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December 10, 2013

Prep roundup: Murray County boys hold on for first victory

Murray County High School’s boys basketball team stepped into the win column with a 49-48 victory over visiting Armuchee on Tuesday night at Kenneth Ross Gymnasium in Chatsworth.

But Murray County coach Greg Linder might be just as proud of what his team showed him in the victory as he was the final result.

“I was really proud of the guys, because they grew up tonight,” Linder said. “It’s the first time we’ve been in that situation and the way they responded and defended, especially the last 10 seconds or so of the ballgame, was very important.

“I’ve said all along that we’re still learning and that’s part of the learning curve.”

Cesar Romero had 18 points and Alex Hicks added nine to pace the scoring for Murray County (1-5, 1-2 Region 7-2A), which led 12-10 after the first quarter, 24-20 at halftime and 36-32 entering the final period.

Armuchee took its first lead halfway through the fourth quarter and the battle was back and forth the rest of the way, Linder said. Murray County, which took its final lead on Petee Waldon’s steal-and-layup with some 30 seconds to play, had a chance to stretch its one-point lead in the final seconds but missed the front end of a one-and-one trip to the foul line.

Armuchee missed a pair of free throws in the final minute and a desperation shot at the end.

Armuchee girls 77, Murray County 53: Aubrie Osborne had 20 points to pace Murray County (2-5, 1-2 Region 7-2A).

McKenzie Carroll and Catlyn Richardson each added nine points for Murray County, which is trying to adjust to the loss of starter Holly Stanfield and top substitute Ashley Harrison after both suffered season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injuries during Friday’s win against Chattooga.

Murray County was down 19-6 after the first quarter and trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half.

“We just got off to a slow start,” Murray County coach Michael Hill said, “and they absolutely lit it up in the first half. They couldn’t miss. They shot 55 percent from the free-throw line and about 60 percent from two-point range. ... We had a run and cut it down from 25 to 16 (in the fourth quarter) but we just couldn’t keep it going.”

Coahulla Creek boys 61, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 53: The Colts slowed things down in the second and fourth quarters, and those were the quarters that gave Coahulla Creek the win.

Dee McCord had 12 points and three other players — Taylor Poteet, Levi Wilson and Andrew Fisher — each had nine as the Colts (4-4, 1-1 Region 5-3A) outscored LFO 41-24 in the second and fourth combined.

“We tried to run through the offense and show some patience and it showed as we shot the ball better tonight,” Coahulla Creek coach Matthew Queener said.

“We shot 46 percent from the field, and we have been averaging right at 30. At the end, we got some turnovers and turned them into points.”

It was the second strong finish in a row for the Colts, who had held county rival Southeast Whitfield to just four points in the fourth in Saturday’s 41-34 win.

“That is back-to-back games where we have closed things out, and in the past we wouldn’t have been able to do that,” Queener said of the third-year school’s team. “We have seniors that have started since they were sophomores, and that is a huge part for us.”

Coahulla Creek girls 48, LFO 34: The Lady Colts (4-4, 1-1 Region 5-3A) took control quickly on their way to the road win, building a 19-3 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Nikki Ross paced Coahulla Creek with 19 points, while Sydney Storey added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Colts, who were up 31-8 at halftime and 39-19 entering the final period.

“We executed well on the offensive side in the first quarter,” Lady Colts coach Ryan Long said. “That was great for us — I couldn’t have asked for anything better defensively. We rebounded well and contested shots and had a really good first half.

“In the second half we kind of put the brakes on and played more defensive ball and the score showed that.”

Christian Heritage girls 54, Ridgeland 50: Three days after losing by 14 points to Ridgeland at home, the Lady Lions went on the road and earned their first win of the season.

Sara Massengale’s double-double — she had 27 points and 13 rebounds — led the way for Christian Heritage (1-6), while Mollie Crawford had eight assists and five steals and Pressley Poag chipped in seven points.

The Lady Lions led at the end of each quarter break — but narrowly, 17-14, 31-24 and 40-34 — and held off the Lady Panthers in the fourth.

“It’s one of the best games we’ve played this season,” Christian Heritage coach Heather Lowery said.

“They’ve got a girl who’s 6-2 (Tiffany Wimpy) and is solid around the basket, and we did a really good job on her.”

Ridgeland boys 72, Christian Heritage 61: Tyler Tipton and Cameron Locke combined for 32 points, but Ridgeland and Jalen Smith’s 30-point performance was enough to overcome the Lions (3-2).

Dalton boys 43, Cass 41: Both teams shot just 33 percent from the field and combined for 37 turnovers in a game Dalton coach Mike Duffie said “set basketball back three decades.”

Dalton’s Emier Bowman tipped a pass away from Cass and Braxton Thomas scored on a layup with :03 left to secure the win for the Cats (2-0).

“It was one of the ugliest games I have ever seen, but we found a way to win the game so I guess it could have been worse,” Duffie said.

“We hustled, we played hard and played good defense. We just couldn’t score tonight.”

Cass girls 72, Dalton 67 (OT): The Lady Cats let an eight-point lead slip away in the last three minutes of the game and were outscored 10-5 in the extra frame to drop their first game of the young season.

Cass sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with :03 remaining in regulation, and the Lady Catamounts (2-1) were 12 of 25 from the free-throw line.

“We gave it away from the free-throw line and not getting rebounds,” Dalton coach Lacie Coquerille said. “Defensively, we gave up easy buckets, and we didn’t hustle defensively.”

Scoring wasn’t a problem as four players reached double digits, led by Sarah Hartshorn with 20 along with Taitlyn Chesser (15), Hannah Cox (13) and Anna Kate Sisson (12).

Adairsville boys 51, North Murray 48: Noah Allen had 16 points and Drake McCowan chipped in 15 as the Mountaineers (4-3, 0-2 Region 5-3A) battled back repeatedly but couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night at home.

North Murray trailed 14-3 after the first quarter but closed the gap and was down just 20-18 at halftime.

“We couldn’t score but we guarded them and kept them from scoring a lot,” North Murray coach Tim Ellis said.

Adairsville started the second half with a 10-0 run and was up 35-28 entering the fourth quarter, but the Mountaineers battled back again only to miss an open 3-pointer in the final moments that would have tied the game.

Adairsville girls 39, North Murray 33: Kara Deal had 10 points as the Lady Mountaineers (2-3, 1-1 Region 5-3A) fell on the road.

North Murray led 10-8 at the end of the first quarter and by a single point (17-16) at the half, but trailed by two going into the fourth quarter and didn’t play as hard as needed, the Lady Mountaineers coach said.

“It was kind of an irritating game,” North Murray coach Keith Robinette said.

“These kids have to pride themselves on effort. Tonight, it just wasn’t there. I take full responsibility. I have to do a better job of getting these girls up to par to where they need to be.”

Model boys 79, Morris Innovative 14: The struggles continued for the Tigers (0-7, 0-4 Region 7-2A) in their first year of varsity competition as they trailed 25-0 before registering their first points in the road loss.

Model led 35-4 after one period and 57-6 at halftime. No Morris Innovative player finished the game with more than four points.

Northwest Whitfield JV girls 46, Rome 15: Lexi Storey led the Lady Bruins (4-0) with 14 points and Henley Brueckner added eight.

Coahulla Creek JV boys 46, LFO 38: Tyler Phillips had 13 points and Conner Meyers added 10 for the Colts (6-1).

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