For the first time in over 40 years, Coffee County Central’s Red Raider basketball team has brought home a district tournament championship.
Coffee County fought through an unlikely Shelbyville rally Saturday night and left Shelbyville’s Rick Insell Gymnasium with a 53-51overtime win in the District 6-4A championship.
The Raiders led 43-32 with 2:30 to play before the Golden Eagles caught fire. Shelbyville hit 5 3-pointers in the final 2:18 of regulation – going 5-for-5 behind the arc down the stretch – to comeback and tie the game at 49-49. The Eagles completed the comeback on a 3-pointer from Joe Harris.
But in overtime coffee County took control early and kept it, going up 51-49 on a steal and a layup by Phineas Rollman, who added a free throw with 34 seconds on the clock. Dayne Crosslin went 1-of-2 at the line with 5.5 seconds left to push the Raider lead to 53-51.
Shelbyville’s Jason Ragland tried to penetrate for another game tying bucket, but the Raiders poked the ball away before he could ever get off a shot and Red Raider Connor Shemwell scooped up the loose ball as time expired.
The win gives the Raiders a 20-win season – improving them to 20-9. The win also gives the Raiders a 4-0 season sweep over Shelbyville and the district tournament championship – the first in over 40 years.
The Raiders led by 2 at the end of the first and second quarters and took a 32-29 lead into the fourth period. Coffee County got a big night from Dayne Crosslin, who piled up 17 points , including three 3-pointers. Coffee County also picked up 11 points from Shemwell and 10 from senior Aidan Abellana – who ran the point guard position well all night.
The Raiders nearly cost themselves at the free throw line – missing some shots at the line late. CHS finished 9-of-19 at the line and had 15 turnovers on the night.
The win marks the first time the CHS Red Raider and Lady Raider basketball teams have both won their respective district tournaments in modern history.
THIS GAME WAS BROADCAST LIVE ON THUNDER RADIO. CLICK HERE FOR THE BROADCAST REPLAY.
Several Red Raiders picked up accolades. Coffee County’s Abellana, Shemwell, Rollman and Crosslin were named District 6-4A all-district. Crosslin was named to the all-tournament team and Shemwell was named District Tournament MVP.
The Raiders will host the Region 3-4A quarter-finals next Saturday, Feb. 26 at Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gymnasium. Tip will likely be at 7 p.m. against an opponent to be determined. Thunder Radio will broadcast the game – 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, Manchester Go app and thunder1320.com.