Demarco Moore, Sports Writer
MANCHESTER, Tenn. — It was a streak that many of the current members of the Coffee County Central High School girls’ weren’t around for.
The Lady Raiders had suffered an unprecedented 17-straight losses at the hands of District 8-AAA rival Lawrence County High School.
That streak is dead and gone after Coffee County’s 60-48 win on Friday night inside Joe Frank Patch Memorial Gym, the district opener for both teams.
Lady Wildcats lose their head coach
With 3:41 remaining in the first quarter, Lawrence County High School girls’ coach Brian Porter received back-to-back technical fouls and was ejected for the remainder of the game.
It was an unfortunate start for the Lady Wildcats, who would trail 15-5 after freshman Bella Vinson was awarded six free throws as a result of Porter’s ejection.
Senior Kenzie Doss knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to stop the early bleeding, as the Lady Raiders (6-0 overall) took a 23-15 lead at the end of the quarter.
Doss scored 14 first-half points on four 3-pointers, but was held to just three points in the second half.
Doss went from hot to cold in the second half thanks to the on-the-ball defense from Coffee County sophomore Ellie Graham, who draws the opponent’s best offensive player each night.
Graham led a Lady Raider defense that finished the game with eight steals and held Lawrence County to nine points in the entire second half.
Fighting through injuries
Coffee County senior Alliyah Williams’ playing status was uncertain prior to Friday night’s district game. The senior had injured her right knee in a practice drill, and had missed the last two games as a result.
But Williams not only started against Lawrence County, she contributed at both ends of the floor, scoring eight points and pulling down seven rebounds — four of which came on the offensive end.
Crashing the glass
Williams wasn’t the only one hitting the boards for the Lady Raiders.
Sophomore Jenna Garretson battled inside the paint all night for points and rebounds. She flirted with a double-double, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds.
As a team, Coffee County pulled down 12 offensive rebounds out of 26 total.
Vinson scored a team-high 21 points, drained three 3-pointers and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
The Lady Raiders led by as many as 17 points in the second half.
Red Raiders 52, Lawrence County 51
The Coffee County boys’ basketball team is proving early on that it can handle the pressure of late-game situations.
The Red Raiders proved this with the way they defended the final play in Friday night’s 52-51 win over District 8-AAA nemesis Lawrence County.
Hunter Hagan’s 3-pointer forced the game’s first a tie at 48-48 with 1:31 left in regulation. The Wildcats knocked down seven on the night.
Coffee County led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but a litany of turnovers and the 3-point shooting of Lawrence County helped the Wildcats hang around for long enough to cause a dramatic finish.
Two of senior Garrett Booth’s six points gave the Red Raiders the lead with 1:20 left, and were followed up by 1-and-1 free throws by De’Aaron Rozier and Harley Hinshaw to push it to 52-48.
Garrett Martin drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one point with 23 seconds left, and Lawrence County forced a turnover to get the final shot.
The Wildcats inbounded near the scorers’ table to Martin, who dribbled into Booth and Darius Rozier and was forced to pass to Hagan.
Hagan launched a deep 3-pointer, but the shot missed right, signaling a win for the Raiders.
Darius Rozier finished the game with 14 points, 14 assists and four blocks on a night where Coffee County totaled 39 rebounds (13 offensive).
Lance Pope led Lawrence County with 18 points.
(Figures after player’s last name denote field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted and total points.)
Lady Raiders (60)
Bella Vinson 2-5 8-8 21, Jenna Garretson 7-11 0-0 14, Alliyah 3-4 2-4 8, Abby Morgan 2-5 1-2 8, Ashley 1-1 1-2 6, Ellie Graham 0-3 0-0 3
Team totals: 15-30 (Field goals), 12-16 (Free throws)
3-point goals: 6-12 (Bella Vinson 3-4, Abby Morgan 1-1, Ellie Graham 1-2, Ashley Starks 1-2, Morgan Jones 0-1, Alliyah Williams 0-1, Jacey Vaughn 0-1)
Red Raiders (52)
Darius Rozier 1-8 0-1 14, De’Aaron Rozier 6-10 1-3 13, Harley Hinshaw 4-8 1-2 9, Grey Riddle 3-6 2-3 8, Garrett Booth 3-7 0-0 6, Andrew Mahaffey 1-3 0-0 2
Team totals: 18-43 (Field goals), 4-10 (Free throws)
3-point goals: 4-10 (Darius Rozier 4-6, De’Aaron Rozier 0-1, Russell Smythia 0-1, Andrew Mahaffey 0-2)
NEXT GAME: Home versus Huntland on Monday, Dec. 4 (6 p.m.)
Reach Demarco Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter, @iam__demo