The Lady Raider’s impressive season came to an end on Mar. 2 when Oakland visited during the regional tournament. The Lady Raiders were short staffed against Oakland. Sixth man Emma Fulks suffered a concussion, so was unavailable for the matchup against the Patriots. This meant that the starters played every quarter with no relief. Normally, this would mean that fatigue would set in for most teams, but for the Lady Raiders that didn’t seem to be the concern.
The Lady Raiders were able to hang in with Oakland. Coffee County stayed dead even with Oakland with a tied score going into the second quarter. Unfortunately for Coffee, Oakland hit a three, then another three, then another, until the Lady Raiders found themselves in a 15 point hole. The half was uncharacteristic of the Lady Raiders as the team seemed surprised by the instant offense of Oakland.
The surprise wore off for the Lady Raiders in the second half as the third ranked team in the state clamped down on Oakland. The Lady Raiders held the Patriots to 11 points for the entire second half, while scoring a blistering 23 points. To say that the Lady Raiders played nearly perfect in the second half would not be an exaggeration, but when playing at the regional level nearly perfect sometimes isn’t enough.
Though the Lady Raiders were able to play out of their first half funk, the team couldn’t shake missing free throws and some easy layups. Both of those issues were non-existent for the Lady Raiders in the regular season so it was an afterthought in the post season, so much so that the Lady Raiders had downed their fair share of teams just off of those two strong points alone. So to see the team miss shots that are normally automatic for them was surprising to say the least. Even still the difference at the end of the game was a margin of only five, a razor thin margin that was only possible by the Amazonian effort of the Lady Raiders.
Though the season ended on a sour note, the Lady Raiders accomplished their fair share. The team won their district, swept Tullahoma, was ranked third in the state, and swept the Portland Christmas tournament handedly. The following years should be exciting as the core of the team is still intact, though losing a player of Bella Vinson’s caliber will surely be felt. Replacing a 2,000 point scorer isn’t easy, but the Lady Raiders are in fine hands with Coach Joe Pat Cope and his staff still on board.