For the second night in a row, Murray County boys basketball coach Greg Linder had little to complain about when it came to his team’s defensive performance. The Indians also did a good job of cleaning the boards.
Murray County limited Heritage-Catoosa to just three offensive rebounds in the second half and used an 11-0 run that straddled the third and fourth quarter to take a 46-32 win over the Generals in the closing game of the Farm Bureau Christmas Classic at Murray County’s Kenneth Ross Gymnasium.
The victory left the Indians as the only undefeated team in the three-day, six-team, round robin-style event.
“I am very pleased with our effort, and the guys are buying into what we have been preaching about defense and hustle,” Linder said. “I thought the last two games they really sold out to play defense and really worked hard the entire game.”
The Indians head into the Christ-mas break on a three-game winning streak and are above .500 at 7-6 with Region 7-2A play to greet them when they return to the court in January.
In other action Saturday at Murray County, Dalton suffered its only loss of the tournament, falling 53-52 to Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, and Northwest Whitfield spanked county cousin Coahulla Creek 84-47.
Farm Bureau provided individual awards to the all-tournament team, which was Tanner Quarles and Kaleb King (Northwest); Taylor Poteet and Jordan Tant (Coahulla Creek); Brandon Houton and Patrick Taylor (CSAS); Cody Sanders and Cameron Sherlin (Heritage); Matthew Corbin and Brady Todd (Murray County); and Dalton’s Rico Mears.
In the finalé, Murray County showed the same sort of denial to the basket that saw the Indians hold CSAS to just 30 points on Friday night. They were on pace to keep Heritage similarly in check, but the problem was the Indians couldn’t score. The Generals were showing the same defensive toughness
“Both teams played solid defense all night,” Linder said.
Midway through the third quarter, Cody Sanders sunk the first free throw of the game and gave the Generals (5-7) a 25-22 lead before the offensive switch was finally thrown for Murray County. Content to take most of its shots in the first two-and-a-half quarters from the perimeter and on drives from the perimeter, Linder said his team made a conscious effort to go inside from that point on. It worked as Murray County turned a three-point deficit into a 33-25 lead before the Generals finally scored again with 4:55 left in the game.
By that point, the Indians were able to maintain their lead and their defensive intensity, holding Heritage to just five more points the rest of the way.
Matthew Corbin led Murray County with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Jacob Sturgill added 10 points. The Indians kept all of the Generals’ scorers under double digits.
• Northwest Whitfield 84, Coahulla Creek 47: First-year varsity player Dustin Stanley scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as the Bruins rolled to the easy win.
Andy Whisenant (14 points), Quarles (12) and Tanner Bailey (10) all reached double digits for Northwest (9-2), which led 23-8 at the end of the first quarter and 50-21 at the half.
Coahulla Creek (0-10) was led by Poteet’s 14 points, while Levi Wilson added 13 and Tant chipped in 10.
• CSAS 53, Dalton 52: A late technical foul swung the momentum of the game, and the Cats lost when they gave up a basket with 2.6 seconds remaining against the Patriots (5-4).
Dalton led by three points with 1:10 to play, but the Cats were whistled for a foul and then called for a technical foul as well. CSAS hit all four free throws and then scored on the possession for a six-point swing that saw the Cats go down by three. Dalton regained the lead with 14 seconds left in the game, but the Patriots scored to take the one-point victory.
“It was a good game for us to play against a quick, athletic team,” Dalton coach Mike Duffie said. “We were up seven at the half, and I am just disappointed with how we finished. We lost our lead and lost our composure and lost the basketball game.”
Alex Bautista led Dalton (6-2) with 19 points, while Mears and Demond Rucker each scored 10.
• Girls Preparatory School (Chattanooga) JV 42, Northwest 40: In the championship game of a three-day junior varsity tournament at Northwest, Whitley Brooker scored 11 points and Lexi Storey added 10, but it wasn’t enough as the Bruisers edged the hosts for the title.
