Second-quarter runs became an important theme for local high school basketball teams in the final day of the Southeast Whitfield Hoopfest.
For North Murray’s boys, it led to a win and a fifth-place finish.
For Southeast’s girls, it caused their championship aspirations to slip away.
North Murray won 68-50 over Excel Christian in Saturday’s action to finish fifth in the boys’ eight-team bracket. Southeast lost 64-30 to Heritage-Catoosa in the finals of the girls bracket championship after a big second-quarter run from the Lady Generals.
In other games involving local teams, North Murray’s girls won 48-36 against East Paulding for a seventh-place finish and Southeast’s boys won 68-52 against Bremen to finish seventh. In the girls bracket, Ridgeland beat Dade County for fifth place and Woodland-Bartow beat Excel Christian for third place. On the boys side, Darlington beat East Paulding for third place and the championship wasn’t completed in time for today’s edition of The Daily Citizen.
North Murray (3-1) trailed 28-21 late in the second quarter but ended the half with a 10-2 run to grab a 31-30 lead at halftime. Adrian Cooks grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a jumper with 52 seconds left to tie the game at 29-29, and Drake McCowan ended the half with an offensive rebound and layup.
The run continued to the third quarter, where the Mountaineers scored the first seven points before Excel Christian (1-4) called timeout.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” North Murray coach Tim Ellis said. “When you can minimize your opponent’s run to single digits, you always can make your little run. ... I think the more wins we can get under our belt, the better we become.”
North Murray scored the next seven points, too, with Seth Satterfield’s 3-pointer putting the Mountaineers ahead 45-30. A big reason for the dramatic shift was turnovers created by North Murray’s full-court press. Excel Christian turned the ball over 20 times in the game.
“They did a god job defensively and got us to turn it over,” Excel Christian coach David Boyd said. “They also shot the ball well.”
North Murray extended its third-quarter dominance and grabbed a 56-38 lead when Nathan Spivey converted a layup off a pass from Hinton McConkey with just seconds left in the period.
Excel Christian took a 12-7 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter when Caleb West stole a pass and converted a layup. North Murray scored the next six points and ended the opening period ahead 13-12. West again converted a turnover for an easy two points, building Excel Christian’s 24-19 lead with 3:45 left in the second period.
Noah Allen led the Mountaineers with 13 points, while Payton Swilling added nine. Jordan Couch had five assists. For Excel Christian, Thrower had 22 points.
• Heritage girls 64, Southeast 30: Trailing 19-11 after one quarter and 23-15 early in the second quarter, the Lady Raiders (3-2) had a series of turnovers against the Lady Generals’ press and saw the gap lengthen to 31-15 with 1:25 before halftime.
“We made some turnovers that led to some easy buckets for them,” Southeast coach Michael Durham said. “... We didn’t get out and cover the shooters like we’re supposed to, either.”
Alex Belk’s 3-pointer put Heritage ahead 36-18 with 6:35 in the third period and Jada Hubbard’s back-to-back layups made it 42-18 at 4:21 left in the third quarter. Rachel Thomas made a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to put Heritage ahead 60-26. Thomas scored 17 points, Hubbard added 13 points and Belk chipped in 12.
For Southeast, Crickett Wyatt was the team’s only double-digit scorer with 10 points, and Serena Ramsey added seven points. Durham said it was a tough-shooting game for the Lady Raiders
“If you can make a few shots here and there, it keeps you around and keeps the kids up,” he added.
• Southeast boys 68, Bremen 52: The Raiders (2-3) salvaged a tough tournament and slow start against Bremen.
Trailing 21-14 after the first quarter, Southeast battled back to a 37-37 tie at halftime and 54-41 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“At halftime, we changed some defensive rotations and things,” Southeast coach James Case said. “The guys in there had a rhythm. We’re working to try and find five guys who can play. There was a run they made that was good defensively and offensively.”
Rhett Harper led the team with 18 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Ty Pendley added 16 points, Noah Ramsey scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Nick Stuards chipped in 10 points.
• North Murray 48, East Paulding 36: Kara Deal scored 17 points and Grace Phillips added 12 points as the Lady Mountaineers (1-1) filled in after a team dropped from the Southeast Hoopfest girls bracket.
“We played several young kids today, and I was proud of the way they adjusted,” North Murray coach Keith Robinette said. “East Paulding is a very physical. There were four freshmen that played some meaningful minutes, and it was impressive to watch down in the post. I saw some good things that we can build off of.”
Robinette added the two teams combined for nearly 80 free throws.
• Coahulla Creek boys 58, Cedartown 43: Blaine Williams scored 19 points as the Colts improved to 2-2 with their second straight win.
Michael Ward added eight points, but Coahulla Creek trailed 12-11 after the first quarter and was tied 28-28 at halftime. Darius Miller had six steals and helped spark a strong defensive showing in the third quarter, where the Colts grabbed a 47-32 lead.
Coahulla Creek plays at Christian Heritage on Monday.
• Christian Heritage girls 56, Gordon Central 48: The Lady Lions (1-2) trailed by two with three minutes left in the game but converted 6-of-11 free throws and grabbed the lead for good.
Christian Heritage shot 65 percent from the free throw line and shot below 50 percent in its first two games.
“They are starting to gel and learning each other,” Lady Lions coach Heather Lowery said, “and we are starting to see that. We finally had a great four quarters. We put a complete package together this time.”
Sarah Massengale had 16 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Suddath added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Alexis Poag added 10 points.
• Christian Heritage boys 61, Gordon Central 30: Cameron Locke led the Lions (1-0) with 22 points and Tyler Tipton added 12.
• Northwest Whitfield finished second at the Heritage-Catoosa Thanksgiving Duals and won four of five duals.
After falling 47-36 against Tennessee’s Hixson, the Bruins pulled off wins against East Paulding (63-14), Chattanooga’s Notre Dame (48-27), Heritage’s B-team (72-9) and Southeast Whitfield (55-24).
Timmy Peters won all four of his matches for the Bruins at the 132-pound weight class. Blake Hayes (120), Noah Burns (160) and Austin Taylor (170) all finished 4-1. Isaiah Mack (285) won both of his matches via pinfall.