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February 21, 2014

North Murray hoops swept from state tournament

Despite replacing its entire starting lineup from 2012-13, North Murray High School’s boys basketball team made the postseason this year — and next season they expect to return all but one player.

This year, though, ended Friday in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament for the Mountaineers as they lost 68-34 at Buford. The loss for the Mountaineers came a year after they advanced to the second round. They were making their third straight appearance in the state playoffs.

North Murray (17-12) and Buford were tied at 7 in the first quarter, but the Mountaineers went scoreless for the final three minutes of the period and trailed 18-7. Buford, the Region 7 champion, led 39-13 at halftime and 60-22 entering the fourth quarter. North Murray was the No. 4 seed from Region 5.

Noah Allen, a freshman, led the Mountaineers with 10 points. The only player the Mountaineers lose is senior Omar Romero.

“I hate it’s over,” North Murray coach Tim Ellis said. “I’m happy (Romero) was able to go out as a state tournament participant his senior year. The kid gave so much to our program and will be greatly missed.”

Ellis added that making the state tournament is valuable experience for the returning players.

“I think it’s huge going into the offseason,” he said. “... I like the possibilities and what the future holds.”

East Hall girls 61, North Murray 36: The Lady Mountain-eers, who finished third in Region 5, trailed 24-20 at halftime but scored just a single point in the third quarter.

East Hall, the second seed from Region 7, broke the game open with a 22-1 third quarter.

North Murray trailed 16-14 when the first quarter ended and led 20-18 late in the second quarter.

 Kara Deal and Amber Shook each scored nine points for the Lady Mountaineers (12-17), who lose seniors Deal and Grace Phillips after an up-and-down season with a strong run at the end to reach the state tournament.

“The adversity we’ve faced with injuries and having to play kids in different positions and losing seven seniors (last season) ... to make the state tournament two years in a row is huge,” Lady Mountaineers coach Keith Robinette said.

“We want to compete for region championships year in and year out. Eventually, we’d like to take that next step and get that win in the state tournament.”

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