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Lady Raiders stumble in region semi finals

Jalie Ruehling plays defense Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. -- Photo by Holly Peterson, Thunder Radio

The region semifinal round has been the hurdle Coffee County can’t get past.

Unfortunately, the Lady Raiders will have to wait another year and try again.

Coffee County turned in perhaps its worst performance of the year at an inopportune time Monday. The Lady Raiders turned the ball over 26 times and only shot 27 percent from the field in a 50-37 loss to Cleveland Monday night at Bradley Central High School – ending Coffee County’s season in the round of 32.

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After a slow start and a 21-13 halftime deficit, Coffee County looked to be on track early in the third. The Lady Raiders cut the deficit to 2 at 20-22 and had possession with a chance to tie or take the lead. But that never happened.

Cleveland proceeded to go on a 15-2 run while Coffee County endured a nearly 7 minute scoring drought that spanned the end of the third and the first 5:30 of the fourth quarter.

Lady Raider turnovers were an issue, as they were in their other two losses. CHS had a season high 26 turnovers to Cleveland’s 13.

Coffee County’s only lead in the game was at 2-0 in the opening moments. Otherwise, Cleveland led wire to wire, pulling ahead by as many as 17 with 1:39 to play.

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Coffee County never had offensive rhythm. The Lady Raiders were a season worst 0-for-15 from the 3-point line. CHS was missing freshman Natalie Barnes and her 10.4 points per game due to illness.

Chloe Gannon finished with 15 points to lead the way for Coffee County. Emaleigh Tarpley finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. She was named Thunder Radio / Stone Fort Mortgage player of the game.

Meanwhile, Cleveland had 3 players reach double-digit points, led by Paige Moody and Lauren Hurst with 15 apiece. Cleveland shot 43% from the field.

The Loss ends the season for Coffee County with a 30-3 overall record. CHS reached as high as No. 2 in the state associated press poll. They fall two wins shy of the programs first state tournament berth since 1993.

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Coffee County also picked up a district championship again for the sixth consecutive year with a win over Warren County in the district championship.

Cleveland will play Bradley Central for a region title Wednesday and then will play the state sectional for a state berth on Saturday.

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