Raiders end an emotional season at McKenzie

the Moore County Raiders lone senior, Will Baker
MCHS’s lone senior, Will Baker, played his final game as a Moore County basketball player on Monday. The Raiders lost to McKenzie in a Class A Sectional game 55-36. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed Photography)

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — It’s been an emotional, roller coaster road of a season for this year’s Moore County Raiders basketball team. They headed into the last week of regular season play a solid 3-4 team, then lost in the final seconds against Cornersville in the final regular season game on February 7. In that game, Alex Copeland teed up for the game-winner but it hit the backboard just to the left of the basket. The final score was Bulldogs 43, Raiders 40. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.}

Then on February 14, senior Will Baker hit a trey with 2.4 seconds remaining to beat Cornersville in a District 9A Tournament play-in game to keep their season alive. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.}

They lost against both Fayetteville and Huntland in the District 9A tournament and then got the Cinderella win against #1 seed Santa Fe in the first round of the Region 5A Tournament on Saturday, February 25. It was a game that mattered to Moore County. That morning the Raiders woke up to news that a classmate, senior Isaiah Petty, died in an overnight car accident. Head Coach Brown met with his players later in the day and told them that at a time like this, basketball was optional — even a regional tournament game. The team voted and decided to play in honor of Isaiah but it wasn’t easy.

That night, in the final seconds, Keller Morey brought the ball down on a Moore County possession and threw a lightning-quick pass to Will Baker, who caught it and turned around for the jumper. His two points put the game basically out of reach with 35 seconds remaining to give the Raiders a 57-53 upset win. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.}

Then on February 28, the Raiders beat Wayne County 56-49 in the Region 5A Semifinal Championship. In that game, the Raiders and Wildcats fought in a punch, counterpunch game that saw over two dozen lead changes. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.} They then lost to Fayetteville in the Region 5A Championship game, but with a shot in a Class A Sectional game assured.

They traveled three hours to McKenzie on Monday to play a top ranked McKenzie squad in a game that was never close. The Rebels jumped out to an early 15-5 lead in the first period and never looked back. The final score was Moore County 36, McKenzie 55.

Alex Copeland led in the final game with 12 points followed closely by the Raiders lone senior, Will Baker with 10 points. Peyton Martin added three points and Trisyn Gray came off the bench to score three more. Starters Keller Morey and Dawson White scored a basket each. Brantley Hill and Gavin Wise came off the bench and contributed a bucket each.

Moore County ended their season with a 12-16 regular season record and 3-5 in district play. They also brought home the Region 5A Runners Up trophy.

McKenzie now moves on to play University High in a Class 1A Quarterfinal game at MTSU. •

{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.}