Raiders beat Lions in final seconds

the Moore County Raiders Keller Morey
Moore County’s Keller Morey hit a game-winning 3-point shot with 34 second left to help Moore County earn a 44-43 victory over Class AA Cannon County on Monday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It felt like a shot that belonged in a movie.

With 34 seconds to play in the game and trailing by two, Moore County’s Keller Morey set up in front of the Raider student section and willed his teammates to get him the ball. Dawson White caught a pass at the top of the key, thought about the jumper, then looked right spotting a wide open Morey. White passed to Morey who took a stutter step to make sure his foot sat behind the perimeter line and then swished a nothing-but-net trey to give Moore County the lead and eventually the game.

It was the first and only scheduled meeting for the two teams during the 2022-23 season. Last year, the Lions put up 92 points on the Raiders thanks to their 2022 TSSAA Class AA Mr. Basketball Gus Davenport, who now plays at Trevecca. On Monday, in Lynchburg, Moore County hung on down the stretch and managed a 44-43 win over the Lions.

Moore County came into the game on a two-game win streak with a 53-47 district win over Eagleville last Tuesday and a 57-40 win at Cornersville on Friday. Class AA Cannon County beat Huntland 56-45 on January 14 and beat Westmoreland 54-53 on January 20.

Moore County earns a narrow two-point halftime lead

The two teams played a close first half on Monday night with Moore County outscoring the Lions by just a basket headed into the break.

Cannon County got the first possession off the tip off and the Lion’s Theo Winters made a 3-point shot for the first points of the game. On the first Raiders possession, the Lion’s came out in a press defense and quickly fouled. The Raiders couldn’t take advantage of the turnover and Cannon County quickly ran back down the court for a layup to earn a 5-0 lead. Will Baker answered with a trey for the first Raider points of the game. Then, the Lions and Raiders traded missed shots before Peyton Martin shot, missed, rebounded, and successfully shot again to tie the game 5-5.

The two teams traded baskets for the next five minutes with Alex Copeland swishing a trey and Baker scoring a second trey and two from the floor. At the end of the first period, Moore County led Cannon County 15-13. Both teams scored nine points in the second stanza with Keller Morey adding two baskets. Wes Clifton swishied a trey, and Sawyer Parks came off the bench for a basket underneath. At halftime. Moore County maintained a narrow 24-22 lead.

Morey hits a trey with less than a minute to play to seal the win

Cannon County came out of the break swinging while Moore County came out bit sluggish. The Lions put up 13 points while holding the Raiders to just four points – a basket from Alex Copeland and shots from the line by Copeland and Tristyn Gray. At the end of the third quarter, Moore County trailed the Lion 35-28.

In the fourth, the two teams traded baskets then with a little over two minutes to play, Alex Copeland scored quickly inside to make it a four point game – forcing a Lion time out. Out of the break, Morey made the steal but could not convert the turnover to points. Then, Cannon County’s Luke Phillips scored underneath to increase the Cannon County to six, 43-37.

Will Baker answered with quick points inside then Alex Copeland intercepted a Lion pass and scored for another quick two points. With 1:28 to play, the Raiders trailed by two. With his offense now in trouble, the Cannon County coach called time out.

Out of the break, Baker stole the inbound pass to give the Raiders back the ball. With 58 seconds to play, Keller Morey drew a foul an headed to the line for one-and-one. He missed. The Lions rebounded but on their side of the court, an eagle-eyed Wes Clifton snagged a cross court pass to give Moore County back the ball. Morey then drained a three from right in front of the student section to give the Raiders a 44-43 lead, with 34 seconds to play. The crowd lost its Columbia blue mind.

Cannon County called a time out with 2.6 seconds on the clock. The Lions inbounded near the baseline and managed a final 3-point shot, which bounced off the rim. The Raiders won 44-43.

Will Baker led for Moore County with 17 followed by Alex Copeland with 12. Keller Morey swished seven points including the game-winning trey. Wes Clifton and Peyton Martin managed three points each and Sawyer Parks added a bucket.

The Raiders head to Huntland for their second district match up with the Hornets on Friday. Moore County suffered a narrow two-point loss to the Hornets on January 10. The game should be a great rematch.

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{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.}