PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – The Moore County boys basketball team’s trip to Panama City, Fla., for the Marlins Christmas Classic hosted by J.R. Arnold High School hit a snag before the Raiders ever got out of the state. The flu bug bit the Raiders over the weekend, and unfortunately for Moore County, it started at the top — with leading scorer Ryan Northcutt.
Northcutt, along with fellow senior Doran Noble, made the trip to Florida, but both sat out of the Raiders’ tournament opener on Monday, a game in which Moore County lost to Arnold 56-48.
Blydge Farrar led Moore County in Northcutt’s absence, scoring a game-high 15 points. Senior Jordan Barrier added eight, while Jay Layman tallied seven.
With Northcutt and Noble sidelined, the Raiders got off to a slow start. Moore County managed just two points in the first period as they fell behind 10-2. The Raiders’ offensive struggles in the first half led to a 22-10 halftime deficit.
MCHS heated up after intermission, with five players chipping in to score. Farrar and Lee Huffer scored four, Layman added five and Will Slatten and Barrier netted three each in the period to help the Raiders keep the deficit in single digits.
Moore County couldn’t slow down Arnold’s tandem of Damani Flanagan and Jawuan White, however. Flanagan finished with 13 points for the Marlins, while White had 12. And in the fourth period, Bryce Paton added six of his nine points to help the Marlins stay in front.
The loss dropped Moore County to the tournament’s losers’ bracket, where they faced University School on Nashville on Tuesday afternoon.
University 55, Moore County 43
University relied on two players for the majority of their offense against Moore County, and that was plenty to send the Tigers into today’s consolation championship game.
Rashad Jones finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Tevin Burdette contributed with 13 points for University, which successfully bounced back from a loss against Webster one night earlier.
The Tigers led 13-9 after the first quarter and increased their lead incrementally the rest of the way. University held a 27-21 advantage at halftime and 43-32 after the third quarter.
Ryan Northcutt and Will Slatten scored nine and eight points, respectively, for Moore County, which will play for seventh place today. Jay Laymon led the Raiders with 13 rebounds.
University School lost its opener 59-44 against Webster County, Ky.
The Raiders will wrap up their trip with a game on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.
While the trip to Florida could’ve been a bit better for a handful of the Raiders, they’ll need to put it behind them in a hurry and try to get healthy. After a road game at Grundy County on Tuesday, Jan. 6, the Raiders have a slew of District 9-A games in store as they try to climb back into the top half of the district race.
That’ll start on Friday, Jan. 9 with a trip to Unionville to face Community. The next home game is scheduled for Jan. 13 against Fayetteville City, before back-to-back road games take the Raiders away from Lynchburg again on Jan. 16 and 17.