Central High School girls' basketball traveled down to Tullahoma Tuesday night for the latest edition of the team's chief rivalry game of the season. The Lady Raiders needed an extra four minutes, but the girls came through in overtime for a 62-55 win over the Lady Wildcats.
"That's one for the ages you know. You can throw records out the window with this game," Coach Joe Pat Cope said afterward. "We're very fortunate to stay in here and keep grinding and come out with a victory."
In a recurring trend since the team's start to 2019, the Lady Raiders began slower on offense, playing against tough, physical competition. Bella Vinson got CHS on the board first with a three-pointer, but it wasn't long after that Tullahoma took the lead with just over four minutes in the first quarter.
Neck-and-neck for the next several minutes, Abby Morgan knocked in a shot to make it a 10-9 CHS lead to start the second quarter.
Back-and-forth lead changes continued through the end of the half, with neither team able to break away from one another. CHS was able to break out of a 19-19 tie off a free throw from Jacey Vaughn, putting the team up by one at halftime.
Through the third quarter, both teams again took slim leads at various points. Down 27-25 with 3:30 on the clock, Vaughn hit a three-pointer and two free throws to again put CHS up by one at the close of the quarter, this time 30-29.
After taking a 35-31 lead early in the fourth, the Lady Raiders again found themselves looking up at Tullahoma with time ticking away. With a six-point Lady Wildcat lead with under a minute to play, Vaughn hit a three-pointer to make it 45-42 with 38 seconds.
Following a Tullahoma free throw and another shot from Vaughn, the senior went to the free throw line with CHS down by two and with three seconds left. After hitting the first and missing the second, Vaughn hit her third shot, tying the game at 46-46 and forcing overtime.
"I just told myself I could do it," Vaughn said. "I had confidence in my shot."
In overtime, the Lady Raiders took control early and didn't let up, securing the come-from-behind victory.
"38 seconds to go, we're down five, and I told the girls you're going to win this basketball game," Cope said. "We were just able to persevere."
Vaughn led the Lady Raiders with 21 points. She was followed by Vinson with 19. Abby Morgan had eight points, with Kiya Ferrell right behind at seven. Ellie Graham finished with five points, followed by Jenna Garretson with two.