Raiders fall to Huntland in final seconds of rivalry game

Will Baker scores for Moore County.
Moore County senior Will Baker goes up for two points against a pair of Hornet defenders. Baker led for the Raiders against Huntland with 26 points. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It’s rare that a country music star attends a small town, high school basketball game. On Tuesday in Lynchburg, Nashville recording artist and Tims Ford Lake resident Walker Hayes sat in the stands at the MCHS Gym and boy, did the Raiders and Hornets put on a show. It was a back-and-forth, punch-counterpunch game between two closely matched teams that was decided in the final seconds.

Moore County came into game fresh off a 60-43 loss to District 10’s Giles County Bobcats (9-8) last Friday. Huntland lost to District 7’s Grundy County Yellow Jackets (10-6, 1-0) last Saturday. It was the first District 9A match up for Moore County and the second district game for the Hornets. They beat Cornersville by a 26 point margin on January 6.

Baker scores 9 of Moore County’s 11 first period points

Huntland edged the Raiders by four points in the first period. Moore County’s Peyton Martin managed the first points of the game inside off the tip off. Following a Huntland turnover, Will Baker swished the game’s first trey to give the Raiders an early 5-2 lead. Huntland scored its first points of the game around the five minute mark. Moore County answered three possessions later when Baker went inside for two to make it 7-2.

Huntland then hit two 3-points shots in a row to tie the game 7-7 with 2:27 to play in the period. Baker hit a free throw and a basket underneath to pull the Raiders ahead 11-8 before Huntland drained a 3-point shot to tie the game 11-11 with 1:25 to play. Then, the Hornets managed a basket and a foul shot to to end the first period ahead by three points.

Huntland began to pull ahead in the second period. They went on a a four point run to pull ahead 18-11 before Will Baker drained a trey to cut the lead to four. The two teams traded points before the Hornets went on a eight point run to pull away 30-17 with less than two minutes to play in the second period. Dawson White scored Moore County’s final points of the half from the free throw line. At the end of the first half, Moore County trailed Huntland 30-19.

Will Baker scored 12 of Moore County’s 19 first half points.

Raiders battle back in the second half

Moore County launched a comeback in the second half. They allowed seven unanswered before Will Baker and Alex Copeland combined for 12 points to pull within six with a little over four minutes to play in the third. The Raider defense held Huntland to just two points over the next two minutes while Copeland and Peyton Martin scored to pull the Raiders within four points, 41-37 with 1:45 to play in the third.

The two teams traded turnovers then vHuntland hit a fade away jumper to make it 43-37. Peyton Martin answered with two from the line. Huntland answered with a basket and then Martin scored again underneath. Huntland swished a buzzer beater trey to make it 48-39 to end the quarter. Alex Copeland scored over half of Moore County’s third period points.

The Raiders scored five unaswered off points from Will Baker and Alex Copeland to kick off the fourth. Huntland answered with fast break off a steal for two points and then Dawson White immediately answered with a trey to make is 50-46. A possession later, Huntland scored again to build their lead back to six. Baker then drained a three to narrow the lead to just three. With 4:42 to play, the Raiders trailed 52-49.

Huntland fouled Peyton Martin underneath on the next play. He hit one of two from the line to make it 52-50. Huntland answered with a basket then Martin scored again to make it 54-52. A possession later, Huntland scored again underneath to build the Hornet lead back to four points. Following a time out, a determined Baker scored on a fade away jumper to make the score 56-54. Then Wes Clifton fought for the ball and managed a steal. He dished to the waiting Alex Copeland who got mauled underneath with no call as the ball bounced out of bounds. Copeland then caught the in bound pass and scored with 39 seconds remaining.

The two teams traded possessions, then following another time out, Huntland got the ball back with six seconds remaining. A Hornet shot, snagged his own rebound, and then put the ball back up as time expired. His final basket gave the Hornet a 58-56 win.

Baker led with 26 points

The Raider’s lone senior Will Baker led for Moore County with 26 points including four perimeter shots. Alex Copeland followed with 15 points. Other contributing Raiders were Dawson White (8), Peyton Martin (6), Wes Clifton (2), and Sawyer Parks (1). Brayden Phillips led for Huntland with 29 points.

The two teams shot even on percentages. Moore County made 16 baskets for 32 points and three from the 3-point line for 18 points. Similarly, Huntland scored 36 from the floor and another 18 from the perimeter. Moore County shot six of 13 (46 percent) and Huntland manages four of nine (44 percent) from the line.

The 58-56 loss drops the Raiders to 0-1 in district play and 5-8 overall. Huntland advanced to 2-0 in district play and 11-8 overall. It’s early but Fayetteville and Huntland currently sit tied for first place in District 9A play follow by Eagleville (0-1), Moore County (0-1), and Cornersville (0-2).

The Raiders will play two straight district games at home next. They play Fayetteville (6-5, 2-0) on Thursday followed by Eagleville (13-5, 0-1) next Tuesday. Moore County will travel to Cornersville (6-10, 0-2) on Friday, January 20. •

{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.}