MCHS opens district play at home against Eagleville on Friday

Ellie Graham (left) and Alex Copeland (right) led against Forrest on Tuesday night in Lynchburg. Graham scored 16 in the Raiderettes 60-23 win, and Copeland scored 18 in the Raiders 51-49 victory. Both teams kickoff district play against Eagleville on Friday. | PHOTO CREDITS: Jeff Reed

By Tabitha Evans Moore | EDITOR & PUBLISHER

LOCAL SPORTS | A high school basketball season is a marathon and not a sprint. Both MCHS squads played grueling pre-district schedules, including games against bigger schools and holiday tournaments, in preparation of their real season – District 9A play, which kicks off on Friday in Lynchburg. You can throw out all the records and stats. The season starts now.

Raiderettes look to continue the trend

On the Raiderettes side, the ladies in Columbia blue will be looking to continue the recent trend against the Lady Eagles. Moore County won the series in the 2022-23 season – besting Eagleville 61-40 on January 17 and again at Eagleville 70-53 on February 3. In their first meeting last season, Moore County stunned the Lady Eagles – holding them to zero first half points. A visibly frustrating visiting team suffered two player foul outs and a technical on the head coach before the game was over. {To read our full coverage of that game, click here.}

So far this season, the Eagleville ladies have been a first half team – often jumping out early and letting their defense do the heavy lifting down the stretch. Players to watch will include senior Isabella Sawyer (12), a 5’9″ guard, and senior point guard Shelbie Mooneyham (14). The Eagleville is coached by Chris Lynch.

Raiders could be looking for payback

The Raiders side of the game could get interesting. This year’s Raider football team made a historic state championship run. They went into the Eagleville game with a perfect 11-0 record and handed Eagleville a 35-0 season-ending loss. But not before the Raider QB suffered a knee injury that affected their chances in the Class 1A State Quarterfinal game against McKenzie – one they lost by one point.

Raider Nation is still a bit salty about those last two games, and almost all of the starting basketball lineup also played on the football team. You do that math.

This game should be interesting for another reason. The aforementioned football season left many of Moore County’s dual-sport athletes with a bit of a hangover. They’ve struggled to get into the basketball groove so far this year. But that all ended on Tuesday night when the Raiders managed a last-second, two-point win over Forrest – thanks to a layup by their former star running back, Logan Hegwood. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.}

The Raiders seem to be shaking off the cobwebs at exactly the right time and we look for them to try and make a statement on Friday night.

Moore County graduated just one senior last year, Will Baker, and several of this years’ seniors – Alex Copeland, Wes Clifton, Logan Hegwood, and Sawyer Parks — have been playing on the basketball court together for years. In fact, that squad plus juniors Brantley Hill and sophomore Gavin Wise played on a Moore County Middle School squad that finished fourth in the state. Now that the muscle memory has set in, they should start to see some games go their way.

Eagleville lost both games in the 2022-23 season. Moore County beat them in Lynchburg 53-47 last January and then handed them a one-point loss in Eagleville on February 3.

Tip off of the Raiderettes game will take place at 6 p.m. and the Raiders game will follow immediately after. If you can’t watch in person, you can tune into the Moore County Sports Broadcasting team coverage on the NFHS Network or The Times will post live score updates on our Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned and locally-operated community newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee and one of the few women-owned newspaper in the state. They cover local news and events as well as the tourism and whiskey industries in southern, middle Tennessee. Click here to subscribe.}