February 6, 2013

Prep roundup: Murray County basketball picks up pair of Region 7-2A wins

Devin Golden

CHATSWORTH — All eight seniors on Murray County High School’s boys basketball team scored Tuesday night.

But Martin Contreras and Jacob Sturgill were the only two for a while.

The home team never trailed in a 70-51 Region 7-2A victory against Chattooga on senior night in Kenneth Ross Gymnasium. Murray County’s girls set up a sweep with a 40-29 win.

Murray County (13-11, 8-5) senior Brady Todd, the team’s leading scorer this season, didn’t register a point in the first half, but his side still led 18-12 at the end of the first quarter and 35-23 at halftime.

A lot of that was because of Contreras and Sturgill, who combined for four 3-pointers and the team’s first 22 points of the game. Cesar Romero’s free throw broke the streak with 5:20 left in the first half.

“Brady Todd got a lot of attention,” Murray County coach Greg Linder said. “If they’re going to defend us like that, then our outside shooters have to step up. And they did.”

In the second half, Todd scored 11 points as Chatt-ooga (5-18, 1-11) switched to a man-to-man defense and allowed Murray County to develop interior offense.

“All my seniors scored and all helped with that win,” said Linder, who didn’t have any seniors last year.

Matthew Corbin had eight points and nine rebounds, Jorge Romero and Dillion Cantrell each added two points and seven rebounds, Jake Ice tallied four points and Dylan Hubbard had two points. They all trailed Contreras’ game-high 17 points and Sturgill’s 15.

“I think in the first quarter the outside shooting brought their defense out,” Sturgill said. “I thought we played excellent except for boxing out and rebounding.”

Murray County plays Friday at Model in a game that was originally scheduled for last week but postponed. It could have a lot to do for seeding in next week’s region tournament. Calhoun has clinched the No. 1 seed, but the second spot is up for grabs.

“The way it looks we can go anywhere from second to fifth,” Linder said.

Chattooga finished the game shooting 6-for-20 from the free-throw line.

“It’s unexplainable how horrible we were from the free-throw line,” Chattooga coach Torey McDaniel said. “If you make those, you’re in the ball game.”

Murray County girls, 40, Chattooga 29: The home team’s strong first half carried it to a win.

Holly Stanfield led Murray County (8-16, 5-8 Region 7-2A) with 13 points, while Caitlyn Richardson added 12. Chattooga won each quarter in the second half, but the margin was much less than Murray County’s in the first half.

Murray County led 10-5 after the opening period and 25-10 at halftime. Chattooga narrowed the gap to 29-16 entering the final period.

Still, Murray County coach Michael Hill wasn’t pleased with his team’s play.

“They know they didn’t play well,” he said. “That’s what I told the girls: At least we can get the misses out of the way.”

Northwest Whitfield girls 56, Ridgeland 29: Trailing early, the host Lady Bruins snapped into action by outscoring Ridgeland 23-7 in the second period to take a 35-18 lead into halftime.

“We were a little slow in the first quarter. We were down 12-11,” Northwest coach Greg Brown said. “But we had a big second quarter and kind of woke up and got things going. Defensively, we picked it up and created some turnovers and were able to get going offensively that way.

“And we shot the ball well tonight. We hit eight 3s, which is a big thing this time of year, this late in the season.”

Kaitlin Wade led the Lady Bruins (16-7, 7-2 Sub-region 7B-4A) with 14 points, while Autumn Blackwell chipped in a dozen points and Liz Trew had 10 points and seven rebounds. Macy Weeks had five steals, while Halle Ford dished out four assists.

Northwest closes the regular season at 6 p.m. Thursday against Heritage-Catoosa in Tunnel Hill, and a win gives the Lady Bruins a share of first place in the sub-region with Dalton. A coin toss would determine the sub-region’s top seed for the Region 7-4A tournament, Dalton coach Jeff McKinney said.

Brown said that the No. 1 through 3 seeds will receive byes into the quarterfinals and need to win at least one game to qualify for the state tournament.

Northwest boys 83, Ridgeland 49: Balance was key in Northwest’s big win over the Panthers as 14 different players scored for the Bruins (19-3, 9-0 Sub-region 7B-4A), who led by 21 at the half and then continued to build their lead.

O’Shea Hill and Tanner Quarles each had 17 points, while Caleb Storey added 16 for Northwest, which will try to complete an undefeated sub-region schedule when it hosts Heritage on Thursday and honor the Bruins’ seniors in their final home game.

