The 6th seed Alleghany Lady Trojans (17-11) traveled all the way from Sparta, North Carolina to the cozy mountains of Murphy on Saturday night to kick off the craziness that is March Madness and face the 3rd seed Murphy Lady Bulldogs (24-4) in the 3rd round of the NCHSAA 1a State Playoffs.
The Lady Bulldogs came out of the gates hot, winning the tip and finding Brianna Moore for the easy lay up as the Lady dogs pulled ahead early. After some back and forth between the two teams, Murphy’s Kaiya Pickens drills a 3 in the face of Alleghany’s Abigail Keesling to give the Bulldogs a 17-6 lead with 2 and a half minutes left in the 1st. Murphy’s Head Coach Ray Gutierrez implicated a full court press in the early ongoing and Brianna Moore made it worth his while, forcing a turnover and scoring another bucket, adding to Murphy’s 21-6 lead with a little over a minute left in the first period of play. After the Lady Trojans force a turnover, Abigail Keesling converts an easy lay-in to end the first quarter and cut into the Bulldogs lead making it 25-12.
The lady Trojans knowing they have some work to do, come out firing to start the second half and make it a 10 point game with 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. This sparks a scoring run for the Bulldogs as Sydni Addison hits a 3 with under 3 minutes left in the half to make it 39-20. The bulldogs keep that same intensity down the stretch and end the half with a 23 point lead, 49-26. The 3rd quarter is more of the same as the Dogs keep piling it on, 71-31.
In the 4th the Lady Trojans initiate a full court press which leads to a couple of Bulldog turnovers and ignite an Alleghany run trimming the Bulldog lead 75-43 with just under 6 minutes left in the contest. