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Red Raiders avenge loss

Revenge was on the mind of the Coffee County Red Raiders for three weeks leading up to Friday’s game against the Warren County High School boys basketball team. Warren County knew a fired up crowd would be awaiting them in Manchester, but a noisy crowd didn’t phase the Pioneers. The Crismond brothers did.
Lance Cris-mond scored 17 points and Lucas Crismond added 16 as the Red Raiders defeated Warren County 62-50, the first time Coffee County has beaten the Pioneers in the regular season under coach Malcolm Montgomery.
Warren County (11-15) had won the last seven regular season meetings, including a 46-45 thriller Jan. 4 at Charlie Dalton Gym. Nick Simmons scored a game-winning three-point play with :02 left, but it was the final play that seemed to leave the Red Raiders and their fans in a frenzy.
A long pass at the end of regulation was broken up by the Pioneers, but Coffee County thought there was a foul. The Red Raiders sat and stewed for three weeks over the last-second defeat, ultimately knowing their revenge could come at home.
The Pioneers went into Friday’s game knowing it would take a great effort to knock off the Red Raiders, even if Coffee County was winless in District 6-AAA while Warren County was 2-2. A key component in those two district wins was gone for Warren County as senior leading scorer Tucker Smith missed a second straight game with an illness.
Smith’s loss was evident on both ends from the start as Warren County struggled to rebound on one end while the offense started sluggish.
Lance Crismond, who was honored Friday for scoring his 1,000th point earlier last week, slashed to the basket for three early layups as the Pioneers had trouble keeping Coffee County out of the paint.
The Red Raiders built a commanding 14-7 lead, one that would have been 10 if Kendall Rutledge hadn’t sank a 3-pointer midway through the first period.
Warren County rallied in the second quarter when Simmons asserted his will on offense. The 6-foot-7 senior center towered over his opponents and used his size to get the Pioneers back in the game.
Simmons scored seven points in the quarter, including one stretch where he was fouled making a shot, missed the free throw, rebounded his miss and made another shot while getting hacked again. Simmons made the second free toss as he put five points on the board in the span of four seconds.
A Rutledge layup right before the buzzer tied the game at 22 entering halftime.
A barrage of 3-pointers highlighted the third quarter when Rutledge kept the Pioneers in the game on his own.
Lucas Crismond started the third with a long-range shot from the left corner, one Rutledge matched on the other end with a make from the right wing. Lance Crismond followed with a 3-pointer of his own, but Rutledge got free in the left corner to answer right back.
Lucas Crismond added another 3-pointer seconds later, but Rutledge dialed up from deep a third time and his aim was true.
Brock Bodwin finally was able to put the Red Raiders up for good when his 3-pointer gave Coffee County a 40-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The biggest play of the final period came with 5:45 left when Lee Carden was called for a foul on a drive by Lucas Crismond. Carden didn’t agree with the call and his reaction was greeted with a technical, which gave Coffee County four straight free throws and the ball.
Three swishes at the charity stripe and an open layup on the following possession pushed the Red Raider advantage to 11 and the Pioneers could never get within striking distance again.
Ryan Jennings, who started for the second straight game in place of Smith, twice got the Pioneers within eight with 3-pointers, but it would be as close as Warren County would get as the team dropped its third district game this season.
Simmons finished with a team-high 15 points, followed by Rutledge with 14 and Jennings with 12.
Anthony Jackson was the third Red Raider in double figures with 10 points as Coffee County improved to 1-4 in district play.
The Pioneers will try to end their two-game losing streak Tuesday night at home against White County. Warren County is hopeful Smith will be able to return against the Warriors, who beat the Pioneers 91-62 Jan. 11. Tuesday’s game is set to start at 7:30 p.m.


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