By Robert Holman
Photo by Jeff Reed
Thanks to a dominating second period, Pickett County pulled away from Moore County to win Monday’s boys TSSAA Class A Sectional contest. With the score tied 10-10, the Bobcats went on a 9-0 in a 74-second span to seize control of the game. They went on to win 61-40 to advance to the TSSAA Class A State Tournament, while the Raiders’ season came to an end in the tournament’s Sweet 16.
At Moore County High School, the hosts jumped on the visiting Bobcats early, getting a quick 3-pointer from senior Brayden Cashion to grab a 3-0 lead. MCHS (15-13) went ahead 8-3 before Pickett County (21-8) used a 7-2 run to knot the game at 10-all at the end of the first period.
With Moore County’s early momentum stemmed, Pickett County opened up the second stanza red hot. Zach Amonett knocked down a 3-pointer — part of 10 points he scored in the period — the Bobcats got seven points from Hunter Wattenbarger and a big trey from Will Amonett as they added to their lead.
The Raiders did get six points from senior Riley Holman in the second period, but Pickett County shot its way to a 30-20 halftime lead and never looked back. The visitors stretched the lead in the third period. While holding the Raiders to just six points, the Bobcats Wattenbarger and Zach Amonett combined to score 13 in the third. The Moore County defense had little answer for the two once they heated up. Zach Amonett and Watenbarger combined to tally 46 points on the night, with Amonett scoring a game-high 25.
Pickett County outscored Moore County 16-14 in the final frame, making 10-of-16 free
throws to salt the game away.
Cashion, who fouled out near the three-minute mark of the fourth period, scored 10 points, but was held scoreless in the second and third periods. After picking up his fifth foul he left the game to a standing ovation from the MCHS crowd. A minute later, first-year Moore County head coach Justin Brown sent subs in for fellow seniors Andrew Copeland, Dylan Scruggs and Holman, who were honored by the MCHS fans for their effort as well.
Will Harder scored 10 points for Moore County as well, with six coming in the fourth
period. Scruggs added nine points, while Holman netted six and Keller Morey three. Copeland netted two points to compete the Raiders’ scoring.
Moore County entered Monday’s sub-state game as the Region 4-A champions. The
Raiders knocked off No. 1 seed LEAD Academy and No. 2 seed Eagleville before topping No. 3 Cascade — all on the road — to win the region crown. It marked the first sub-state contest in Moore County’s new gymnasium and was played in front of a crowd of nearly 600, which was limited due to restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.
MCHS won eight of its last 11 games and finished the season with a winning record for the first time since the 2014-15 team finished 17-15. The team’s region win against LEAD was the first region victory for a Moore County boys’ team in 13 years.
Moore County 53, Cascade 48
Dylan Scruggs hit three 3-pointers en route to a team-high 16-points to help Moore
County hold off host Cascade and secure the Region 4-A Championship on Thursday,
March 4. At Wartrace, Scruggs’s production was part of a solid team effort that included 12 points for Will Harder, 10 for Riley Holman, nine from Brayden Cashion and six from Andrew Copeland.
The Raiders grabbed an early 13-5 lead and held a 32-23 advantage at halftime. But
the hosts rallied after intermission, scoring 15 points to Moore County’s eight to close the gap. The Champions took a one-point lead late in the third period before Andrew Copeland nailed a long 3-pointer to put MCHS head 40-38 heading into the final frame. Copeland made another trey in the fourth period and Moore County got four free throws from Scruggs and two from Holman to put the game out of reach.
Moore County 40, Eagleville 30
Using a tremendous team defensive effort, Moore County held Eagleville to only 12
second-half points on the way to a Region 4-A Tournament semifinal triumph on March 2. At Eagleville, Moore County’s defense limited Eagleville to just five points in the second period and only two points in the final stanza.
Brayden Cashion scored a team-high 12 points to lead MCHS. Dylan Scruggs finished with nine points and Will Harder had eight, while Andrew Copeland chipped in five. Riley Holman’s four points and Colton Bateman’s two wrapped up the Raiders’ scoring.
The victory guaranteed Moore County a sub-state berth for the first time since beating Cornersville 81-57 back on Feb. 26, 2008.