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Comeback falls short, season ends for Lady Raiders in region semi-finals

CHS Senior Bella Vinson takes a blow to the head on her way to the basket against Oakland Tuesday night, March 2, 2021 in Manchester. Vinson scored 16, but the Lady Raiders fell to Oakland in the region semi-finals. — Thunder Radio photo by Holly Peterson

Hopefully, history won’t remember the 2020-2021 Lady Raider basketball season for just one game – or even just one quarter.

Coffee County Central held a 15-11 lead early in the second quarter against visiting Oakland. But the Lady Patriots went on a tear, ripping off 21 unanswered points to take a 32-15 lead into the halftime break. Oakland held on in the end, beating Coffee County 43-38 and ending the Lady Raiders season just two wins shy of a coveted return to the state tournament.

CHS made a run at the lead in the second half, but could never complete the comeback. CHS got the deficit back to 10 with 6:50 to play, and then to 8 with 3:38 on the clock on a bucket by junior Elli Chumley.

Senior Bella Vinson buried a 30-foot 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 5 at 38-33 . But the Lady Raiders followed that with a pair of missed free throws – an area CHS struggled all night.

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Vinson hit a pair of free throws with 6.6 seconds to play to cut the score to 41-38, but the Lady Raiders couldn’t get a steal and Oakland iced the game at the free throw line.

The Lady Raiders were led in scoring by Vinson with 16. The senior finishes her high school career as the all-time leading scorer for the Central Lady Raiders with over 2,000 career points.

Sophomores Alivia Reel and Chloe Gannon added 8 for the Lady Raiders. Elli Chumley had 3 and Jalie Ruehling added 3.

The loss ends the Lady Raider season with a 28-2 overall record, a District 8-AAA regular season championship and a tournament championship. The Lady Raiders were the only team in District 8-AAA to advance past the region quarterfinal round.

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