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Middle School Raider Basketball Defend Last Year’s KBA’s Hoops for Holidays Championship with Runner-Up Finish In 2015

Photo Submitted McCreary County Middle School 8th Grade Basketball team placed second in the KBA Holiday Tournament.

Photo Submitted
McCreary County Middle School 8th Grade Basketball team placed second in the KBA Holiday Tournament.

The Raiders 8th grade boys went to Lexington on Dec. 26-27th fresh off of a huge three win week before the break. The team defeated South Laurel, Williamsburg, and Bryan Station in a six day stretch from Dec. 14-19. The team avenged an earlier loss to South Laurel with a 42-29 win at home. Josh Thomas exploded for 25 points, and Alex Heath added 7. The Raiders built a commanding lead over Williamsburg with their full-court press; by early third quarter the bench had been emptied. The Raiders led 42-19 after three quarters and cruised to a 51-34 victory. Josh Thomas led the scoring with 19; Alex Heath had 11, Andrew Renfro chipped in with 7, Blake Corder had 6 and Ryan Bruce rounded out the scoring with 2. The team capped off the big week with a 45-36 win over Lexington Bryan Station in a fast-paced up and down affair. The Raiders started fast and ran out to 30-8 halftime lead only to see Station come storming back to cut the 4th quarter margin to seven late in game. Blake Corder did an outstanding job of controlling tempo and handling Bryan Station’s athleticism and ball pressure. Josh Thomas and Andrew Renfro paced the Raider scoring with 14 points each. Alex heath added 5, Nathaniel Griffis scored two big baskets for a 4 spot, Blake Corder and Deion Chitwood contributed three each, and Brandon Longmire rounded out the scoring with a bucket.

McCreary Middle traveled to Lexington after Christmas to defend their title in KBA’s Holiday Tournament. This group of Raiders had won the 7th grade division of this tournament last year. The team fell a little short in 2015 but managed to come home with a hard-fought 2nd place finish. The team lost a double-overtime heart breaker to Lexington Leestown 46-45 on Saturday Dec. 26th. Josh Thomas led the team with 17 points, Andrew Renfro added 8, Blake Corder had 7, Alex Heath and Deion Chitwood both chipped in with 6, Cody Conatser had 2.

The Raiders came out of the loser’s bracket with another match-up against Leetown, and delivered down the stretch to pull out a thrilling 36-34 win. The victory moved the team into a championship match with the Truth, a Louisville AAU travel team composed of some of the best 8th graders in the city. In the second matchup with Leestown, Josh Thomas paced the scoring attack with 15 points; Blake Corder added 9 and Andrew Renfro had 7.

In the title fight, the Raiders went up and down in an action packed affair, after trailing by 11 points came back and took the lead inside two minutes. The Truth was able to score a couple of late baskets and some free throws to hold on and defeat McCreary Middle 55-48. The Raiders had a very balanced scoring attack led by Josh Thomas with 15; Andrew Renfro and Alex Heath added 9, Blake Corder had 8, Nathaniel Griffis scored 4, and Deion Chitwood contributed with 3 points. The exhausted Raiders loaded the bus for home with their 2nd place medals. The tournament will be followed up the weekend of Jan. 2-3, with another trip to Lexington to compete in the 12th Region Middle School Tournament at the Kentucky Basketball Academy.

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