If Thursday night’s crowd is any indication, the Coffee County Middle School varsity basketball teams should expect to play in front of packed gyms all season. The Raiders and Lady Raiders hosted North Franklin in their home opener and came away with a pair of convincing wins.
In the girl’s game, the Lady Raiders shook off a shaky start to tie the Gatorettes at 6 with 1:20 left in the 1st quarter prompting North to take a time out. From that point, Coffee County held North to 3 points over the next 12 and a half minutes of game time in route to a 30 to 13 win. Abby Morgan carried a hot shooting touch all night netting 20 points to lead Coffee County. Alisha Jennings and Julia Duncan each added 6 points as the Lady Raiders improved to 5 and 0 on the young season.
The Red Raiders got off to an even shakier start as they struggled to find the bottom of the net from the field or the free throw line in the 1st half. Trailing 8 to 3 after 1 quarter, the Red Raiders limped into the half as they missed a layup at the halftime buzzer to trail 12 to 7 at the intermission. The halftime adjustments of Coach Jonathan Oliver seemed to pay immediate dividends as Briggs Haithcock culminated a comeback rally with a 3 pointer to tie the game with 3:45 left in the 3rd quarter. Harley Hinshaw gave Coffee County their first lead of the game with a put back off an offensive rebound as the Red Raider defense held North scoreless in the 3rd quarter. North battled back to tie the game with 2:21 remaining on a 4 point play, but the Coffee Middle defense got layups on successive possessions off of steals to put down the pesky Gators by a final score of 27 to 22. Weston Hargrove had 7 points for Coffee County while Harley Hinshaw came off the bench to add 6 points. With the win, the Red Raiders improved to 4 and 1 on the year.