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STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: Historic Raider season comes to an end

Coffee County’s fanbase, pictured here during a free throw by Dobyns-Bennett’s Brady Stump, painted Murphy Center in a sea of red Wednesday, March 16, 2022. — Thunder Radio photo by Holly Peterson

MURFREESBORO — The run had to come to an end sometime.

A magical, Cinderella run to the state tournament that will forever cement the 2021-22 Coffee County Central Red Raider Basketball team in the history books came to a close Wednesday in a 66-52 loss to Dobyns-Bennett High School in the quarter-finals of the TSSAA State Basketball Championships.

The score got slightly lopsided in the end, but didn’t reflect the game.

The Raiders led 15-14 after a quarter and took a 25-22 lead into the locker room. At one point the Raiders led by 8 in the first half at 25-17 on a Brady Nugent breakaway layup. But the Indians hit a a 5-0 run to close the half and quickly seized the lead in the third – going in front 28-27 just 45 seconds into the third quarter.

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Dobyns-Bennett went on to outscored the Raiders 21-12 in the third and the Raiders were unable to recover as the Indians were solid at the free throw line, hitting 17-of-22 (14-18 in the final two periods).

Coffee County was led in scoring by senior guard Aidan Abellana with 11 points. He was 4-for-8 from the field and 3-for-4 at the stripe and was Thunder Radio’s Stone Fort Mortgage Player of the Game.


Dayne Crosslin and Nugent each joined Abellana in double-figures with 10 apiece. Phineas Rollman added 8 points and four offensive rebounds. Connor Shemwell added 7 points, Cooper Reed 4 and Jackson Shemwell 2.

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The Raiders knew they would have to deal with a potent Indian offense and it was hard to stop a team with 5 players averaging in double-figures. The Raiders held Jack Browder 5 points under his season average and Malachi Hale, who averages 15 points per game, didn’t hit a single field goal. But Brady Stump more than filled in the void with 27 points. The senior was 5-for-7 from the three-point line.

Season ends

The loss ends a historic season for the Raiders with a 24-10 record.

Coffee County won the postseason district tournament for the first time since 1979, then went on to win the region tournament for the first time since 1977 with a 10-point fourth quarter comeback and a double overtime win over Walker Valley. The Raiders then went on to beat Stewarts Creek in the substate to reach the state tournament for the first time since 1965.

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