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In the first two rounds of the Smoky Mountain Classic the Central High School Lady Raiders lost squeakers on free throws in the final seconds. Thursday the girls fell to host Gatlinburg-Pittman, 47-45, and on Friday they lost to Ezell-Harding 32-31.
The girls play their final game of the tournament on Saturday.
The losses bring the Lady Raiders’ record to 6-8. Four of the squad’s last five loses have been by less than four points.
On Thursday Coffee County and Gatlinburg-Pittman were tied at 45 with 14 seconds remaining in the game when a Coffee County foul resulted in two successful free throws for the Lady Highlanders. The Coffee-County throw-in was then stolen to seal the Pittman victory.
The dramatic ending, however, came about because the Lady Raiders missed far too many close-in shots, according to Coffee County Coach David Muckle.
A similar scenario unfolded Friday when Ezell-Harding sank a free-throw with 11 seconds remaining to go ahead 32-31.
Despite another disappointing outcome, Muckle complimented his team’s play on Friday.
“I’m pleased with the way we played. I thought we were the aggressor. I thought we won the battle of the boards on both sides, Muckle said.
The Lady Raiders resume their regular season Friday, Jan. 4., at Warren County.