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Raiders drop District contests

By: Greg Bird

After putting together a four-game win streak, the Raiders just couldn’t keep up the momentum – dropping their next two. Unfortunately, both games were against 48th District opponents – dropping McCreary to third place in the District.

Friday evening McCreary traveled to Southwestern, where the Warriors nearly crossed the century mark, pounding the Raiders with a 99-40 win.

Three nights later, in front of a home crowd, Wayne County came to visit and also upended the Raiders with a 92-48 victory.

McCreary Coach Robert Jones said the two District foes this season are among the toughest in the state, and was particularly pleased with how his Raiders refused to give up against the Cardinals Monday night.

“We put together a good effort tonight, I’m proud of the fact we never quit,” Jones said. “We just got beat by a better team. Wayne County is one of the top 25 teams in the state – but we gave them everything we had.”

For the first part of the opening quarter against Wayne County the Raiders were in the hunt. After falling behind 9-0, McCreary’s Cody Phillips and Brandon Troxell hit back-to-back treys to cut Wayne’s lead down to 3, but that was as close as the Raiders would get.

Despite Wayne County’s size and aggressive play, the Raiders found themselves on the wrong side of the referee’s whistle in the first half. McCreary was called for 12 personal fouls in the half to the Cardinal’s 4, much to the chagrin of the partisan MCHS crowd.

Wayne County capitalized on the calls, hitting 8 of 13 free throw attempts to pad their lead. The Raiders, conversely, only went to the line three times, where they hit 2 of 5 attempts.

The Wayne County defense forced the Raiders into 10 first half turnovers, and stifled McCreary in the scoring zone and took a comfortable 49-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The lead kept building throughout the second half, until about 6 minutes into the third quarter when the competition clock rule kicked in and the timer was stopped only on free throws and time outs.

Overall the Cardinals shot 59 percent from the floor, compared to McCreary’s 38 percent, and outrebounded the Raiders 31-20.

Brandon Troxell led McCreary with 11 points, followed by Kyle Tucker with 6, Devin Strunk with 6, Cole Kidd with 5, Ryan Jones with 5, Hunter Jones with 4, Caleb Dixon with 3, Tyler Longmire with 3, Cody Phiilips with 3 and Deroy Conaster with 2.

The losses dropped the Raiders’ record to 9-10 on the season and 0-2 in District play.

The Raiders host Middlesboro Thursday night, then have a week before their next game – when Southwestern visits next Thursday evening.

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