Coffee County and Blackman appeared destined for overtime Tuesday night.
But sophomore guard Natalie Barnes was having none of it.
With the final seconds ticking off the clock and the score tied at 48, Lady Raider Olivia Vinson’s game winning attempt was off the mark. But Barnes crashed in from the corner, snagged the rebound and put it up and in as she was falling away to give Coffee County a 50-48 win over the perennial state powerhouse Blackman Blaze.
“We weren’t going to overtime,” Barnes said during her postgame interview with Thunder Radio Sports.
“We had to pump it up a little when Channah (Gannon) went down (with an injury) and we did,” added Barnes.
The final bucket for Barnes was her 20th point of the night that included big bucket after big bucket – 16 of those points coming in the second half.
The big finish came after a Blaze run. Coffee County led 45-36 early in the fourth after a pair of Vinson free throws and appeared to be in the drivers seat. But Blackman took off on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 45-45 with 2:20 to play.
Coffee County went ahead a minute later when Vinson found Barnes in the corner for a 3 to take a 48-45 lead.
“That’s a really good basketball team,” said CHS head coach Joe Pat Cope. “Our girls played incredibly well.”
The win is Coffee County’s second straight over Blackman after beating the Blaze last season when Blackman’s buzzer beater wasn’t released before the horn.
Coffee County improves to 7-1 with the win, which was Cope’s 300th career win. It also helps Coffee County avoid back-to-back losses after losing to defending 4A state champions Bradley Central on Saturday. The Lady Raiders haven’t lost back-to-back games since December 28th and 29th of 2018.
Freshman guard Jules Ferrell had 10 points in the win. Vinson added 9. Gannon had 7 before leaving early in the second half with a leg injury.
The Lady Raiders will host Tullahoma at 6 p.m. Friday. That game will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio WMSR 107.9 FM, 1320 AM.