The Coffee County Middle School boys' basketball team's trend of low-scoring battles continued on Monday, November 4. Back at home to take on North Franklin, the Red Raiders improved to 2-1 following a 32-22 victory.
"They made it interesting toward the end. They tried to speed us up and it kind of flustered us a little bit," Coach Jonathan Oliver said. "I was really proud of our defensive effort once again."
The CMS defense held its own and helped allow the team to hold a slight lead in the first half.
A defensive adjustment by South to man-to-man coverage worked in the Raider offense's favor in the second half. The team increased its lead and was able to push ahead to double-digit margins.
"Once they went man, I was licking my chops because I knew that we were gonna have some open cuts," Oliver explained. "It just opened up for us and we got some easy buckets against their man."
Both offenses got off to a slow start in the first quarter, with CMS ahead 4-2 at its close. The second quarter got off to a back-and-forth start, until Ethan Hargrove hit a shot with three minutes left in the first half to make it a 10-9 CMS lead.
The Raiders held on for the half's remainder to lead 12-9 at the break.
After South opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to tie it, the Raiders hit 14 unanswered to take their largest lead of the night. South was able to outshoot CMS in the fourth quarter 10-6, but the Raiders held on to win by 10.
Ahead of this week's tournament in Murfreesboro, Oliver said CMS will need to continue to play strong defense for the team to stay competitive.
"We will definitely have to have the same kind of effort defensively that we had Friday night, tonight," Oliver said. "You kind of go into it knowing you're probably going to have to sit back and grind it out and hope they're not hitting from outside."
Cooper Reed led the Raider offense with 10 points. He was followed by Jackson Shemwell and Brendon Sheppard with seven each. Hargrove and Evan Kirby both netted four points each.