Lady Raiders finish third in district, win first game at South State

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Benton Academy Lady Raiders secured 3rd place in the District 4 2A tournament this weekend after defeating Greenville St. Joe 50-39.

This was the Benton girls' 11th win of the season and qualified them to move on to the South State Tournament this week.

The Lady Raiders started of Game 1 of the district tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 4 playing against Porters Chapel.  The Benton girls made quick work of this team, defeating the Lady Eagles with a score of 50-39. 

Jewell Vandevere and Gracey Manor both stood out well in this game, scoring 16 points each against Porters Chapel.

"We have played them three times this season, and this was the third time we beat them," said Coach Ed Waldrup. "It's a good team that we match-up well with."

The Lady Raiders continued to play in Game 2 of the tournament, where they faced their rivals from Manchester Academy.

"They are an awful good ball club and they beat us 58-28," Waldrup said. "They are a well-coached team and they have a lot of talent, so that combination makes them tough."

Down but not out, the Lady Raiders were not ready to leave the tournament, and soon prepared themselves for a fight in game three against Greenville St. Joe on Saturday, Feb. 8.

After a well-played game on the court, the Benton girls defeated the Lady Irish with a score of 50-38, and took the #3 ranking in the district.

Gracey Manor had a big game for the Lady Raiders, scoring 25 points on offense, and Jewell Vandevere came in second with 12 points.

"St. Joe had beaten us twice this year and we played one of our better games that day," Waldrup said. "That was probably our biggest win we have had from the standpoint of competition."

After taking this 3rd place rank in the district tournament, the Lady Raiders moved on to play in the South State Tournament this week, with their first match-up scheduled on Monday.

"I think my kids are playing their best ball right now," Waldrup said. "From a coaching standpoint that is what you want, is for them to be playing their best right now during tournament time."