By Isaiah Garrett, TeamFYNSports reporter
The lady panthers got off to a slow start falling behind 16-14 at the end of the first. However, Senior Bailey Daniel led a lady panther 3 point parade by shooting 3-4 from downtown in the 2nd quarter.
Union led 31-26 at the half. Both teams were plagued with turnovers in the 3rd quarter, a combined 14 turnovers led to a score of 38-33 at the end of the 3rd. However, Darlington battled back to tie the game at 52 with only 57 seconds left in regulation.
Junior forward Adeline Dockrey made an incredible fade-away hook shot with 17 seconds left to grab the lead, a shot so impressive you had to see it to believe it. A Darlington 3-pointer at the buzzer fell inches short as it bounced off the rim. Union takes the win, 54-52.
Bailey Daniel led the panthers with 22. The lady panthers advanced to the semi-finals to play Murphy, NC at 4pm on Dec 28th. Full story to follow.
The 24th Annual Battle of the States Christmas Tournament kicked off in Hiawassee, Georgia on Wednesday, Dec 27. The tournament consists of eight boys and eight girls teams, who represent GA, NC, TN, and AL. There will be eight games a day for all three days of the tournament.
Here are the the first day results from the girls’ side of the bracket:
In the 10am game, Murphy NC beat Lumpkin County Girls by a score of 76-55. Post, Jessica Beckner led the Lady Bulldogs with 24 pts. Lumpkin was led in scoring by Makenzie Pulley, who had 19 pts.
In the 1pm game, Hokes Bluff, Alabama defeated Polk County, TN by a score of 32 – 23. Amanda Noah led Hokes Bluff with 21 pts. Nikki Ball led Polk County with 11 pts.
In the 4pm game, Union County defeated Darlington Academy in a close fought contest. Union pulled out a 54-52 victory as Darlington missed a game-tying field goal as time expired. Adeline Mockery paced the Lady Panthers with 22 pts. Caroline Dingler led Darlington with 21 pts.
In the 7pm tilt, the Towns County Lady Indians defeated rival, Hayesville, NC by a score of 52-42. Towns County kept the lead the whole first half, taking a 22-19 lead into intermission. The two teams were tied at 26 before Towns County’s press stretched the lead to 43-30 at the end of the third. Towns closed the game with a 10pt victory. Freshman, Kennedi Henson led Towns with 16. Junior, Taylor Cornett gave 9 pts, with a trifecta of long distance shots. Senior Madison McClure had 8 pts, hitting four crucial free throws in the game’s final minutes. Hayesville was led in scoring by Junior, Savanna Annis with 18 pts. Hailea Rickett finished with 17 pts.
Day Two of the Battle of States tournament will feature 4 girls and 4 boys games through the whole day of Thursday, December 28th. The tournament will conclude on Friday, December 29th with 8 more games to determine Battle of the States’ Champions, as well as 2nd through 5th place for Boys and Girls.
Day 2 Schedule (Thursday, Dec. 28)
10 am – Lumpkin County vs Darlington Academy (Girls)
11:30- Piedmont, AL vs Lumpkin County (Boys)
1:00 – Polk County, TN vs Hayesville, NC (Girls)
2:30 – Polk County, TN vs Hayesville, NC (Boys)
4:00 – Union County vs Murphy, NC (Girls)
5:30 – Union County vs Murphy, NC (Boys)
7:00 – Towns County vs Hokes Bluff, AL (Girls)
8:30 – Towns County vs Hokes Bluff, AL (Boys)
The Murphy Lady Bulldogs can play, folks. They opened the Battle of the States tournament at Towns County High School against a quality opponent, the Lumpkin County Lady Indians. Lumpkin (4-4, 1-1) was coming off a big 51-24 win at home against Mt Zion, after a tough 2-pt loss at Gilmer. Lumpkin’s biggest win of the season so far was against region rival Dawson County (46-39). The fact of the matter is – Lumpkin County is no push-over.
All that being said, Murphy’s varsity girls (6-1, 1-0) may carry the most talented roster TeamFYNSports has seen step onto a basketball court.
Nine different Lady Dawgs scored in the game, as Murphy head coach Ray Gutierrez worked to spread the playing time among his elite corps of hoopsters. Murphy senior Jessica Beckner was easily the TeamFYNSports player of the game, as she scored 24 points with 9 field goals and she went 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Junior Ellie Martin, one of three Lady Dawgs to hit shots from beyond the perimeter, was the second-leading scorer with 12 points, two of her baskets coming from outside the arch.
Juniors Aubrey Clapsaddle and Bri Moore each scored 8 points in the game, followed by sophomore Sydni Addison and senior Hailey Thompson with 7 points each. Freshman Kaiya Pickens scored 6 points in the game. Senior Brittin Johnson and freshman Sarah Pulliam each scored 2 points for Murphy, respectively.
The first quarter was all Murphy – scoring 21 points and holding Lumpkin to only two points of offense, both points coming by way of free throws made by Raven Chester of the Lady Indians. With a 21-2 first quarter, most expected this game to be over before it even began.
However, the Lady Indians’ offense came alive in the 2nd quarter, ignited behind the effort by Karlee Armstrong, who hit two 3’s and a field goal to put up 8 of Lumpkin’s 18 points. Makenzie Caldwell hit a three-pointer and Clara White put up six points in the effort as Lumpkin fought to challenge Murphy’s dominant start.
Murphy’s offense was as consistent and accurate in the 2nd as it was in the 1st quarter, despite the offensive push-back by Lumpkin County. The Lady Dawgs put up 21 points (again) and led 42-20 going into the locker room at halftime.
Throughout the second half, both teams saw surges in which Murphy would increase their lead, followed by Lumpkin patiently chopping away at it. Ultimately, the margin would prove too great for the Lady Indians to overcome.
Murphy won the game by a final score of 76-55, advancing to face Union County in the second round, Thursday afternoon. Lumpkin’s varsity girls moved to the other side of the bracket, facing Darlington (GA) Thursday morning.
Now that the regular season has come and gone, post-season GHSA changes start. The 2016-17 football scene could change for several teams. The realignment comes after a vote to make a new region “Super 44” which puts the top schools with 2,000+ kids in one super region. Now this changes everything from 6A to 1A. For every team that moves up or down another team has to do the same. Schools like Buford who have more than 3% of its kids outside the county are forced to move up with the new rules. Fannin and Banks Counties are looking like they will move down to AA, while East Hall, Lumpkin, Franklin and West Hall are moving to AAAA. Dawson County will remain the only 7-AAA team if all this plays out like suggested. It is unclear just yet as to what region Fannin will move to, but when we find out after the GHSA makes the changes later this year TeamFYNSports will keep you updated.
Here is a look at what things could look like next football season. Click Here