.
In the third period, Community’s Darian Pride scored two early baskets to give the Vikings a 28-25 lead. Tyler Bushnell scored nine points in the quarter, including a four-point play, while Pride added eight as Community (4-6, 2-1) led 47-35 after three periods.
The lead ballooned to 17 points, 52-35, in the fourth period before Moore County managed a slight rally. With Community shooting just 12-of-27 from the free throw line in the contest, the Raiders took advantage and made up a little ground late in the contest.
Will Slatten led the Raiders with 16 points, while Montana Driver had 14. Julius Dixon added eight and Spencer Reese netted seven. Driver and Dixon had a pair of three pointers each as MCHS knocked down seven triples from beyond the arc. Clay Burnett finished with four points; Jay Layman had two and Andy Huffer chipped in one.
Community’s Bushnell led all scorers with 17 points. Pride added a dozen.
The Raiders have a week off before traveling to South Pittsburg for the South Pittsburg Christmas Classic. The MCHS boys play host South Pitt at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. They’ll play Grundy County at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29 and North Sand Mountain at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 30.
Moore County returns to district competition on Jan. 5 with a road trip to league-leading Huntland.