In a close 48th District bout, the McCreary Central Raiders left Southwestern with a victory over the Warriors boy's basketball team last night.
The game was competitive right up to the end. At the start of the fourth, the Raiders were up 60-58, and the fourth period saw multiple lead changes before the final buzzer.
First, senior Evan Smith evened the score with a pair of free throws, but McCreary quickly jumped out to a five point lead with an inside basket by Trey Davis and a three ball from Kyle Stephens.
Smith then took the lead for Southwestern at 66-65 by drawing two fouls and nailing all four free shots and finishing a driving layup.
However, the Raiders closed the game with a 7-0 run, all by free throws, and took a 72-66 victory.
Smith battled hard throughout the night for the Warriors with a 33 point performance, and had all of their points in the fourth quarter. Even with a tremendous effort by Smith, McCreary held on and answered the 52-49 loss they took to the Warriors at their gym earlier this season.
Just like the end of the game, the beginning was very competitive as well.
The Warriors led 15-12 after the opening period, and had a driving layup from Smith, an inside shot by senior Andrew Jones, a pair of threes from sophomore Eli Meece, and a three point play and pair of free throws from senior Ethan Meadows during the first.
On the other side, McCreary had seven from Noah Loudermilk, three from Stephens, and two from Maddux McKinney.
After some back and forth at the start of the second that had Southwestern up by one at 19-18, the Warriors went on a 15-0 run to take a 33-18 lead late in the second.
The run by Southwestern featured nine from Smith from four free throws, a contested mid range jumper, and a contested three ball, a pair of free shots from Meadows, and a three from freshman Indred Whitaker off a pass from Smith.
Despite a game changing run by the Warriors, the Raiders had a 13-3 run to close out the first half, and trailed 36-31 heading into halftime.
Their run included a three each from Loudermilk, Davis, and Stephens, and two free throws each from Davis and Carson McKinney. The three from Southwestern during the run was an inside bucket by Meadows, and a free throw from senior Laiken Nazario.
After the break, there was an offensive explosion with the Warriors scoring 21 points in the third quarter and McCreary Central scoring 29.
Southwestern had twelve from Smith with three close range buckets and a pair of three point shots, a steal and driving layup from junior Campbell Coffey, six from Jones by three inside baskets, and a free throw by Meece.
The Raiders had twelve from Loudermilk in the third from four threes, as well as a driving basket from Davis, two three point plays by Stephens, two inside shots and a three from Conatser, and a shot from inside the paint from C. McKinney.
With two very close district battles between the Raiders and the Warriors, it is likely that the two teams will face off again during the post season, and there will be a very competitive tie breaker.
The loss dropped Southwestern to 7-7, while McCreary advanced to 8-5. The Warriors will be back in action Monday night, where they will have another district matchup, this one on the road against the Wayne County Cardinals.
SWHS - 15 - 21 - 22 - 8 - 66
MCHS - 12 - 19 - 29 - 12 - 72
Southwestern - Smith 33, Meece 12, Meadows 9, Jones 6, Whitaker 3, Campbell 2, Nazario 1.
McCreary Central - Loudermilk 24, Stephens 15, Conatser 13, Davis 9, C. McKinney 6, M. McKinney 5.