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Raiders’ state bid comes up just short

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    Lomega Riaders

Back-to-back losses over the weekend ended Lomega’s quest to reach the state tournament.

“All you can ask for is to have a chance,” said Lomega coach Justin Edsall. “We had our chances at the end both nights, but it didn’t quite go our way.”

The Raiders took No. 2 Paden to the absolute wire but ultimately fell in a 52-50 last-second heartbreaker in the area championship at Cleveland High School.

Still with one more shot in Saturday’s consolation championship game, Lomega fell just shy in a 62-57 defeat.

Underdogs in both games, the Raiders pushed their foes for four quarters in defeat.

“I feel like we played two of our best games of the season,” Edsall said. “That’s what you want to be doing this time of the year.”

Paden has just one loss all season and features small-school superstar Luke Gunns.

The back-and-forth game never saw either team lead by more than a couple of field goals.

“Every time we thought we had them on the ropes, they’d hit abig shot,” Edsall said. “And when they’d get us down a couple, we’d hit a shot.”

With the game tied in waning moments, Paden went to Gunns, who drove and hit a mid-range jumper in the lane.

That left Lomega with just 1.4 seconds to try to answer and the Raiders couldn’t convert.

The Raiders limited Gunns to just 11 points. Paden was led by Corey Thomas and his 16 points. Brian Case scored 14.

Noah Snowden and Blake Snowden scored 15 apiece for the Raiders.

Riley Lumpkin scored 12.

Hammon was upset in its regional semifinal and entered Saturday’s contest with four straight blowout wins in the consolation bracket.

The Warriors got on top of Lomega 16-9 in the first quarter, but the Raiders answered in the second for a halftime lead.

Tate Ott played a big part in that 23-13 run with three 3-pointers.

“He’s leaving us with some big shoes to fill,” Edsall said of Ott, Lomega’s lone senior starter. “He really became a knock-down 3-point shooter on top of taking on tough defensive assignments every night.”

Ott ended his night with 12 points.

Hammon was able to outscore Lomega 20-14 in the decisive fourth quarter.

Michael Land hit two big 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to swing the game in Hammon’s favor.

Land scored 15 points.

Cade Allen added 21 as Hammon had four players in double figures.

“Paden has the star, but Hammon has more weapons overall,” Edsall said. “They’re so tough to contain.”

Riley Lumpkin paced the Raiders with 19 points. Noah Snowden added 12 as Lomega ended its season with a 20-10 record.