Coffee County Central barely had enough basketball players to even field a team Monday afternoon.
The ones who could play scratched and clawed, and a few seasoned veterans helped lead an 18-0 fourth quarter run as the Lady Raiders beat Albertville 59-52 in the 21st Annual Wills Valley Shoot Out in Ft. Payne, Alabama.
“You never know who is going to be here on any given night… who we may have available to us,” explained Lady Raider senior Elli Chumley, whose 15 points and presence on the board were a big factor in the Coffee County win. “This was an chance for some other people.”
Coffee County was missing two of its top three scorers – Chloe Gannon (14ppg) and Olivia Vinson (10ppg) – due to illness. Also missing were Channah Gannon, who has been a regular in the lineup, and Ava McIntosh. Coffee County played with only a six-person squad.
Trailing 24-22 at the break, Coffee County fell behind by 12 in the fourth quarter at 51-39. Then the Lady Raiders found another gear behind veterans Chumley, Jalie Ruehling and Kiya Ferrell.
Chumley scored 11 of her 15 in the second half, and Ruehling caught fire from all over the floor. The junior point guard finished with a game-high 17-points – 14 came in the second half. She dropped four 3-pointers and scored on a a three-point play to close out the third quarter. It was a season high in points for Ruehling. Ferrell was steady in the post with 16 points – a season high.
Also helping to fuel that decisive 18-0 run was 7 forced fourth-quarter turnovers. The long arms of Lady Raider Kiya Ferrell complicated the inbound process for Albertville – leading to Lady Raider steals and buckets.
“They really struggled once we got Kiya guarding that inbound pass,” said CHS head coach Joe Pat Cope.
Alivia Reel scored six points for Coffee County and Remi Benjamin had 5.
It was the fifth straight win for the Lady Raiders, who improve to 8-3. They will play at 5 p.m.. Tuesday against Ft. Payne in Alabama. Coach Cope hopes to have some players return to the roster.
THIS GAME WAS BROADCAST LIVE ON THUNDER RADIO. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE BROADCAST REPLAY.
–Thunder radio photos by Holly Peterson