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BASKETBALL: Both Coffee County teams advance to district title round

Brady Wright goes up for a jumper Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Wright scored 17 in the Raiders' win over Lincoln County and made multiple hustle plays on defense. -- Photo by Holly Peterson, THUNDER RADIO WMSR

Both top-seeded Coffee County basketball teams handled their business Saturday afternoon at the patch, securing wins in the District 9-4A semi-finals to advance into the district championship games this week.

LADY RAIDERS 47, SHELBYVILLE 29

Defense is slump proof and the Coffee County Central Lady Raiders (AP no. 4) proved that Saturday.

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Shots weren’t falling but Coffee County held Shelbyville to just 14 second half points and used a 13-1 run to open the third quarter and put away the Eaglettes of Shelbyville, pulling away for a 47-29 win.

Channah Gannon goes up for 2 of her 9 third quarter points Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. — Photo by Holly Peterson, THUNDER RADIO WMSR

“Our defense was so good in the first half,” said CHS head coach Joe Pat Cope. “Shots just weren’t falling. We were 5 of 24 in the first half. I thought we played our butt off on defense and I was proud of their effort.”

Leading 19-15 at the half, Coffee County focused hard on working the ball in to Channah Gannon in the third quarter. The junior post finished with 9 points in the third quarter and scored 11 of her 13 in the second half.

Olivia Vinson and Natalie Barnes joined Gannon with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman point guard Jules Ferrell added 7.

“I think the layoff affected our shooting some,” explained Ferrell of the 8 day break between games. “Because no matter how many shots you take you can’t replicate game speed.”

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Coffee County forced 17 turnovers in the win and held all-district guard Paige Blackburn to 6 points. Blackburn torched Coffee County for 24 in their first meeting in January.

“That was a big focus for us all week,” said Cope. “She’s a good player and we had a scout player who was Paige all week long. We didn’t want her catching fire on us.”

Lilly Brown led the Eaglettes with 11 points.

The win advances Coffee County to the District 9-4A Championship against Lincoln County at 7:30 p.m. Monday night in Manchester. The game will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio WMSR 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, Manchester Go app or by clicking here.

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The win also guarantees the Lady Raiders a home quarterfinal game in the region tournament, which will be played Friday, Feb. 23.

RED RAIDERS 52, LINCOLN COUNTY 40

Coffee County showed all the signs of an 8-day layoff early against Lincoln County Saturday.

The Raiders only scored 6 points in the first quarter, then Brady Wright jump started the machine with a 9 point first half on his way to a 17 point game, the Raiders had the lead by halftime and never gave it up in a 52-40 win over the Falcons.

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Wright made up for a slow start from Cooper Reed and Jackson Shemwell. The Falcons held Reed scoreless through the first 15 minutes of game play and Shemwell didn’t score until an 11 point second half. The two ended up combining for 21 points.

The Raiders also took good care of the ball with only 4 turnovers to the Falcons 15.

Maddox Franklin led the Falcons with 13 points, including back-to-back 3 pointers in the fourth to keep the game interesting.

The Raiders sealed things in the final 3:30. Wright made a bucket and drew a foul for a 3-point play with 3:25 to play and Cayden Trail followed suit with 1:54 to play to push the Raider lead to 45-36 and the Falcons never recovered.

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Trail finished with 5 points, Courtland Farrar 4, Jaiden Warren 3 and Camden Hunt 2.

The win advances the Raiders to the District 9-4A championship at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night (Feb. 20) against Columbia at Coffee County.

The game will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio WMSR 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, Manchester Go app or by clicking here.

The win also guarantees the Raiders a home quarterfinal game in the region tournament, which will be played Saturday, Feb. 24.

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