The games looked very different. But in the end they were both wins for Coffee County Central basketball Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Raiders punched the Lady Pioneers in the mouth from the opening tip then flexed on their way to a 82-35 district win. Meanwhile, the Raiders boys threw haymakers early, then had to hold on for dear life to win 56-53 and put a the first blemish on the Pioneer boys district record.
LADY RAIDERS 82, WARREN COUNTY 35
The Lady Raiders had their way with Warren County in every phase of the game Saturday – powering to a 82-35 win behind 24 points from sophomore guard Natalie Barnes.
Barnes was just one of four players who reached double figures – joined by Jules Ferrell with 17, Channah Gannon with 16 and Olivia Vinson with 14.
For Gannon, it was her first points since returning from ankle surgery in early December and her 16 came in only about 5 minutes of game time.
“I felt better tonight, I was a little scared last night that I would hurt it again,” said Gannon after beating Warren County. “Today I felt stronger, jumping off two feet and not falling away or favoring my ankle.”
The Lady Raiders built a 70-30 lead by the end of the third quarte rand then substituted liberally through the fourth.
Pressure defense forced 22 Lady Pioneer turnovers compared to fewer than 5 for CHS. The Lady Raiders were 21-of-29 at the stripe.
The win makes Coffee County 20-3 on the season ahead of a big week in district play with Columbia visiting on Tuesday and road trips to Warren County Friday and Lincoln County Saturday. All games this week tip at 6 p.m. and can be heard live on Thunder Radio 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, Manchester Go App and thunder1320.com
RED RAIDER BOYS 56, WARREN COUNTY 53
The Red Raiders raced out to a commanding 37-13 lead over the first place Pioneers, then clung to dear life behind a furious Warren County rally.
The Pioneers had possession with 2.5 seconds to play and a chance to tie the game but Treyton Terry’s last chance heave was after the buzzer and missed the mark.
Despite all the drama down the stretch, Warren County never led in the game aside from an early 2-0 advantage. The Pioneers never were able to tie or pull in front late.
But it certainly was close.
The Raiders saw their 24 point advantage 1 minute into the second half dwindle over the next 15 minutes. The Raiders only scored 9 third quarter points and didn’t score in the fourth quarter until Jackson Shemwell buried a jumper from the elbow with 3:50 to play.
But Coffee County did hit the free throws they needed down the stretch – including a pair from Courtland Farrar with 37 seconds to play, two more from Cooper Reed with 18 seconds to play and 1 from Jayden Carter with under 5 seconds to play. Overall, CHS was 19-of-21 at the line.
It was a far cry from the first half dominance. Jackson Shemwell went wild early, scoring 10 first quarter points. Then after leaving with foul trouble, Cooper Reed tossed the Raiders on his shoulders to the tune of a 16-point second quarter on his way to a 26 point night.
Warren County cranked up the ball pressure in the second half and the Raiders were unable to adjust for a while. CHS had only 2 first half turnovers then committed 11 second half turnovers. Devin Fish finished with 15 for the Pioneers and nearly pulled them back in the game. Fish the score to 45-42 with 3 minutes to play to get Warren County within one possession for the first time since the first quarter. But Reed answered with a 3 pointer to give the Raiders just enough life to get across the finish line.
The win moves the Raiders to 12-10 overall and 3-1 in District 9-4A. The Pioneers were 5-0 in district play before the loss.
The two teams will meet again Friday, Feb. 2 at Warren County.