By Jeff Rancudo
CHATSWORTH — With a performance that included five 3-pointers, Murray County High School’s McKenzie Carroll had a good start and a good finish to her day on the basketball court.
Thanks in part to Carroll, so did the rest of the Lady Indians.
Carroll scored her team’s first seven points in a 19-point effort and also grabbed six steals as the Lady Indians dominated throughout a 44-12 win over Coosa on Saturday at Kenneth Ross Gymnasium.
Coosa forced a split of varsity action by winning the boys game 72-35.
The hustle shown by the Lady Indians (3-6, 2-3 Region 7-2A) on offense and defense disrupted a young Lady Eagles lineup. When Murray County added confidence into that mix and started making shots as a result, it got even tougher for Coosa, which remained winless through four games of its all-region schedule.
“I told them to start believing in their shots,” Lady Indians coach Michael Hill said. “And they did. I loved their effort today. We work on toughness drills all the time. I always tell them that we can play with anybody, but we’ve got to make more shots.”
Coosa trailed 14-2 by the end of the first period and never recovered, with no single player scoring more than four points.
Seven different players scored for Murray County, although Carroll was the only one in double figures — Kailey Webb’s six points was next on the scoring list for the Lady Indians. Chloe Brown pulled down eight rebounds.
In the boys game, Coosa showed athleticism, aggressiveness and plenty of depth in its lineup as the Eagles overpowered Murray County (1-7, 1-3).
The Indians beat the Eagles’ tough press repeatedly in the first period and led 15-13 at the end of the quarter. But in the second period, Coosa (6-1, 5-1) threw too much speed at the Indians, outscoring them 14-1 in the quarter to take a 27-16 edge into the locker room at halftime.
Making matters worse from a psychological standpoint for the Indians was the way the second quarter ended. Coosa’s Billy Bell stole the ball and nailed a 40-foot shot at the halftime buzzer, a sign of more hard times to come for Murray County.
In the third period, a jumper from Petee Waldon (who finished the game with 10 points), two layups and a free throw from Jagger Childers (who finished with nine points) and a jump shot from Cesar Romero (who also finished with 10 points) forged Murray’s last real push. Coosa — which got a game-high 14 points from Korley Grier, 13 from Bell and 11 from Isaac Bradley — started the third period with a 10-0 run and ended the quarter with a 3-pointer from Grier for a 45-25 lead.
Indians coach Greg Linder said Saturday’s strong start/hard landing scenario is quite familiar for this year’s squad.
He praised his team’s effort and attitude, but said execution was lacking.
“We’ve been here before,” Linder said. “In the second quarter, we were a product of our own mistakes. We did it again in the third quarter. I’m sure when we look at the film we’ll see what we did to ourselves. I felt like we were getting into a rhythm. But we’re going to have to grow and get better.”