Raiderettes headed to McKenzie for substate game on Saturday

The Raiderettes were all smiles on Wednesday after the Wayne County game. They settled for Regional Runner Up and move on to a sectional game against McKenzie this Saturday. (Photo Provided)

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — Why not us? Why not now? That’s been the battle cry of the Moore County Raiderettes this season. They’ve got the players and the skills. So why not a state tournament run? But they’ve got to win one more game to get there.

The Moore County Raiderettes (22-10, 6-2) will travel to McKenzie on Saturday to take on the McKenzie Lady Rebels (27-2, 6-0) in a TSSAA State Tournament sectional game. It will be the first ever meeting for the two teams. The number one District 9A seed Raiderettes lost to Wayne County by five points, 56-51, on Wednesday to settle for Region 5A Runner Up. The number one District 11A seed the Lady Rebels beat Houston County, 73-58, in the Region 6A Finals on Wednesday. The top two teams from each region advance to substate play but only the winners of the sectional game will advance to state.

Moore County comes into Saturday’s game after being on a bit of an emotional roller coaster for the past seven days. Last Friday, the Raiderette defense smothered Santa Fe in an 54-11 game that was over after the first minute of play. Then on Monday, they managed a come-from-behind win over Collinwood to advance to the Region 5A Finals. Starting freshman post Ellie Graham got injured in that game and wasn’t available for the championship game against Wayne County. Moore County played timid in the first half of the Wayne County game but battled back thanks in no small part to 22 second half points by senior Olivia Richards.


1| Maecy Fletcher needs to continue to step up. Junior Maecy Fletcher came off the bench to replace Ellie Graham on Wednesday and did an outstanding job. She got points when her team most needed them and played outstanding defense. She rebounded. She blocked shots. She took not one but two charges. The Raiderettes will need more smart, determined play from her on Saturday even if Graham returns.

2| More tenacious defense from Charlotte Ray. Have you ever gone for a mental health walk and been invade by a gnat that just won’t leave you alone? That is how senior Charlotte Ray plays defense. She’s in your face and annoying just like the best defensive players. We would not want to deal with her for 32 straight minutes on a basketball court. And Ray is money in the paint. She sees lanes and can’t be stopped once she’s focused on the basket. The Raiderettes are gonna need more of all of that to beat McKenzie.

3| Jump out early. The McKenzie Rebels have only lost two game this year and just by looking at the two teams season records, one might assume that the game will be a mismatch. What those outside the Moore County program don’t know is that many of the Raiderettes loses this season came at AA and AAA teams at much larger schools like Tullahoma, Lincoln County, and Cannon County. The Rebels could look past Moore County and if the Raiderettes jump out early, they could struggle to come back.

4| Overcome an Olivia Richards double team. With her headline grabbing 30 points against Wayne County, Olivia Richards will probably be on the McKenzie Lady Rebels radar. Richards can single-handedly take over a game and her mid-range jumper is nearly impossible to defend. On Wednesday, some Raiderettes seemed hesitant to shoot when they had the ball. They passed it off quickly or failed to drive in the paint when a lane opened. It happens but every Moore County Raiderette on the floor needs to look to score every possession on Saturday.

5| Stop Miss Basketball nominee Savannah Davis. The Lady Rebels boast a sophomore Miss Basketball nominee Savannah Davis. She’s an ace shooter who can put up double digits points. Moore County’s faced other star players this season and managed to shut them down. The Raiderettes will need more of this on Saturday if they want to advance to the state playoffs.

Tip off on Saturday is at 7 p.m. in McKenzie. Those who plan to travel can purchase pre-sale tickets to Saturday’s game for $8 or pay $10 at the gate. To purchase presale tickets, click here. McKenzie sits 150 miles northwest of Lynchburg between Clarksville and Jackson. The GPS address for those who plan to travel is 23292 Highway 22, McKenzie, TN 38201. Those who can’t attend in person can follow the action on The Lynchburg Times Facebook page or on the Moore County Sports Network. •

{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.}