Sports

January 25, 2014

Prep roundup: Lady Cats earn third win in row

After tough games within their own leagues on Friday night, it was easy to forgive the girls basketball teams from Murray County and Dalton high schools for a lack of excitement at the beginning of their non-region meeting less than 24 hours later at The Cats Den.

They made up for it with an exciting finish.

After trailing for 3 1/2 quarters, Murray County took the lead, but Dalton was able to force overtime to take a 44-40 win over the visiting Lady Indians. The victory gave the Lady Catamounts (9-10) their first three-game winning streak of the season.

“Those Saturday afternoon games are tough after a hard-fought game the night before, and you could tell it for both teams,” Dalton coach Lacie Coquerille said. “Luckily, we got the game into overtime and then it seemed like we were ready to play.”

On Friday, the Lady Cats won 61-56 at Ridgeland in a Sub-region 7B-4A contest, while Murray County lost 51-20 to visiting Calhoun in Region 7-2A play.

Dalton’s boys completed the varsity sweep of their border rivals Saturday with a 64-39 win over the Indians.

In the girls game, Dalton held Murray County to just five points in the first quarter and took a 23-16 lead in the locker room at halftime. Little changed in the third quarter as the Lady Cats held a six-point advantage going into the fourth, but Murray County switched to a man-to-man defense and it paid dividends.

The Lady Indians (7-15) went on a 9-1 run to tie the game at 31 on Shea Pendley’s basket in transition and Caitlyn Sims gave Murray County its first lead, at 33-31, with a basket in the post.

Dalton evened the score on Gabby Wright’s 15-foot baseline jumper, but Murray County went up 35-33 on a pair of free throws by McKenzie Carroll with 26 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

However, Sarah Hartshorn forced the extra frame with a bucket on a drive down the left side of the lane as regulation ended with the teams knotted at 35.

Dalton’s Hannah Cox scored off of a cutter to the basket after the opening tip of overtime, and Hartshorn scored on a putback and a 12-foot jumper to push the Lady Cats ahead 41-35.

It was all the cushion Dalton needed.

Murray County closed the gap to 43-40 on a 3-pointer from Carroll, but Callie Smith hit 1 of 2 free throws with three seconds remaining to seal the win.

“After regulation you tell them they have four minutes to make it all worthwhile,” Coquerille said. “When we scored on the play off of the tip, we got a little enthusiasm and a little momentum that carried us.”

Hartshorn led Dalton with 10 points, while Hannah Cox added nine. Six players scored for Dalton, each with five or more points.

“You have to have everyone contribute on a day like today when everyone is tired and you might not be at your best,” Coquerille said. “When you are tired, everyone needs to step up.”

Sims led the Lady Indians with 15 points, while Carroll finished with 12.

In the boys matchup, after a tight start the Cats (14-5) went on a 9-0 run to close out the first quarter and kept the pressure up to win going away over the Indians (2-19).

Dalton, which had trailed 10-8 before the run, led 32-20 at halftime.

Murray County was held to just six points in the third quarter and the Cats led by 24 going into the final period.

Emier Bowman led all scorers with 16 points and also pulled down nine rebounds for Dalton, which got double-digit scoring from Braxton Thomas (14 points) and Mark Sims (13).

Jagger Childers’ 12-point effort paced Murray County.

Ringgold boys 60, North Murray 45: The Tigers made 11 3-pointers in the Mountaineers’ gym and built a 29-18 halftime edge on their way to the league victory.

Jordan Couch led North Murray (13-7, 5-5 Region 5-3A) with 12 points, while Drake McCowan added nine.

North Murray’s deficit stretched to 14 points as Ringgold led 48-34 entering the last quarter.

Ringgold girls 42, North Murray 29: The Lady Mountaineers trailed by four points at halftime, but Ringgold dominated the final two quarters to take the Region 5-3A contest.

After winning Friday night against Coahulla Creek, North Murray coach Keith Robinette was disappointed with the performance against the Lady Tigers.

“We have to be able to play at a high level on back-to-back nights,” Robinette said. “We can’t pick and choose when we are going to show up. We were just flat from the start.”

Grace Phillips led North Murray (9-13, 4-6) with eight points.

Sonoraville boys 66, Morris Innovative 48: Despite what coach Doug Peters called the Tigers’ “best game all year,” Sonoraville grabbed a double-digit lead and cruised to victory thanks to a one-sided third quarter at City Park Elementary School’s gymnasium.

Morris Innovative (0-21), which is in its first year of varsity competition, trailed 16-14 when the opening quarter ended and 31-26 at halftime.

“The lead went back and forth a lot of the first half,” Peters said.

Sonoraville held a 50-35 lead entering the final period in the closest final margin of the year for Morris Innovative.

“I’m so proud of them,” Peters said. “They were excited and it was fun to be in a game for a change. It was definitely a step in the right direction.”

Justin Scott scored 28 points, a school record for varsity games, while Jaleel Brown added seven.

n Dalton junior varsity girls 40, Murray County 16: Jordan Belflower and Alex Brum-below each scored eight points to lead the Lady Cats (8-3) as they coasted at home.

• Northwest Whitfield’s freshman boys team earned a pair of victories — beating North Paulding 54-27 and Paulding County 56-38 — to win a tournament at Cartersville High School.

The tournament was held over the past two Saturdays, with the Bruins going 1-1 on Jan. 18, but they avenged that loss with the title game victory over Paulding County.

In the championship, Northwest (10-6) was led by Will Blanchard’s 12-point effort, with Jay Jones adding 11 points and Tanner Boyd and Jay Hooker finishing with seven apiece.

In the win against North Paulding, Austin Shropshire had a team-best seven points as all 12 Northwest players scored. Blanchard, Hooker and Gage Mosteller each added six points.

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