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CHAMPS: defense leads Lady Raiders to Carolina Invitational Championship

The Coffee County Central Lady Raiders pose with their hardware after a 38-31 win Thursday morning, Dec. 30, 2021 to claim the Ashley River Division Championship at the Carolina Invitational.

An early tip-off in the championship of the Carolina Invitational Ashley River Division led to an unsurprisingly sluggish offense for the CHS Lady Raiders Thursday morning.

But the defensive effort for the Lady Raiders was awake and well in the 8 a.m. (eastern) game and locked down on Cabell Midland, WV to take a 38-31 win and the tournament championship.

“That was a good team we just beat,” said CHS head coach Joe Pat Cope.

Coffee County struggled to find its offensive identity early – trailing 6-5 after the first quarter and down 16-15 at the half. It was the first time the Lady Raiders trailed after a quarter or at half of the Carolina Invitational.

But Coffee County woke up in the second half behind a strong two periods from junior guard Alivia Reel, who had a couple of steals and big rebounds in the fourth quarter. She went 4-of-4 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter and knocked down a big 3-pointer. She scored 9 of her team-high 11 in the second half.

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Post Chloe Gannon scored all 8 of her points in the second half. Kiya Ferrell pitched in 7 points, Elli Chumley 4, Jalie Ruehling and Olivia Vinson 3 apiece and Channah Gannon 2.

Reel was named Thunder Radio Stone Fort Mortgage Player of the Game. Elli Chumley was named Carolina Invitational MVP.

The win marks 10 in a row for the Lady Raiders, who improve to 13-3 overall. They will have a few days off before their first district game of the season – Friday, Jan. 7 at Shelbyville. Tip is set for 6 p.m. (boys to follow) and you can hear all the action on Thunder Radio – 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, 106.7 FM, Manchester Go app and The Lady Raiders return home on Jan. 11 to host Franklin County – which can also can be heard live on Thunder Radio network.

The Lady Raiders celebrate with their tournament championship hardware at Folly Beach, South Carolina. CHS won the Carolina Invitational 38-31 Thursday morning, Dec. 30, 2021.
Lady Raider senior Elli Chumley was named Carolina Invitational Most Valuable Player.

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