Flu bug bites Lady Raiders in conference championship

Ava McIntosh dribbles to the basket against a Warren County defender during the CTC tournament in McMinnville. While outlasting Warren County, the flu bug depleted the middle school’s squad for the finals against White County.

If the Coffee County Middle School girls’ team looked sick after losing in the Central Tennessee Conference finals last week, it’s because most of the team was.

Despite a big chunk of the roster fighting the flu bug, the Lady Raiders were able to power their way to the CTC finals, though White County was too much to overcome in the finals. The Lady Warriors completed a clean sweep of the CTC hardware, beating Coffee County 36-29 in the champi­onship game.

Coffee County had hoped it could flip the script in the tournament and surpass its CTC rival, but those best-laid plans seemed to go up in smoke when several players started feeling ill before the team’s first tournament game.

Short-handed, Coffee County was able to push past Tullahoma West in the quarterfinals 34-11 last Monday, but it needed to muster every ounce of energy to get by Warren County in the semifinals Thursday.

Reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s famous flu game, Olivia Vinson hung her head on the bench and soaked up every second of rest during timeouts against the Lady Pioneers. Visibly ex­hausted, she found a way to summon strength when it mattered most.

Warren County forced overtime with a late 3-pointer, then took two one-point leads in extra time. Both times her team faced a deficit, Vinson was able to catch the inbounds against swarming pres­sure, race 94 feet with defenders converging, weave around all five Warren County play­ers and finish at the rim.

Vinson put the final nail in War­ren County’s coffin with seven sec­onds left in overtime, hitting a leaning lefty layup to give her team a 37-36 victory.

Having to go to extra time seemed to really fatigue Vinson and her under-the-weather teammates when they had to take the floor again 24 hours later against a rested White County squad.

Coffee County fell behind 16-2 in the first quarter, sealing their fate in the finals before six minutes had even ticked off the clock.

The Lady Raiders did their best to battle back, riding Vinson’s team-high 12 points along the way, but it was too much of a deficit to overcome.

Taylor Anthony, who didn’t play in the team’s victory over Tullahoma West earlier in the week, finished with eight points in the finals. Bella Lawson finished with six points in the finals, while Channah Gannon scored two and Natalie Barnes hit an early free throw.

Coffee County 34

Tullahoma West 11

Lady Raider scoring – Olivia Vinson 14, Channah Gannon 6, So­phie McInturff 4, Addi Sartain 3, Ava McIntosh 2, Bella Lawson 2, Natalie Barnes 2 and Samantha Kirby 1

Coffee County 37

Warren County 36

Final/OT

Lady Raider scoring – Olivia Vinson 10, Bella Lawson 8, Taylor Anthony 8, Samantha Kirby 5, Ava McIntosh 2, Channah Gannon 2, Natalie Barnes 2

Red Raiders fall in OT

The Coffee County Middle School Raiders had its run in the CTC tournament cut short in the semifi­nals, losing a 35-32 heartbreaker in overtime to Warren County. Scor­ing for Coffee County was Cooper Reed and Brendan Sheppard with 10 points apiece, Ethan Hargrove with 9, Jackson Shemwell with 2 and Col­ter Neel with 1.

In the quarterfinals, Coffee County beat Franklin South 40-29. Cooper Reed had 17 to lead the way, followed by Hargrove with 12, Sh­emwell with 6, Sheppard with 4 and Neel with 1.

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