Raiderettes take on Clay County in State Tourney on Wednesday

The 2023-24 Moore County Raiderettes are headed to Murfreesboro on Wednesday to take on Clay County in a Class 1A State Tournament Quarterfinal match up. (Photo Courtesy of Jeff Reed)

By Tabitha Evans MooreEDITOR & PUBLISHER

MURFREESBORO — First place in the District 9A regular season? Check. District 9A Champs? Check. Region 5A Champs? Check. Now, the junior-led Moore County Raiderettes will travel to the Murphy Center on the campus of MTSU on Wednesday as one of the top eight Class 1A teams in the state for a shot at the gold ball. They will take on the Clay County Lady Bulldogs (22-10, 5-3).

The Lady Bulldogs managed postseason wins against Clark Range to make it into the District 7A Championship game against Pickett County. They lost that match up 69-57. In the Region 4A Tournament, they beat Merrol Hyde and East Robertson before losing to Pickett County again in the regional championship game. They also beat Van Buren County, 51-41, on March 2 to make it to the state tourney.

Here are some potential storylines to watch for during Wednesday’s match up:

The Raiderettes are hungry for a state tourney win. The Raiderettes are led by five juniors — Madison Dingler, Katy Fletcher, Ellie Graham, Audrey Harder, and Anna Harder – and most have been starting or in heavy rotation since their freshman year. They made it to a Class 1A Sectional game their freshman year – losing 63-50 at McKenzie. Their sophomore year, they ended their season in a 69-47 loss to Wayne County in the Region 5A Semifinal. This is the moment they’ve been working towards and we expect them play inspired basketball on Wednesday.

It’s their first meeting since 2018. The last time a Moore County Raiderettes team made it into the State Tournament was 2018. Coincidentally, that’s also the last time the Raiderettes and Lady Bulldogs have matched up against one another. In 2018, Moore County beat Clay County in a Class 1A Sectional game, 56-40, before losing to Huntingdon in a Class 1A State Quarterfinal game by four points, 44-40. There’s no recent history here.

Free throws may be crucial. When the TSSAA changed the free throw rules for the 2023-24 season, most players, coaches, and fans wondered how that change might trickle down, especially in the post-season. Get more than five fouls in any quarter and the other team goes into bonus. Moore County will need to play aggressive defense to keep Clay County on their heels, but need to avoid getting into foul trouble. It’s a delicate balance.

Tip off of the Raiderettes versus Clay County game will take place immediately after the North Green versus Greenfield game, which tips off at 4 p.m. The estimated start time of the Moore County versus Clay County game will be at 5:30 p.m. but according to tournament officials, it will take place 15 minutes after the conclusion of the previous game. {To view the complete 2024 Class 1A State Girls’ Basketball Tournament Bracket, click here.}

If you can’t travel with the team, the TSSAA will broadcast the game live on the NFHS Network, or you can follow a live blog of the game on the The Lynchburg Times Facebook page. •

{Community newspapers like The Lynchburg Times serve an important roll to high school athletes. Players use links to our articles in college applications and the TSSAA keeps up with Moore County star athletes through our coverage. That leads to more awards and recognition. Please consider supporting our work by subscribing. Click this link to sign up.}