February 14, 2014

Lady Indians one step away from state

The snow that covered north Georgia this week didn’t just mess up roads, electrical power grids and school schedules. It also has produced an effect on the teams playing in the Region 7-2A basketball tournament.

Call it a snow daze.

Murray County’s girls scored just four points in the second quarter of Friday’s Region 7-2A first round game against Coosa, but Coosa managed just two points in the third. That was more than enough for the Lady Indians (9-17) to take a 40-18 victory and earn a shot at host Calhoun tonight at 7 with a state tournament berth on the line.

“I have been seeing it all night,” Murray County coach Michael Hill said. “All of the teams are feeling the effects of the snow days.”

In other tournament action Friday, Murray County’s boys beat Morris Innovative 50-21 in the opening game of the tournament, but the Indians couldn’t win later in the evening, falling 57-37 to Chattooga. Murray’s boys were forced to play twice in one day because of the compacted schedule of the tournament due to the weather.

The Lady Indians led 14-6 at the end of the first quarter and were outscored 5-4 in the second quarter to hold an 18-11 lead at the half.

“Both teams tried to give it away in the first half,” Hill said. “But the girls came through when they knew what we had to do in the second half.”

Murray County led 25-13 at the end of the third and finally got some offense rolling in the fourth, scoring 15 points to win by 22. Caitlyn Sims led the Lady Indians with 11 points, and Shea Pendley added eight.

Calhoun is the third seed in the tournament and has beaten the sixth-seeded Lady Indians twice this season. But Hill is hoping the “snow daze” will have a big impact on the Lady Yellow Jackets, who haven’t played in more than a week.

“I hope we get a little advantage,” Hill said. “Maybe that will give us an opportunity to come out quick. Plus we are telling the girls that it should be hard for a team to beat you three times in one season, so you never know.”

• In the nightcap for Murray County’s boys, Cesar Romero led the Indians (5-22) with 18 points but Chattooga grabbed a 25-13 lead at halftime and 44-22 lead entering the fourth quarter.

“In the second quarter, we ended up in a drought,” Murray County coach Greg Linder said. “We couldn’t knock down a shot. I felt like defensively we were playing extremely well. ... In the third quarter, we really had a letdown.”

In the win over Morris Innovative, the Indians turned an 11-6 lead when the second quarter started into a 26-9 halftime cushion and rolled the rest of the way.

Romero scored 15 points while only playing three quarters, and nine other players entered the scorebook for Murray County. Romero is one of three seniors — Jagger Childers and Nick Stiles the other two — who completed their high school careers.

“I think we grew up a lot as a team,” Linder said. “I think my three seniors came up to work every day and set a good example for our younger guys. By the end of the season, we weren’t the same team.”

Justin Scott scored 14 of the Tigers’ points but couldn’t give the team its first varsity win.

“We did some good things but we didn’t do enough of them,” Morris Innovative coach Doug Peters said.

The Tigers finished 0-26 for the season, but Peters said the team improved from the first game to the final stretch and felt winning once would be concrete evidence.

“We did want one,” Peters said, “and we thought as we were getting better that we had a legitimate chance. We would play well for a couple quarters at a time. It was a combination of us making too many mistakes and other teams doing enough to win.”

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