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FINAL FOUR! Lady Raiders convincing in win over Dobyns-Bennett

Lady Raider sophomore guard Natalie Barnes works an angle to the basket Wednesday, March 6, 2024 against Dobyns-Bennett. Barnes' 18 led the way for Coffee County in the win. -- Photo by Holly Peterson, THUNDER RADIO WMSR 107.9 FM

Coffee County’s Lady Raiders burst onto the floor at Murphy Center much the way the Lady Raiders left it 31 years ago.

In their first trip back since winning a state championship in 1993, Coffee County punched the Dobyns-Bennett Indians in the mouth, took a 9-0 lead early and went on to win 48-39 in the quarterfinal round of the TSSAA 4A State Basketball Tournament.

“To get that first win means so much for the team, staff and community,” CHS head coach Joe Pat Cope said after the game – a broadcast you heard live on Thunder Radio.

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Coffee County never trailed to the Indians.

MISS THE BROADCAST? CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE AUDIO REPLAY!

In fact, the Lady Raiders led by 14 with a minute to play in the first half behind a strong shooting performance. CHS was 63 percent from the field in the first quarter on the way to a 22-9 lead.

Sophomore guard Natalie Barnes led the way for CHS with 18 points, including a perfect 5-for-5 effort at the stripe. As a team, Coffee county was 21-of -23 (91.3%) from the free-throw line.

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“I thought we did a good job playing inside out today,” said Cope. “When we got opportunities to get to the line we didn’t miss them.”

Junior post Channah Gannon finished the game with 12 points – 8 coming in the first half.

The final seconds tick off of Coffee County’s state quarterfinal win Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

The Lady Raiders went cold in the third quarter, scoring only 6 points and shooting a measly 1-of-7 from the field to allow the Indians to get to within 5 at one point. They never got any closer.

Olivia Vinson added 7 points and freshman point guard Jules Ferrell 6. Gannon led CHS on the boards with 7. Ferrell and Vinson each had 3 assists. Ella Arnold scored 5 points in a 6-minute span off the bench in the first half.

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The win makes Coffee County 34-3 on the year and puts them in the final four of the state. It also makes the Lady Raider program a perfect 4-0 in state tournament games all time.

Coffee County will face the state’s top ranked Bradley Central Bearettes (32-2) in the state semi-finals at 11 a.m. Friday at Murphy Center. The Bearettes easily dispatched of previously unbeaten Clarksville 62-30 on Wednesday. The Bearettes are looking for their second consecutive state championship after winning a Gold Ball in 2023.

Coffee County actually played Bradley Central twice this season – once in a preseason scrimmage in Manchester and again at the Bearette Thanksgiving classic in Cleveland, with Bradley winning by 9. Coffee County had that game tied with 4 minutes to play.

“Bradley Central is a excellent program, very well coached by coach Jason Reuter,” said Cope. “This is what you play for. To take your team and go out there and get on the floor in the biggest moments against the best teams and give them everything you got for 32 minutes and see what happens.”

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Friday’s semi-final game will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio WMSR at 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, Manchester Go Smartphone App and thunder1320.com.

Tickets for Friday’s game can be purchased at the gate for $15 or in advance by clicking here. You can also use the GoFan App (search for TSSAA).

The winner Friday will play for a state championship at 1 p.m. Saturday against either Cleveland or Bartlett.

(PHOTOS BELOW BY HOLLY PETERSON, THUNDER RADIO WMSR 107.9 FM

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