Gritty Raiders outlast Eagles in 51-47 district win

Raiders Alex Copeland and Keller Morey
Alex Copeland (left) goes up for a layup against Eagleville on Tuesday. He led for Moore County with 15 points. Keller Morey (right) returned to the starting line up against the Eagles following an early season injury. He added another eight points. (PHOTO CREDT: Jeff Reed)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Some players just add a spark — not because they lead in points or dominate on defense but rather just because their energy gels the team. Keller Morey seems to be that player for the Moore County Raiders. He returned from an early season injury on Tuesday and helped the Raiders break a five-game losing streak with a determined, gritty win over Eagleville.

It was the first district match up for the two teams. They will play again on February 3. The win improved the Raiders to a 6-9 regular season record. The loss drops Eagleville to 14-6. The two team now sit behind Fayetteville (8-5, 4-0) and Huntland (11-10, 2-1) tied for third place in District 9A play.

Raider defense holds Eagleville to three points in the second period

The two teams paced each other in the first half. Eagleville got on the board with a basket off the tip off and then a shot from the line. Will Baker answered with a jump shot under pressure. Eagleville managed back-to-back buckets before Baker once again scored from underneath. Dawson White entered the chat around the four minute mark when Keller Morey stole the ball and fed it to White for the layup to make it Moore County 6, Eagleville 10. Eagleville answered, then White swished a trey to make it 12-9.

Following a Raider foul, White rebounded the ball and headed down court for another two points to pull Moore County within one, 12-11. The next Eagles shot sail far left of the rim and Baker rebounded. He dished to Alex Copeland, who got mauled in the baseline with no call. Eagleville scored on their next possession and then Peyton Martin answered to end the first period with Eagleville maintaining a narrow 14-13 lead.

A gritty Moore County defense showed up in the second half. They held the Eagles to just three points – a basket and a free throw – while Morey, Copeland, Baker, And Martin put up 10 points. Moore County went into the halftime locker room leading 23-17.

A pair of Dawson White baskets from the line seal the win

The Eagles attempted a come back in the second half but it wasn’t enough. Martin got things going with a hard-fought basket underneath on the first Raider possession. Eagleville answered with two from the line then Copeland drove inside for another Raider bucket. Following a Moore County time out, the Eagles forced a turnover while scoring back-to-back to pull within two, 27-25.

Baker then stole the ball and dished to Martin underneath. He patiently waited for the Eagle defenders to clear then used the backboard for another two points. The Eagles answered with a perimeter shot to make it a one-point game. Following a pair of buckets by Copeland at the line, the Eagles drained another trey to tie the game 31-31. Copeland immediately answered with his own 3-point shot. The Raider defense forced a turnover the Morey added two more to give the Raiders a five-point cushion.

With less than a minute to play in the period, Eagleville’s Grey Barker hit another perimeter shot to pull back within two. White stole the ball on the ensuing Eagles possession and passed to Copeland who drew the foul. He made one of two from the line to make it 37-34. The Eagles got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining but Morey snagged a cross court pass and then threw down court to the waiting Copeland. He drew the foul and made both shots from the line to give the Raiders a 39-34 lead at the end of the third period.

Moore County and Eagleville traded baskets for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, then Eagleville went on a seven point run at the five minute mark to tie the game at 47-47. Copeland answered with a 3-point shot to make it 50-47. The next Eagle shot bounced off the back board and Morey fought for the rebound. Now with possession, the Raiders called time out with 1:18 to play. After the break, Baker inbounded to Morey who drove towards the basket and drew the foul. He hit one of two to make it a four-point game.

The Eagles missed a perimeter shot on their next possession and White fought for rebound. He drew an offensive foul. Now in the bonus, he walked the court and headed to the line where he made both shots to give Moore County a more comfortable 53-47 lead with less than 25 seconds to play. It was enough to cinch the win.

Alex Copeland led for the Raiders with 15 points followed closely by Will Baker with 13 points. Dawson White swished nine points and Keller Morey and Peyton Martin added another eight points each.

The Raiders earned 28 points from the floor and another 10 from the perimeter. They shot 10 of 16 (62 percent) from the line. Eagleville shot 11 from the floor for 22 points and six from the perimeter for another 18. They were seven of 10 (70 percent) from the line. Grey Barker led for Eagleville with 13 points.

Moore County will travel to Cornersville (6-12, 0-3) on Friday for another district match up. Tip off takes place immediately following the Raiderette’s game. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}