The Red Raiders had some memorable second halves in the Sparta Sonic Shootout this Christmas week. The team was defeated 54-50 by Cascade on the opening night of the tournament then lost 63-51 against White County, but came roaring back against the York Dragons 53-51.
The Red Raiders opened up the tournament red hot going into halftime with a 32-19 lead. Unfortunately, Cascade found their offensive rhythm in the form of Lucas Clanton who scored 19 points in the second half. The Red Raiders keyed on Clanton in the first half holding the sharpshooter to no scores. Perhaps a coaching pep talk energized Clanton because he rattled five threes alone. The Red Raiders offense was led by Dayne Crosslin who scored 13 points in the loss. Crosslin was joined by Brady Nugent with nine and Phineas Rollman with seven.
The Red Raiders didn’t get much time to remove themselves from the loss as Sparta would do something similar the following night. The Red Raiders were able to pull within four of Sparta before the half, but were buried by the Warriors offense in the second. The Warriors outscored the Red Raiders 15-9 coming out of halftime to bury any chance Coffee County had for a comeback. Crosslin was the leading scorer for the Red Raiders again with 14 points but he also fouled out of the game. Jahlin Osbourne had ten, Aiden Abellana six, Connor Shemwell and Brady Nugent five.
The Red Raiders redeemed themselves the following day by winning a thriller against the York Dragons. The Red Raiders were leading at halftime 17-16 but the Dragons started hitting shots that gave them the lead by 10 going into the final quarter. The Red Raiders went on an improbable run to close out the game with Crosslin hitting a clutch three to put the game within two. Nugent would then force a steal and tie the game up with a clutch layup. Abellena would get the last word though. He made a crucial back door cut that gave the Red Raiders the lead in the closing seconds ensuring that the team didn’t leave empty handed. The win improves the Red Raiders to 9-6 and the team will have a break until school starts back.