Brooker and Peyton Maret made the all-tournament team for Northwest, which suffered its first loss in eight games to start the season.
• Buford JV boys 50, Christian Heritage 38: Chase Tidwell scored 16 points while Tyson Cooper tallied eight for the Lions (7-4) in their loss.
• Coahulla Creek competed in the third annual Winter Pentathlon at Berry College in Rome’s
The Lady Colts finished fifth out of 13 teams with 57 points while the boys tied for ninth with 36 points. Both North Forsyth teams took first, while Carrollton’s boys finished second and North Paulding was third. On the girls side, that order was flipped.
The event also included an individual award for combined swim times in events.
Each swimmer was assigned four individual races and one relay and the individual event times were combined for a total time.
Kathryn Stafford was Coahulla Creek’s lone swimmer who finished in the top 10. She took sixth with a total time of 7 minutes, 16.63 seconds after swimming in the 100-yard freestyle (seventh, 1:02.27), 200 individual medley (sixth, 2:39.50), 100 butterfly (11th, 1:19.25) and 200 freestyle (fifth, 2:15.61).
Another high finisher for Coahulla Creek was the 400 relay team of Aaron Croom, Macavan Kalafut, Bryson King and Jacob Whitener. They took third in 5:08.70.
• Southeast finished second in the 15-team Union Grove Wolverine Holiday Duals, going 4-2 in the two-day event.
The Raiders won twice Friday, beating Luella 42-27 and Stockbridge 66-6. They were put in the five-team gold pool for Saturday’s action and started off with a 64-18 win against Forest Park.
Southeast lost to Rockdale 48-33, but beat Grayson 44-32. The Raiders ended with a 41-36 loss to South Forsyth.
Chris Rosas (106 pounds) went 6-0 with four pins, while Raiders teammate Omar Ruiz (113) finished 5-1 with three pins, Jesus Dominguez (126) finished 6-0 with five pins, Austin Allen (170) finished 5-1 with three pins and Carlos Fraire (285) was 6-0 with five pins.
Southeast did not have Aaron Thomas (120) due to illness, and Cesar Santos (160) was out of town. The Raiders (14-11) forfeited those two classes each match.
• A pair of Murray County wrestlers captured individual championships and two others placed in the top three as the Indians finished a half point behind Adairsville to take fourth in the Dragon Invitational at Pepperell.
Clay Thornbury (182) and Kevin Chavez (170) each went undefeated to win individual titles, while Austin McCall (113) finished second and Allen Roberts (285) was third. Mt. Zion-Carrollton won the team title, with Villa Rica second.
North Murray sent just six wrestlers to the tournament, with Alex Gambino (106) taking second and Tyler McKee (152) claiming fourth.
The Mountaineers suffered another injury in a season filled with them as Jeremiah Watkins (220) dislocated his collarbone bone from his sternum, coach Steve Colley said.
“It may be broken, too, so that’s another one gone,” he added.
The Mountaineers lost Brandon Brock (138) to a season-ending injury weeks ago.
• Alex Reynolds (145) was Northwest’s top individual with a fourth-place finish at the McCallie Invitational in Chattanooga.
Reynolds fell to his bracket’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds as he went 4-2 in the tournament.
A.J. Orozco (182) and Dalton Ayers (152) each went 2-2 but did not place.
• The Central Georgia All-Stars beat the North Georgia All-Stars 10-0 in a defensive battle during the D.L. Scott Coalition Bowl at the Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon.
North Murray senior defensive lineman David Martin was named the North squad’s most valuable player after finishing with 2.5 sacks and a caused fumble.
“This was a lot of fun, and the kids played very well,” said North Murray coach David Gann, who was the coach of the North team.
“We just made a few more mistakes than they did, but both teams played hard and our local kids represented us really well. I thought (North Murray’s) Brady Swilling did a great job at quarterback, and (Dalton’s) Laighton Reese and (Southeast Whitfield’s) Jayro Perez had a great game on the defensive line. Neither defense was giving up much in the game to the other team.”