December 15, 2013

Area prep roundup: Mountaineers making progress on the court

North Murray High School boys basketball coach Tim Ellis wants his team to get better, be balanced and learn from its mistakes.

Saturday’s game at Southeast Whitfield showed him those things are happening.

The Mountaineers went on a 6-0 run to start the second half and push their lead to double digits before pulling away from the Raiders in a 72-53 victory.

All 12 of the North Murray players who got in the game scored.

“I love the balance,” Ellis said. “I tend to look at it from production by position, and we are getting a lot more out of our 5 and our 2 spots. I am liking that. And other teams aren’t getting extra possessions like they have in the past.”

Hinton McConkey led North Murray (6-3) with 15 points, while Noah Allen added 12.

Southeast (3-6) was led by Rhett Harper’s 21 points and 15 from Ty Pendley.

North Murray beat Southeast 71-69 on Nov. 29 in Chatsworth, and Ellis said this game showed his players how much their defensive mechanics have improved since then.

“We only put them on the line nine times tonight,” Ellis said. “It was 35 the first time at our place. We guarded a lot better instead of reaching. That was a big point of emphasis coming into this week.”

The fact that the Mountaineers are applying those points of emphasis has Ellis especially pleased.

“Our guys are starting to mature a little bit, and what I like is when we go over a scouting report and a game plan, they are really focusing on that and understanding it,” Ellis said. “They are applying things a lot more than they were two weeks ago.”

Southeast girls 39, North Murray 33: After taking a one-point lead into the locker room at halftime, the Lady Raiders gave themselves some cushion in the third quarter and held off a late charge from the Lady Mountaineers in a non-region game.

Judelle Herrera had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Southeast (6-3).

Scoring was at a premium in the first half, with the two teams tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter and the Lady Raiders up 13-12 at halftime.

Southeast outscored North Murray 12-5 in the third quarter before the Lady Mountaineers closed to within three points in the final period, but the Lady Raiders were able to maintain their lead and secure the win.

Statistics for North Murray (2-5) were not reported by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.

Coahulla Creek boys 67, Ridgeland 62: Taylor Poteet led the way with 14 points and the Colts (5-5) used balance to overcome a 14 of 25 night at the foul line and a 25-point performance by Ridgeland guard Jalen Smith.

“It wasn’t a pretty game and we missed a lot of free throws down the stretch, but they are starting to learn how to win some games like that,” Coahulla Creek coach Matthew Queener said. “It was a good sign. These are the kind of games that we might have lost last year.”

The host Colts were leading 46-38 going into the fourth quarter, but the Panthers made a game of it with a run to start the period. They took a one-point lead midway through the fourth before Coahulla Creek regained the lead and held the Panthers off.

Michael Ward added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Colts.

Ridgeland girls 52, Coahulla Creek 34: Ridgeland held the Lady Colts to just eight points in the first half and rolled to a non-region victory in Varnell. Haley Reece led Coahulla Creek (4-4) with 14 points, while Erin Curnalia had nine rebounds.

Northwest Whitfield girls 70, East Hamilton (Tenn.) 34: One thing Northwest girls coach Greg Brown hasn’t been able to complain about so far this season is balance.

Macy Weeks had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Mary Kate Allen pulled down 10 rebounds and Halle Ford scored 10 points and handed out eight assists as 13 of the team’s 14 players scored for the Lady Bruins (8-1) in their road win.

“We shot it well and it was probably the best half we have played all year,” said Brown, whose team led 46-12 at the end of the first half. “I would call us a very, very balanced team.

“I am always preaching to just do your job, and we have several kids that can contribute and help. It is hard to concentrate on one person because we have had five different leading scorers on different nights.”

Northwest boys 84, East Hamilton (Tenn.) 60: Caleb Storey pumped in 27 points, but Bruins’ coach Ryan Richards was lauding another player after his team scored 27 points in the fourth quarter.

Tanner Bailey had 17 points, and while Storey has been consistent all year long, Richards said Bailey has progressed the most since the start of the season.

“He has been averaging around eight or nine points, and he had a breakout tonight,” Richards said of Bailey. “(Caleb) is just playing real well right now. He is playing hard on defense, and he is our leader and doing a lot of stuff.”

Andy Whisenant added nine points and seven rebounds for the Bruins (3-3).

Section (Ala.) boys 67, Dalton 59: The Catamounts won the last 28 minutes of their game against the Lions.

It was the first four minutes that were the problem.

Section (10-1) hit six 3-pointers in the first quarter and led 25-12 at the end of the first period, and the Catamounts (2-2) were never able to recover.

“I guess we wanted them to prove that they could shoot,” Dalton coach Mike Duffie said, “and they did.”

Dalton shot 62 percent on its shots inside of the 3-point line, but hit just 4 of 21 from behind the line. Section hit 70 percent from inside the arc and finished 10 of 22 from behind it.

“There weren’t a lot of rebounds,” Duffie said. “We got down 13, and we got in too big of a hole. We didn’t play bad for the game, just the first few minutes.”

Dalton got the Lions’ lead down to as little as five points in the final period.

Emier Bowman led Dalton with 18 points, while Lyle Durham had 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Braxton Thomas finished with 12 points.

Sonoraville girls 79, Christian Heritage 29: The Lady Lions (1-8) fell victim to the press in the first half as Sonoraville raced to a 48-14 halftime lead.

“They pressed a lot at the beginning, we didn’t handle it very well, and we let their 6-foot-2-inch post get a little too much,” Christian Heritage coach Heather Lowery said.

That post was Carrie Cheeks, who led the Lady Phoenix with 32 points. Sarah Massengale led Christian Heritage with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Sonoraville boys 53, Christian Heritage 48: The Lions (4-3) trailed at each of the quarter breaks — 10-4, 23-21 and 35-32 — as they lost at home. Tyler Tipton led Christian Heritage with nine points, while Tyson Cooper chipped in eight.

Chattooga boys 66, Morris Innovative 12: Justin Scott scored 10 points for the Tigers (0-8, 0-5 Region 7-2A), who trailed 44-3 at the half.

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