By Doug Hawley
Two battle-tested seniors bailed out Northwest Whitfield’s girls basketball team in a 62-58 comeback victory Friday night against host Murray County. Northwest’s boys completed the sweep with a 66-28 victory.
Trailing 29-23 at halftime and 42-39 entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Bruins (3-1) followed the leads of Halle Ford and Mallory Souther to victory. They scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, as the victors’ only double-digit scorers.
Souther made four 3-pointers and Ford sank two.
“Halle has started for us for four years,” Northwest head coach Greg Brown said of the dynamic point guard. “Down the stretch, she wanted the ball in her hands and responded. Mallory also came through for us.”
Northwest gained the lead for good, 55-53, on Souther’s two free throws with 2:10 remaining.
Macy Weeks contributed eight points to the Lady Bruins’ attack.
“This is the best Murray team that I’ve seen in my seven years at Northwest,” Brown lauded. “They have a veteran team. I’m tickled to death that we got out with a win, particularly with the way that we shot free throws.”
Northwest started a frigid 4-of-16 from the charity stripe before finishing 19-of-43.
Post performer Catyln Richardson claimed game-high honors with 22 points in a losing effort for Murray County (1-2). Holly Stanfield and McKenzie Carroll chipped in 12 points each.
“We played well,” Murray County coach Michael Hill said. “They hit their shots down the stretch, and we didn’t. We do have a veteran team. We did not lose anybody from last year.”
• Northwest boys 66, Murray County 28: In the non-region nightcap, the Bruins (1-0) took any excitement out of the game at the start. They held the Indians (0-2) scoreless until 1:30 remained in the first quarter and held a 17-3 advantage at halftime.
“We had no jitters at all,” Bruins coach Ryan Richards said of his team’s season opener. “We played tough, pressing defense at the start. We came out with a lot of intensity. We knew that they had graduated all of their starters.”
Caleb Storey easily paced Northwest’s offense with 20 points while playing only three quarters. His production included three 3-pointers.
Andy Whisenant netted seven points as a dozen Bruins achieved the scoring column.
“Northwest came out and hit us in the mouth at the start,” Indians coach Greg Linder said. “We didn’t respond. We do have a lot of inexperience.”
Nick Stiles and Alex Hicks netted five points apiece for the Indians.
Due to the high school mercy rule (a 30-point lead by one squad into the last period), the final quarter was limited to six minutes.
• Northwest JV girls 62, Murray County 11: Bria Clemmons and Kylee Ward each scored 15 points, and Lexi Storey added 10 in the easy win for the Lady Bruins (1-0).
• Northwest JV boys 32, Murray County 29: Austin Morrison and Trey Walker each scored eight points to aid the Bruins (1-0).