• North Murray boys 59, Gordon Central 49: The Mountaineers didn’t let their latest opportunity to stop the Warriors pass them by, and their reward is the chance to play for the Region 5-3A title.
Playing in the region tournament semifinals at Sonoraville High School, Brady Swilling poured in 22 points to lead North Murray (21-6), which lost both of its regular season meetings with Gordon Central, but this time led 16-10 after one quarter, 30-23 at halftime and 43-36 going into the final period.
“We were really focused defensively,” said North Murray coach Tim Ellis, whose team clinched hosting privileges for at least the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament with the victory. “We just did a real good job as far as containing them and not allowing them to attack us the way they had been. I can’t say enough about the kids — they were absolute studs. They played their rear ends off.”
Zach Vess added 21 points for the Mountaineers, while Zach Sanford had 11.
“They played with a lot of effort,” Ellis said of his entire lineup. “We were up and Vess got four fouls with about five minutes to go, and we had to sub because we couldn’t take a chance. But we held pace and didn’t panic.”
North Murray will play in the region championship at 8:30 tonight, taking on either top-seeded Cartersville or Ringgold, who faced off in Friday’s late boys semifinal.
“We just need to focus on us, on understanding and executing the game plan,” Ellis said. “They are really locked in right now, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem, as far as being focused.”
• Sonoraville girls 52, North Murray 31: The top-seeded Lady Phoenix (25-1) started off with a 17-2 run and led by 20 at the break to cruise to the Region 5-3A girls championship game.
North Murray is assured of making the Class 3A state tournament and will play Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe today at 4 p.m. in Sonoraville in the region consolation game.
“It was a frustrating first half,” Lady Mountaineers’ coach Keith Robinette said. “We came out firing and had some good looks, but they weren’t falling. We started pressing a little bit mentally and kind of let the air come out of our sails.”
Kara Deal led North Murray (16-11) with nine points on three 3-pointers.