Sports

February 18, 2014

Prep Roundup: Lady ’Neers finish third; boys fourth

After big losses Monday night in the Region 5-3A semifinals, both North Murray High School basketball teams wanted better results in their final games at the tournament.

Tuesday afternoon at Cartersville High School, the Lady Mountaineers did that by holding Ringgold to just four points in the fourth quarter en route to a 36-31 victory in the girls’ third-place game. North Murray’s boys didn’t have the same success after Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe finally got hot from the outside in a 54-49 victory for the Warriors.

North Murray’s girls claimed the No. 3 seed from the region and travel to play the No. 2 seed from Region 7-3A in the first round of the state tournament. The Mount-aineers are 5-3A’s No. 4 seed and travel to take on the 7-3A champions. First-round girls games are scheduled for Friday, with boys games scheduled for Saturday.

In the Region 7-3A champion-ship games on Tuesday, Buford’s boys took on Dawson County and the Buford girls played East Hall. If both teams from North Murray were to end up playing Buford, the games could be played as a doubleheader in one day.

“All that the numbers determine is who we play and where we play it,” Lady Mountaineers coach Keith Robinette said. “They don’t mean anything, especially between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds. You can’t take anything for granted just because you are a higher seed, and you can’t let a lower seed get you discouraged.”

Not getting discouraged was a big key for the Lady Mountaineers against Ringgold, which is led by former Northwest Whitfield coach Margaret Stockburger.

After leading 15-8 at the end of the first half, North Murray (12-16) was outscored 19-4 in the third quarter and trailed by eight going into the final frame. Robinette said being impatient on the offensive end of the floor and trying to press the ball inside to post Erin Robinson hurt the team.

“In the third quarter, we just turned it over,” Robinette said. “We were trying to go inside to Erin, and our offense is designed that if that isn’t there, you are to attack off the dribble. We were trying to force it inside and turned it over a lot. We didn’t get many scoring opportunities in the third because of that.”

Those turnovers turned into a lot of easy points on the other end of the floor. North Murray’s problems were the same ones that plagued Ringgold in the first half.

“There were a lot of turnovers, a lot of tips or a turnover and turn it back over,” Robinette said of the low-scoring contest. “It was just that kind of game. It was a dogfight. You had to earn everything. They made life miserable for our guards and turned it into a very physical game. A lot of our struggles were just them doing a heck of a job.”

The Lady Mountaineers made up for all of those mistakes in the fourth quarter. After switching to a half-court trap to disrupt Ringgold’s guard play, North Murray outscored the Lady Tigers 17-4 in the final period.

“The beauty about it was that we made plays in the fourth quarter,” Robinette said. “Two of their points in the fourth came from the free-throw line, so we only allowed one offensive basket. We had to scramble but we had enough stops and some conversions to get the win.”

Emma Gossage had eight points in the paint, while Grace Phillips finished with six as eight players scored for North Murray.

In the boys game, after leading 30-20 at halftime the Mountaineers suffered the same third-quarter blues the North Murray girls experienced — but they couldn’t overcome them and things got worse in the fourth. North Murray’s offense went cold in the third quarter as LFO finally dialed in its outside shots.

While North Murray missed on its first four trips down the floor in the second half, the Warriors hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished the game with eight to North Murray’s three. The Mountaineers were outscored 23-11 in the third quarter and 11-7 in the fourth.

“In the second half, our shots didn’t fall and they started knocking down shots from everywhere,” North Murray coach Tim Ellis said.

The Warriors went 18 of 21 at the foul line — Alex Rattanaxay scored 11 of his game-high 24 points there — while North Murray made 10 of 14.

Jordan Couch scored 15 points for North Murray (17-11), while Adrian Cooks added 12.

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