Raiders nearly rally to knock off Patriots

Navarre’s girls basketball team never quits. It refused to fold Monday night against Pace, trailing by eight out of the gate only to lead by six at halftime. The Raiders fell behind by 14 points in the third quarter and eventually closed the gap to two.

But the Raiders were unable to complete a rally and fell 55-49 to the Patriots at home.

Still, the effort they put forth was solid throughout and they continue to show signs of improvement.

Pace thrived off a tenacious defensive effort early to score baskets off turnovers. The Patriots were up 8-0 less than a minute into the game.

Natasha Elliott sparked a comeback, scoring five points in a little over a minute, closing the gap to 8-7.

The Patriots led 12-7 after one quarter but the Raiders used free throws and a couple of timely baskets to take the lead.

Hailey Neely tipped in a missed shot to tie the score at 14-14 and two free throws by Killian Casey put the Raiders in front 16-15. Casey drilled a jumper moments later to stretch the advantage to 20-15.

Elliott, who scored a team-high 14, came through with two big baskets in the final two minutes to help Navarre push its lead to 24-17. Two free throws by Neely before halftime put Navarre on top 26-20.

It looked like all hope was lost early in the third when Pace built a 46-32 lead. Navarre responded with an impressive 15-1 run, fueled in part by three clutch baskets from Madison Schluter.

She nailed a 3-pointer to cut the gap to 46-35 and scored back-to-back layups off steals to slice the Pace lead to 46-39. Elliott was then fouled on a layup and made the ensuing free throw before scoring off a tip-in to cut the Patriots’ lead to 46-44.

Casey and Neely both scored 11 points apiece. Schluter finished with eight points.

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