By Jeff Rancudo
North Murray High School boys basketball coach Tim Ellis didn’t look as happy as you might think he would have after having squeaked out a 53-50 victory, which his Mountaineers did Friday night at Coahulla Creek.
It was how they got to that result that bothered Ellis.
After almost squandering a 12-point fourth-period edge and a 6-point lead with less than a minute to play, Ellis’ Mountain-eers (5-4, 1-2 Region 5-3A) got a key block by Hinton McConkey late and four three throws by Noah Allen — who finished with 11 points — to seal the win.
“We had a 12-point lead and then we go brain dead,” Ellis said. “But you’ve got to give (Coahulla Creek) a lot of credit. We ought to be able to close out stuff better than this, though.”
Coahulla Creek dropped to 4-5 overall and 1-2 in the region.
Drake McCowan, who led North Murray with 12 points, pushed the Mountaineers to a 49-43 lead that was stretched to 50-43 before the Colts’ Taylor Poteet hit back-to-back three-pointers with less than a minute to play.
Poteet, who had nine points in the game, was fouled on his second 3-pointer and made the free throw to pull Coahulla to within 51-50. Allen was fouled by Hunter Williams with nine seconds left in the game and nailed two free throws to give North Murray a 53-50 lead.
In the final seconds, Dee McCord, who finished with nine points, got the ball for the Colts with a last chance. His 23-footer rimmed out and Allen grabbed the rebound for North Murray.
The Colts started the third period with a three-pointer from McCord and a bucket by Hunter Williams, who had 14 points to lead the Colts.
But North Murray always had an answer in the last two periods. Alex Viars, Adrian Cook, Allen and Seth Satterfield all nailed 3-point shots in the last half of the game when Coahulla tried to draw close.
• Coahulla Creek girls 44, North Murray 31: Haley Reece scored 15 points for the Lady Colts (5-4, 2-1) and teammates Nikki Ross and Ashton Patterson each chipped in eight rebounds.
The Lady Colts’ Bethany Goodwin hit two three-pointers in a row in the third period to push her team out to a 28-16 lead it never gave up.
Reece got Coahulla going early with seven first-half points and Sydney Storey nailed a 3-pointer as the Lady Colts built a 20-12 halftime lead. Ross was a strong presence in the paint for the Lady Colts with a first-half block, intimidation and shutting down North Murray’s post players.
But Ross had to sit on the bench much of the second period with three fouls and she picked up her fourth early in the third period.
Coahulla Creek coach Ryan Long wasn’t happy with his guard play in the first half and he challenged Reece and Goodwin to do better after halftime. They responded.
“Defensively, we played hard and we did the little things right tonight,” Long said. “This is the first that I challenged the guards to step up. In the second half, they took care of the basketball. For Ross, she’s really stepped up in the last two games. Goodwin played very well and she’s been sick.”
North Murray (2-4, 1-2) was led by Kara Deal’s 11-point performance.