Raiders get Cinderella win over Santa Fe in honor of classmate

The Raiders played their regional quarterfinal game in memory of a classmate, Isaiah Petty, who died Saturday morning in a car accident. Moore County beat Santa Fe 57-53. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

By Tabitha Evans Moore | Editor & Publisher

SANTA FE, Tenn. — Saturday night’s Region 5A Quarterfinal match up between the Moore County Raiders and the Santa Fe Wildcats was an emotional game.

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.

Sant Fe crowd shows incredible sportsmanship

When they entered Santa Fe’s gym, they were greeted with an outpouring of love. As the Raiders walked in wearing shirts with Isaiah’s football jersey number, #81, on the front, they looked around to see signs saying Moore County Strong and Fly High Isaiah and Santa Fe Stands Behind Moore County. Most of the Santa Fe fans were wearing blue ribbons in honor of Isaiah. The Santa Fe fans — even the student section — stood and cheered as the starters were announced. There was a moment of silence and prayer before the game in honor of Isaiah. The Moore County players, coaching staff, and fans were visibly touched.

And then the most amazing thing happened.

Somewhere in the state of Tennessee, a #4 seed was gonna beat a #1 seed in the regional tournaments but could it be Moore County? Santa Fe boasted an impressive 8-2 district record and beat District 10 boogeyman Richland in the championship game to earn their number one spot. They also boasted a star sophomore guard, Auden Slaughter, who rarely scored fewer than 24 points per game.

And on Saturday, the starting five for Moore County — Will Baker, Dawson White, Alex Copeland, Keller Morey, and Peyton Martin — put their heads down and with solemn looks on their faces managed the 57-53 win.

Moore County trails by three at the half

The two teams tied in the first period. Moore County got on the boards first with a short jumper from Alex Copeland. Following a set of turnovers, the Wildcats answered with point from Macon Atkinson. The two teams traded turnovers again for the next minute, then Auden Slaughter made a bucket. Copeland brought the score back to even, 4-4, with a couple from the line. Atkinson — who scored all but two of Santa Fe’s first period points — answered. Then, Keller Morey drained a 3-point shot to give Moore County back the lead. Adkinson answered and Copeland matched to make it 9-9 with 3:41 to play in the first.

On their next possession, Atkinson swished a three to give the Wildcats back the lead. Then, Will Baker drained a trey to give Moore County the lead — prompting a quick Santa Fe time out.

Following the break, Santa Fe used a basket and a free throw to pull ahead by two with under a minute remaining. Will Baker ended the period with a basket to tie the game at 14-14.

Santa Fe put together a six-point run early in the second period to put the Wildcats ahead, 22-16, before Dawson White made a three to cut the lead in half. The Wildcats then managed four unanswered to build their lead back to seven.

With less than a minute to play in the half, Alex Copeland drove inside — drawing the foul. He made both to cut the Wildcat lead to five then Will Baker hit a jumper with 17 seconds to play to cut that lead to three. At the end of the first half, it was Moore County 23, Santa Fe 26.

Determined Raider defense gets the W

Santa Fe managed their big period following the break and Moore County matched them nearly point-for-point. The Wildcats put together an 11-point run to get up 40-29, then the Raiders battled back in the final two minutes with treys from Alex Copeland and Will Baker. Dawson White then noticed a Santa Fe player stumble, snagged the ball, and ran through a defender on the fast break for the final points of the third period. At the end of three, Moore County trailed by six points, 46-40.

Moore County managed to match their 17 third period points in the fourth while holding the Wildcats to just seven to win the game. At around the four minute mark, Will Baker hit a 3-point shot to give Moore County the lead, 50-48. Keller Morey made two more to build the lead to four.

On the next Santa Fe possession, Landon Evans stole the ball and ran it back for the layup, then Santa Fe fouled Keller Morey —sending him to the line for one-and-one. He missed his first shot and Santa Fe rebounded. On their end of the court, Morey and Alex Copeland stopped feet planted, hands up forming a Columbia blue wall and Adkinson’s shot bounced off the rim. Peyton Martin then dove for the rebound along with a Santa Fe player for a jump ball that went Moore County’s way with 1:47 to play.

The Wildcats double-teamed Keller Morey on the inbounds pass and Alex Copeland threw it to Dawson White instead who drew the foul. He missed from the line and Santa Fe snagged the rebound. On their end of the court, a Santa Fe player mishandled the dribble and a tenacious Copeland fought for the ball. He threw it to Will Baker who passed it to White who doggedly dribbled through Santa Fe defenders to get down court.

On the ensuing play, Will Baker spotted Keller Morey with a wide open lane. Morey got the lay up and the and one. His shot from the line gave Moore County a five-point lead with around a minute to play.

On the next Santa Fe possession, a trey bounced in and out of the goal (thanks Isaiah) and Will Baker rebounded. Moore County turned the ball over, then Auden Slaughter hit a 3-point shot to make it a two-point game with 43 seconds to play.

Keller Morey brought the ball down on Moore County’s next possession and threw a lightening-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.

As time expired, an exhausted Moore County squad met at mid court with their teammates for a muted but emotional celebration.

Alex Copeland led for Moore County with 21 points followed by Keller Morey with 16 points and Will Baker with 12 more. Dawson White scored eight for the Raiders. Macon Adkinson led for Santa Fe with 17.

Moore County will now move on to a Region 5A semifinal game against Wayne County in Cornersville on Tuesday night at 7:45 p.m. You can watch it live on the NFHS Network or we’ll give live score updates throughout the game. •

{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.}

4 replies »

  1. It was an awesome game to watch and tough for anyone to have to lose. If we had to lose to anyone on this particular night, I’m glad it was Moore County. Our prayers go out to the Petty family and the community.

    -Ronnie Pack
    Santa Fe Alum, Class of 1983

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