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Raiders battle but fall to Eagles 50-54 in District Tournament

Tournament officials named three MCHS Raiders to the All District Team following Tuesday night’s game: Brayden Cashion, Riley Holman, and Andrew Copeland. (Photo Credit: Jeff Reed Photography)

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS | It was a basketball game that felt a bit like a tennis match with lots of second half lead changes and swinging momentum.

The Raiders battled back from a 14 point third period deficit to get not one but two shots at a tie ballgame with less than a minute to play in Lynchburg. At the final buzzer, they fell to Eagleville 50-54 in the second round of the TSSAA District 8 Tournament. Brayden Cashion was the high scoring Raider with 18 points followed by Will Harder with 12.

The 12-10 Raiders and the 10-13 Eagles split their regular season match ups. The Raiders got the 59-54 win in Rutherford County on January 8 and the Eagles got pay back on January 26 — besting the Raiders in front of the home crowd in Lynchburg 61-50. In tournament action, Cascade and Moore County earned a bye week by coming in first and second in District 8. Eagleville beat Cornersville on February 22 to move on to second round play.

Fast first period and sluggish second

The Raider seemed relaxed and ready to go in warm ups and brought that same energy into the first period. They outscored the Eagles 13-6 in the first stanza thanks in part to the hot hands of Riley Holman who snagged seven points. Moore County gained the advantage by also playing aggressive defense — keeping the Eagle shooters safely on the perimeter.

The Eagles battled back in the second period. After getting on the board first in the second stanza with an Andrew Copeland jumper, the two District 8 teams traded baskets until the Eagles finally got hot at the three point line swishing one from the outside at 2:59 mark to pull them ahead by one: Raiders 19 – Eagles 20. Thirty second later the Eagles rebounded and threw another three point shot to give them a 19-23 advantage. They roared into half time with the momentum. At the end of the first two periods the score was Raiders 19, Eagles 25.

Riley Holman led the first half Raider scoring with 7 followed by Andrew Copeland with 4. Brayden Cashion and Dylan Scruggs added 3 point each and Colton Bateman scored 2.

Two shots at a time ballgame

The Eagles brought their second period momentum into the second half. They put together a 16 point run while holding Moore County to a single basket. Finally at around the 2:41 mark, Andrew Copeland broke the spell with a jumper in the paint. At the time out, Moore County trailed 23-36. Following the time out, Colton Bateman snagged another two points to get the Raiders back within 10.

The Eagles then found a Raider weakness that they exploited down the stretch as they used the screen to create a wide open lane for easy layups. At the end of the third period, Eagleville managed a 14 point lead and the Raiders trailed 26-40.

As if sensing time and opportunities were running out, the Raiders came back to life in the final stanza. Will Harder swished an impressive four from the three point line including three in a row to get the Raiders back within four. On his third, the Raider home crowd erupted and Moore County called for a quick timeout.

Following the break Brayden Cashion scored a quick two points to pull the Raiders within two, 45-47, with 2:53 left to play.

In the bonus, the Eagles then made four consecutive foul shots to build their cushion to 47-51 before Brayden Cashion drained a three to make it 48-51 with 1:03 left to play. On the next Eagle possession, the Raiders sent them back to the foul line but the Eagle shooter missed both. Cashion then muscled for another two points to get the Raiders within a single point, 50-51.

The hot hands that got them back in the game cooled for the Raiders as the seconds ticked down. With 1.2 seconds remaining, the Eagles went back to the line and made the bucket that put the game out of reach, 50-54.

The Raiders put together 50 points: Cashion, 18; Harder,12; Holman,7; Copeland,6; Bateman,4; and Dylan Scruggs,3. Kaden Snitzer was the top Eagleville scorer with 16 followed by Watson and Shingley with 13 each.

The Raiders will move onto a consolation game with Cascade in Bedford County on Thursday, February 25 to determine who they will play first in the Region 4 Tournament. District 8 leader Cascade lost to Fayetteville 53-61 on Tuesday. Tickets will be available at the Go Fans app or you can watch the Moore County Sports Network’s student broadcasting team on the NFHS Network. Click here for that link. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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