Raiderettes battle back against Collinwood to win Region 5A seminfinal game in OT

Tuesday’s win advances the Raiderettes to the Regional Final against Wayne County on Wednesday at Wayne County High School. Tip off will be at 7 p.m. (Graphic Courtesy of TSSAA)

WAYNESBORO, Tenn — There are always going to be games in which the calls don’t seem to go your way. Some teams crumble when the odds seems stacked against them and some teams rise to the occasion. The Moore County Raiderettes proved they were the latter on Monday night with a gritty, come-from-behind win over the Collinwood Lady Trojans at Wayne County High School in the Region 5A Semifinal.

Moore County beat Santa Fee in Lynchburg 54-11 to advance to the semifinal game last Saturday. Collinwood eked out a fourth quarter victory over Eagleville in Collinwood last Friday to advance.

Foul heavy first half

In the first half, Moore County got on the boards first with a score in the paint by Ellie Graham on the Raiderettes second offensive possession to make it 2-0. Two plays later, Olivia Richards drained one from the perimeter to make it 5-0. Then the the whistles rained down. Around the three minute mark, refs called an offensive foul on Chloe Brazier who was being double-teamed under the boards. When Raiderette Head Coach Chad Spencer complained about it, he received a technical foul. At the end of the first eight minutes Collinwood led 13-5. They scored 11 of their 13 first quarter points from the line.

In the second period, it was Collinwood’s chance to rack up the fouls. Moore County scored eight of their 17 second period points from the line while holding the Lady Trojans to just 10 total points. Olivia Richards hit a mid-range jumper on Moore County’s first possession to pull within six. Collinwood answered with a trey and then Richards again scored two from the paint. The two teams swapped scores for the next two minutes, then around the three minute mark, Ellie Graham hit a trey to pull Moore County within five, 20-15. The scored started a momentum shift and a seven-point run. Richards scored four and then with a little over a minute to play the Lady Trojans fouled Charlotte Ray. Her two from the line gave Moore County at 21-20 lead.

Collinwood fouled again on the next play sending Erica Clifton to the line. She hit her first shot but not the second to give Moore County a two point edge. With less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, Collinwood’s Danlee Bray hit a trey to give the Lady Trojans a one point lead, 23-22, headed into the locker room.

Raiderettes tie it up in the fourth period

Both teams started the third period with a turnover, then Collinwood’s Bray hit another trey to pull them ahead by four points, 26-22. Olivia Richards answered a possession later with a shot in the paint to pull back within two. Lady Trojan Alyssa Gray answered and then Ellie Graham went inside for another two to pull the score back with a bucket, 28-26. Then, the Raiderettes allowed Collinwood to go on a six-point run to pull ahead 34-26 before sending Maecy Fletcher to the line for a one-and-one. She made one of two to cut the lead to seven. Collinwood answered with a layup to make the final third period score 36-27.

Something changed for the Raiderettes in the fourth period — a subtle shift of determination. They came out of the break and scored 10 unanswered including points by Ellie Graham, Olivia Richards, and Maecy Fletcher to make it 36.34. Then, with a little over six minutes to play, a determined Charlotte Ray went inside for a layup to tie the game 36-36. She also drew the “and one” foul and made it – giving Moore County a 37-36 lead.

The Raiderettes fouls on the next play sending a Lady Trojan to the line. She made one of two to tie the game back at 37-37. For the next four minutes, the two teams traded baskets, then Olivia Richards went inside drawing a foul. She made both from the line to make it Collinwood 46, Moore County 45. Collinwood went to the line on their next possession to pull ahead by three. With 1:40 sitting on the clock, Charlotte Ray eye-lined and stole a Lady Trojan pass – fast breaking to the Moore County side. Her layup fell and she drew the foul. That “and one” basket tied the game, 48-48. Following a Lady Trojan time out, Ray also stole the ball in the paint – essentially sending the game into overtime.

Raiderettes pull away in overtime

Collinwood scored first in overtime on their opening possession. Erica Clifton immediately answered with a trey to give Moore County a one-point lead. The next Collinwood shot bounced off the back board. Ellie Graham snagged it and took off down court. She passed to Charlotte Ray who swished two – building the lead to three, 53-50. Moore County fouled on the next Collinwood possession and the Lady Trojan’s two points made it a one point game. Following a Moore County timeout, Olivia Richards went inside for two to build the lead back to three, 55-52.

The Raiderettes then fouled sending Collinwood to the line. She made one of two to pull the Lady Trojans within two, 55-53, with less than two minutes remaining. On the other end, Collinwood fouled sending Ellie Graham to the line. She swished both to give the Raiderettes a four point lead. 57-53. On the next Collinwood possession, Graham anticipated a Lady Trojan pass and stole the ball again. As she took off on a fast break, a pursuing Lady Trojan player lunged at her from behind in a move that must have made the Trojan Football Coach proud. Graham fell to ground in pain and the refs stopped play.

After several tense minutes, while coaching staff and others attended to Graham, referees called an intentional foul sending Graham to the line. Her injuries prevented her from returning to the game, so Coach Spencer sent Paisley Logan to the line in her stead. Logan made both to make it Moore County 59, Collinwood 53. Olivia Richard and Maecy Fletcher headed to the foul line in the final 17 seconds. Their three baskets made the final score 62-53.

The win advanced Moore County into the Region 5A Final and ended Collinwood’s season.

The Raiderettes boasted three double-digit scorers in the game. Olivia Richards led for Moore County with 22 points followed by Ellie Graham with 16 and Charlotte Ray with 10. Other contributing Raiderettes were Maecy Fletcher (6), Erica Clifton (6), and Paisley Logan (2). Alyssa Gray led for Collinwood with 17 points.

The Raiderettes will play Wayne County in the Regional Final. Wayne County beat Huntland on Tuesday 61-49 on Tuesday. The Class 1A West Regional Final will happen at Wayne County High School at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The winner will play the Region 6 Runner Up in the Sectional game. The Moore County Sports Network will live broadcast over the NFHS Network or your can follow The Lynchburg Times Facebook page for live score updates throughout the game. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally owned newspaper in Lynchburg and also the only woman-owned newspaper in 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.}