The Moore County High School boys basketball team lost back-to-back games last week, falling at home to Franklin County in a non-district contest on Tuesday, Dec. 16 and falling on the road at District 9-A foe Middle Tennessee Christian School on Friday night.
Friday’s 67-59 to MTCS loss dropped the Raiders to 6-8 overall, but more importantly put them in a hole in district competition as the Raiders are 2-3 in 9-A play. It also marked Moore County’s third loss in as many games and fifth in the last six contests.
The Raiders now prepare for a trip to Panama City, Fla., after Christmas where they will play in the Marlin Christmas Classic Dec. 29, 30 and 31. MCHS will open up the tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 29 against Arnold, Fla.
When they return home, they’ll have a game at Grundy County on Jan. 6 before jumping back into district play Jan. 9 at Community.
On Friday night in Murfreesboro, Moore County fell behind Middle Tennessee Christian early thanks to the play of Luke Howell and Barr Ellenburg. Howell scored nine points in the opening period as the hosts raced out to a 14-5 lead.
MCHS rallied in the second period, however. Will Slatten scored eight points and Jordan Barrier chipped in five as the Raiders mounted a comeback. A three-pointer from Doran Noble and one from Barrier helped Moore County take a 27-25 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
Slatten was scoreless in the third though, and Ellenburg drained a pair of threes for the Cougars, who went back ahead 46-39. The Raiders had to play catch-up after that. Moore County pulled to within seven points with 55 seconds remaining.
But thanks to a steady trip to the free throw line by Middle Tennessee Christian — the Cougars were 12-of-17 from the charity stripe in the fourth period — Moore County couldn’t cut into that lead.
Slatten and Barrier finished with 14 points each for MCHS, with Barrier knocking down four three-pointers. Ryan Northcutt added a dozen and James Dougherty netted six.
Against Franklin County at home last Tuesday night, Northcutt poured in 22 points, but the Raiders still fell to the Rebels 57-50. Franklin County gave Moore County plenty of chances.
MCHS trailed 42-41 but then turned the ball over on six consecutive trips down the court without getting a shot off. Northcutt’s effort from beyond the three-point arc kept the Raiders close. He sank three longballs in the fourth quarter, when he scored 12 of his 22 points.
Blydge Farrar added 10 for the Raiders, while Barrier had seven.
It wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced effort from the Rebels who had three players score in double digits. Dre Braston and Hunter Watson paced the Rebs with 14 each.
When the Raiders return from their Florida trip, they will have 11 regular-season games remaining, including seven district contests and road trips to Grundy County and Lincoln County.