North Murray’s girls basketball coach Keith Robinette was calling for someone to step up and deliver for a struggling offense.
Senior guard Abigail Bradley answered.
With her team leading 31-30 with 3:40 left in Saturday’s Region 5-3A game, Bradley hit two big 3-pointers in a span of 40 seconds as the Lady Mountaineers held off Coahulla Creek 40-33. In the boys’ game, the Mountaineers jumped out to an early 13-0 lead and marched past the Colts 62-33.
“She can shoot it for us,” Robinette said of Bradley. “She’s been playing well for us. There in the fourth quarter, they were sagging off on us a little bit (on the outside) and Abigail was standing right there and that’s what she does. She does so much, but outside shooting is definitely something she brings to our team.”
It took a whole quarter for the Lady Colts (6-14, 3-7) to get going on offense. Trailing 8-0 after the first, coach Ryan Long knew his team wouldn’t settle for the same in the second quarter.
“We just needed to run our halfcourt offense,” coach Ryan Long said. “They were trying to run and gun, making us take quick shots. We just needed to settle into our halfcourt game.”
Early in the second period, with her team trailing 8-2, Lady Colts guard Sydney Storey was looking up court for an open Macey Fossett. Storey let go of the pass and as it sailed upward, the pass appeared to be going out of bounds. However, the ball found itself nestled directly into the basket for a 3-pointer from just over mid-court.
“That’s something she must been working on. We haven’t really drawn that up in practice,” Long said. “She’s 1-for-1 on those now, shooting 100 percent.”
The shot was part of an 11-2 run for the Lady Colts. The two teams swapped buckets until the half, with North Murray (12-7, 6-4) gaining a 17-16 lead.
The Lady Colts took back the lead in the third quarter on a steal by guard Hannah Locke, who found Brittany Goodwin open for a 3-pointer from the left corner, putting the Lady Colts ahead 24-21 at the 3:22 mark.
After two North Murray free throws to end the quarter, Bradley opened the final period with a driving layup to give the Lady Mountaineers the lead for good.
North Murray pushed it to a three-point lead, and twice Coahulla Creek chipped it to one — off a pair off free throws by Fossett with 6:12 remaining, and then a jumper by Locke at the 3:47 mark that made the score 31-30, setting up Bradley’s late game heroics.
Robinette gave praise to Coahulla’s defensive intensity that gave his team fits for the better part of three quarters.
“A lot of times we hurt ourselves (with turnovers) ... and a lot of it had to do with Coahulla Creek and their defense,” Robinette said. “Coach Long does a great job with them and has them playing at a high level.”
Bradley led all scorers with 10 points, while senior center Megan Spivey added six points and five blocks.
Locke led the Lady Colts with nine points.
n North Murray boys 62, Coahulla Creek 33: The Mountaineers (17-4, 8-2) got the offense going early, with a quick 3-pointer from forward Austen Horn, then a crowd-pleasing alley oop two-handed dunk by senior center Zach Vess off a pass from Drew Mosteller.
It was just the beginning. The Mountaineers led 20-3 after the first quarter, and 34-10 at the break.
Early game lethargy had been an issue recently for North Murray coach Tim Ellis’ team, and he wanted to make sure his team had a quicker start for this one.
“We talked about getting a fast start,” Ellis said. “We had been coming out sluggish the past three games. The guys responded really well tonight, considering the (late afternoon) start. We came out with a sense of urgency and the ball going through the net really helps.”
Horn lit up the perimeter for 25 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead all scorers. Vess added 16 points and five blocks. The inside-outside combination proved to be too much for coach Matthew Queeners’ Colts (2-16, 1-9), who were led by Levi Wilson’s 12 points.
“This is one of those games where they’re physically stronger and skillfully ... better than us,” Queener said. “The good thing is, North Murray really demonstrates what you want to strive to play like. Once you get playing like that, everyone enjoys it. It’s a style of basketball you’d like to play someday, we’re just not there yet.”
• Southeast Whitfield girls 55, LaFayette 33: Megan Collins and Wendy Perez each scored 14 points to keep the Lady Raiders (14-6, 6-1) on pace in a tight Sub-region 7B-4A race.
Southeast is tied with Dalton — which won last night — for first place in league play with three games remaining, one versus each other Feb. 5. The Lady Raiders only led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter and 24-19 at halftime, but outscored the Lady Ramblers 17-4 in the third period for a 41-23 lead heading into the fourth.
“Both teams kind of got off to slow starts,” Lady Raiders coach Michael Durham said. “Neither one of us could score much.
“We played a lot better defensively in that third quarter. We scored real quick and turned around and got a quick stop and kicked it down the court and got another quick one.”
Collins added 14 rebounds to her stat line, while Perez tallied seven rebounds. Tavi Parris added seven points and seven rebounds, and Judelle Herrera and Crickett Wyatt each had six points.
• LaFayette boys 70, Southeast 41: The Raiders trailed by just nine at the end of the first half, but the Ramblers outscored Southeast 23-8 in the fourth quarter to pull away for the Region 7B-4A victory.
Chaz Payne scored 14 points to lead the Raiders (3-18, 2-5).
• At the Darlington Invitational in Rome, Dalton had two individuals earn places.
Dylan Carlile finished 3-1 on the day to finish in second place at 120 pounds. Also, Brian Nunez went 4-1 in the 132-pound weight class to finish in third for the tournament.