Southeast Whitfield’s girls basketball team could have taken a big step toward claiming Sub-region 7B-4A’s No. 1 seed for the region tournament Tuesday night.
Unfortunately for the Lady Raiders, they lost their shooting touch.
Southeast made just 32 percent of its shots from the field in a 55-50 home loss to suddenly resurgent Heritage-Catoosa. With Northwest Whitfield’s win over Dalton on the same night, the Lady Raiders, Lady Bruins and Lady Catamounts all have two losses in sub-region play, while Heritage is one game back in the loss column.
Northwest (14-7, 5-2) and Southeast (14-7, 6-2) will meet Friday in Tunnel Hill, while the Lady Bruins will face Heritage (16-5, 4-3) on Feb. 7 in a game that was postponed last week because of weather. Dalton (17-6, 6-2) and Southeast will play next Tuesday to wrap up the regular season. The Region 7-4A tournament will be played at Dalton the week of Feb. 11.
“All four teams at the top of our sub-region can all play, and it will be just a matter of who gets hot at the right time,” Southeast coach Mike Durham said. “But the other teams on the other side are all pretty good, too, and if you have a bad night your season can come to an end. The good thing is we still control our own destiny. We just have to take care of ourselves.”
For the Lady Raiders, that will likely involve shooting drills this week.
Southeast was just 12 of 32 from inside the three-point line and even worse from beyond it, hitting just 23 percent (4 of 17).
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Durham said, “but defensively we would hold them to one shot and then couldn’t buy a basket,” he said.
Considering the dismal shooting effort, it was surprising the Lady Raiders were able to make a game of it.
Heritage led 39-30 after a 3-pointer by Jada Hubbard to start the fourth quarter, but a bucket in the paint by Wendy Perez, an 18-footer from Judelle Herrera and a 3-pointer from Megan Collins made it a two-point game with less than five minutes to play. The two teams traded buckets and free throws until Collins hit another 3-pointer with 1:05 left to cut the Lady Generals’ lead to 48-47.
That was as close as the Lady Raiders got.
Hubbard finished with a game-high 29 points, while Collins — honored after the game for scoring her 1,000th career point earlier this year — and Cricket Wyatt each scored 15 points for Southeast.
• Murray County boys 75, Dade County 62: The Indians held Dade County to nearly 20 points below their season average and five different players scored in double figures for the Region 7-2A victory. It was the second win in a row for Murray County, and came in back-to-back nights after a win Monday at Coosa.
“I think that we are finally getting healthy, and having to take some time off for the weather last week sort of got our legs back under us,” Murray County coach Greg Linder said. “We talk all year about the right time we have to peak. You want to be at your top at tournament time, and we are playing with a whole lot of confidence right now.”
The Indians led 28-27 at the half but took control in the third quarter and built an 11-point lead heading into the fourth. During the final period, Linder said Dade County fell back into a zone defense and the Indians were able to hit their outside shots.
But it was his own team’s defense that impressed Linder the most.
“We just contained them,” Linder said. “We played solid defense all night long. We won it on the defensive end tonight, and it was a total game for us. We handled their pressure in the fourth quarter and attacked the pressure and held them off.”
Dillion Cantrell had 17 points to lead the Indians (12-10, 7-4), while Jacob Sturgill finished with 16. Matthew Corbin had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Martin Contreras and Brady Todd had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
• North Murray boys 53, Sonoraville 33: The Mountaineers started fast, hit a lull in the second quarter and then adjusted to take an easy Region 5-3A win over the visiting Phoenix.
Zach Vess finished with 24 points for North Murray (18-4, 9-2), while Brady Swilling had 11. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and held Sonoraville to just 14 points in the second half.
“Everybody is getting ready for the tournament and trying to make your final adjustments, and right now we are third in the region and there are no automatic berths to state for third,” North Murray coach Tim Ellis said. “We are looking for the opportunity to catch up with someone.”
• Heritage boys 61, Southeast 37: The Raiders (3-19, 2-6) led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, but the Generals outscored Southeast 22-9 in the second quarter to take control of the game.
Devin Gentry led Southeast with 13 points, while Chaz Payne added nine.
• Mt. Zion-Carrollton girls 56, Christian Heritage 43: The Lady Lions (5-16, 2-6 Sub-region 6A-A) kept pace at times with Mt. Zion, but the Lady Eagles had a 13-point lead at the half and never gave it up while rolling to the win.
“We didn’t play good defense at the beginning of the game, but then we got after it and got better as the game went on,” Christian Heritage coach Heather Lowery said. “We shot better from the free-throw line (10 of 13) tonight, but we just have to shoot better from the field.”
Sarah Massengale finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and three blocks to lead the Lady Lions. Rebecca Leonard added 13 points and eight rebounds.
• Mt. Zion-Carrollton boys 59, Christian Heritage 46: The Lions led by a basket at halftime but let that lead disappear in the Sub-region 6A-A home loss.
Michael McKinney had 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks for Christian Heritage (6-11, 2-6), while Cole Maffetone had seven points and seven rebounds.
• Dade County girls 56, Murray County 36: The Lady Indians cut their visitors’ lead to four points in the third quarter before Dade County pulled away in the Region 7-2A matchup.
Caitlyn Sims scored a team-high 11 points for Murray County (7-15, 4-7) — which trailed 12-9, 27-20 and 36-28 after the quarter breaks — while McKenzie Carroll chipped in eight.
“We played one heck of a game,” Lady Indians coach Michael Hill said. “It just got down there to the fouling at the end and they hit a bunch of free throws. We had them for a little bit, had them frazzled, but they stuck with the guns and came out on top there at the end.”
• Cartersville boys 85, Coahulla Creek 26: Cordarius Tarver scored eight points for the Colts (2-16, 1-10) in the Region 5-3A loss on the road.
• Cartersville girls 69, Coahulla Creek 31: Nikki Ross had 10 points as the Lady Colts (6-14, 3-8) fell to the Lady Hurricanes.
• Results from North Murray’s varsity girls basketball game were not reported by The Daily Citizen deadline.
• Northwest JV boys 63, Dalton 44: Walker Maret had 13 points and Ty Pendley finished with 11 as the Bruins (11-3) rolled past the Cats (9-2). Chase White led Dalton with 11 points.
• Northwest’s Macie Maret, Ana Hannah, Dala Hufstetler and Marlee Bingham became the first Lady Bruins in program history to qualify for the state swim meet when they turned in a time of 1 minute, 52.66 seconds this past weekend in the 200-yard freestyle relay at Westminster Schools’ Metro Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta.
In boys competition, Matthew Pipkin became the program’s first individual swimmer to qualify for state in two events, making it in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.46 and the 100 freestyle at 51.57.