Jalie Ruehling said she enjoys playing in close games.
The Lady Raider junior point guard proved it Saturday night.
Ruehling went 7-of-8 at the free throw line, finished with 14 points and helped to facilitate a fourth quarter comeback for the Coffee County Lady Raiders in a 43-40 road win at Rockvale High School.
It was the second night in a row the Lady Raiders were in a tight contest after winning by 3 at Warren County Friday night.
Saturday night at Rockvale, the outcome looked bleak for the Lady Raiders after an abysmal third quarter. CHS scored just 3 points the entire period, their worst output of the season, and saw a 24-22 halftime lead evaporate to a 32-27 deficit going into the final quarter.
The Lady Raiders fell behind by 6 – then mounted a comeback. Ruehling started the show with a big 3 pointer with 5:10 on the clock to cut the deficit to 2. She added a pair of free throws at 3:01 to put the Lady Raiders back in front.
From there Coffee County never surrendered the lead. The Lady Raider man-to-man defense forced back Rockvale shot attempts and Elli Chumley got her first field goal of the game at the 1:56 mark. Chloe Gannon got in on the action a minute later after the Rockvale defense was forced to leave the paint to track down Ruehling before she ran out the clock. Ruehling sealed the game with 2 free throws with 19 seconds to play. Ruehling added 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Gannon finished with 10 tough points in the paint for the Lady Raiders and Chumley added 7. Kiya Ferrell pitched in 5 off the bench in the first half while Gannon sat with foul trouble. Channah Gannon added 4 points and Alivia Reel 3.
Rockvale was led by Amani Sharif with 11 points before she fouled out early in the fourth quarter. She and Alecea Wilkerson ( 8 points) battled foul trouble from the tip.
The Lady Rockets fall to 18-6 with the loss – 2 of those 6 losses to Coffee County. Rockvale is currently in 2nd place in Rutherford County’s District 7-4A, behind the state’s top ranked team – Blackman.
Coffee County effectively won the game at the free-throw line with a 17-of-24 performance. In contrast, Rockvale started 5-of-5 at the stripe, but went 0-for-5 in the second half.
Coffee County is now 23-3. The Lady Raiders have won 20 straight and are ranked no. 5 in the state by AP voters.
The Lady Raiders return to action Monday night at Shelbyville. Opening tip at 6 p.m. with pregame at 5:45 pm on Thunder Radio – 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, 106.7 FM, Manchester Go smartphone app and thunder1320.com.