CHATTANOOGA — The Cleveland Lady Raiders may be out of school for the Christmas holiday, but their education continued with a 42-40 loss to Chattanooga Christian in the Best of Preps basketball tournament at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Monday afternoon.
Turnovers and possessions that resulted in no points proved to be the downfall for Cleveland as the Lady Raiders struggled from the floor from the outset.
“I felt like they were focused to start the game but we had way too many possessions that we left unfinished,” said Cleveland coach Rachel Moore.
With a roster laden with nine sophomores and freshmen and a single junior, Moore and staff will use the three-day holiday gathering as a teaching tool.
“This is the only opportunity we will get all year with the type format we will hopefully be seeing come February in the district tournament,” Moore acknowledged. “This is a great opportunity for us to see how we are going to compete and respond three straight days.”
Cleveland battled back from a 9-2 deficit in the first quarter to take their one and only lead. The Lady Raiders scored the final eight points of the period to jump ahead of the Lady Chargers 10-9.
Early Lady Raider turnovers in the second put CCS up 14-10. The Lady Chargers led by seven before settling for a 24-19 halftime cushion.
Cleveland was again forced to play catch-up in the third and after falling behind by six fought back to trail 33-31 going into the fourth quarter.
Atarah Abdulla-Muhammad brought the Lady Raiders to within a single point of the Lady Chargers with the only Cleveland 3-pointer of the game from 25-feet. Chattanooga Christian opened the lead back to five points before a Jalesa Perkins free throw cut it back to two with 6.7 seconds left on the clock. Noraziah Berry’s desperation 3 from midcourt at the buzzer rattled the rim but fell harmlessly to the court to make the final score 42-40.
“I’m sure the entire team would like to have a few possessions back. Hopefully, if we learn from those possessions then that has prepared us and we will get better because of them. If not, we have wasted it,” said Moore.
“This is unique, even though we have played a couple of Saturday games, in the sense that we weren’t on our regular schedule today. The girls pretty much had to get themselves focused. They have been at home and slept late or done any number of things out of the normal routine that would keep their concentration elsewhere.”
LADY CHARGERS 42, LADY RAIDERS 40
Cleveland 10 9 12 9 — 40
Chattanooga Christian 9 15 9 9 — 42
Cleveland (40) — Jalesa Perkins 14, A. Abdullah-Muhammad 9, Q. Abdullah-Muhammad 9, Langford 2, Capron 3, Berry 2, Anderson, Courtney.
Chattanooga Christian (42) — Presley Watson 14, Mercedes Owens 14, Me. Sabourin 2, McEwen 5, Fikkert 7, Brendle, Reagan, Dyer, Ma. Sabourin, Jones.
3-point goals: Cleveland 1 (A. Abdullah-Muhammad); Chattanooga Christian 6 (Owens 4, Watson, McEwen).
Records: Cleveland 5-4 Chattanooga Christian 8-2.