Hollywood scrips are rarely written better.
The last time Coffee County Central basketball went to the TSSAA state basketball tournament was in 1965 – Allan Taylor played on that team.
Now Taylor’s son – Red Raider head coach Andrew Taylor – has led the Raiders back to another one.
Coffee County jumped in front of Stewarts Creek 6-0 early and led wire to wire in front of a packed Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gymnasium Monday night in Manchester, going on to a 57-50 win in the TSSAA State Sectional.
Coffee County now advances to next week’s TSSAA State Boys Tournament in Murfreesboro – down to the elite 8 in Tennessee.
“These guys have earned this,” said Coffee County head coach Andrew Taylor.
The Raiders improve to 24-9 on the season with the win over Stewarts Creek Tuesday. They will draw Dobyns Bennett (30-6 overall) in the opening round of the state tournament. That game will be played at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 16 at MTSU’s Murphy Center. The tournament is single elimination.
Stewarts Creek is eliminated from the postseason with the loss.
Monday night in Manchester, Coffee County controlled the game from the tip. The Raiders smothered the Red Hawks with defense, taking an 18-12 lead into the locker room.
Coffee County flirted with blowing Stewarts Creek out in the third quarter, pulling ahead 35-18. But the Red Hawks hit an 8-0 run to close the quarter and keep things interesting.
Big shots in big situations closed the win for the Raiders.
Junior Raider Dayne Crosslin buried a 3 with 1:30 to play after the Red Hawks had cut the deficit to 7. Connor Shemwell all but iced the game with 56 seconds left on a hook shot in the paint to push the CHS back up to 10. Shemwell led all scorers with 19 points and was named Stone Fort Mortgage Player of the game. He also turned in 8 rebounds – nearing a double-double.
Crosslin had 11 and Aidan Abellana with 9 big points, including a 3 pointer.
Senior Phineas Rollman led all players with 9 rebounds and had 6 assists to go along with 3 points.