North Murray girls 52, Gordon Central 28: In Chatsworth, North Murray led 13-7 after the first quarter and 26-21 at halftime before taking off in the third quarter, when the visiting Lady Warriors were held to two points, both on free throws.

The Lady Mountaineers (15-9, 8-5 Region 5-3A) started the final period with a 41-23 lead and cruised to the big win. Kara Deal’s 12-point effort, which included a trio of 3-pointers, led North Murray, which had 10 of 13 players on its roster score.

“What was big tonight defensively was in the second half being able to hold them to seven points,” North Murray coach Keith Robinette said. “In the third quarter we really pushed the lead out there and had some conversions. And it’s good to have Kara Deal shooting the ball well for us. She’s a kid that can extend the defense out, and her knocking down 3s helped us.”

Megan Pittman and Grace Phillips each added eight points for North Murray, while Hannah Hensley chipped in seven.

Robinette said the Lady Mountaineers will likely be a No. 4 seed for the Region 5-3A tournament without help from others.

“But right now this time of year, we’ve got to worry about what we can do and move forward and keep the ball rolling,” he added. “We want to play with great effort and let it fall where it falls.”

Gordon Central boys 63, North Murray 62: Gordon Central’s Tyshaun Clemmons hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining and North Murray couldn’t convert in the waning seconds, missing a shot in the lane at the buzzer.

The loss locked the Mountaineers (19-5, 10-3 Region 5-3A) into the No. 3 seed for next week’s region tournament, North Murray coach Tim Ellis said.

Zach Vess — honored during the girls game for scoring 1,000 points in his career — finished with a game-high 24 points, while Brady Swilling added 15 for North Murray. Drew Mosteller and Zach Sanford each scored 11 in the loss.

Coahulla Creek girls 46, Ringgold 29: Leading 15-6 after one period and 26-18 at halftime, the Lady Colts stretched their legs by outscoring their hosts 15-7 in the third quarter of a Region 5-3A matchup.

Nikki Ross had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Colts (7-17, 4-9 Region 5-3A), while Haley Reece chipped in eight points.

“We did a good job adjusting to what they were giving us on defense,” Lady Colts coach Ryan Long said. “We were trying to be more efficient in running man-to-man offensive sets to prepare for next week and the region tournament. And we fed the post well — Nikki did a good job for us there.”

Long said the Lady Colts are battling for a No. 5 seed for the region tournament, along with Gordon Central and Adairsville.

Christian Heritage boys 69, Darlington 63: The Lions sent their seniors out on a high note with a win in their final home game.

Christian Heritage trailed by four at the end of the third quarter, but the Lions (8-12, 4-7 Sub-region 6A-A) outscored Darlington 24-14 in the fourth. Seniors Michael McKinney, Will Patterson, Cole Maffetone, Phillip Jackson and Cole Townsend were honored before the game.

Cameron Locke led all scorers with 19 points, while McKinney had 17 points and nine rebounds. Patterson also had 17 points, while Maffetone ended with 10.

Darlington girls 76, Christian Heritage 37: Rebecca Leonard led the way for Christian Heritage (5-19, 2-9 Sub-region 6A-A) with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Sarah Massengale just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Ransley Defoor added eight points for the Lady Lions, who trailed 54-22 at halftime after cutting the lead to five points during the first half.

“(Darlington) finished with six 3s and they were 10 of 15 from line,” Christian Heritage coach Heather Lowery said. “They had a big girl inside, Terar Stewart, that scored 20 points and was very physical.”

The Lady Lions close their regular season Friday at Southwest Atlanta Christian and are currently tied for fifth in the sub-region with Trion and Excel Christian, Lowery said.

• Coahulla Creek did not report results from Tuesday night’s scheduled varsity boys game at Ringgold.

Southeast JV girls 50, Dalton 47: Emily Beck’s 18-point performance led all scorers and helped the Lady Raiders (12-3) hold off their visitors for the victory.

Maranda Bates added eight points for Southeast, while Taitlyn Chesser paced the Lady Catamounts (9-5) with 11 points and Callie Smith had nine.

Northwest JV boys 52, Ridgeland 19: Ty Pendley led all scorers with 15 points and Jackson Carroll added 13 for the Bruins, who end the season with a 13-3 mark.

Darlington JV girls 31, Christian Heritage 30: Hannah Long and Ashlyn Clements each scored eight points for the Lady Lions.