The Lady Raiders went into Stewarts Creek on Feb. 4 for the final match of the TMSAA Section 2 Tournament. The Lady Raiders had to contend with state powerhouse Blackman to earn their way to the state middle school tournament, but the Lady Raiders would not be denied as the team never trailed against the Blaze.
The Middle School jumped ahead four points at the end of the first quarter with a 13-9 lead. Olivia Vinson started cooking early with seven points including a free throw in the quarter, while Channah Gannon scored four points including two free throws. The team shut the door on Blackman in the second quarter with smothering defense that only allowed the Blaze two scores for the quarter.
The second half was a slow bleed for Blackman as the team dominated the time of possession. This pushed Blackman into foul trouble as the Blaze attempted to force turnovers, which the Lady Raiders quickly exploited with a 90 percent free throw percentage in the second half. The discipline of the Lady Raiders gave the team the 39-26 win and an invitation to the final four.
High School Coach Joe Pat Cope was complementary of the Middle School squad saying that, “Coach Pearson does things the right way, and his team plays the game about as well as he has seen.”
The leading scorer for the CMS Lady Raiders was Vinson with 11. Vinson was joined by Gannon with nine, Natalie Barnes with eight, Ava McIntosh with six, Peyton Graham and Kaylee Mason with two, and Sophie McInturff with one. The Lady Raiders Final Four debut will be on Feb. 12 at Rockvale High School.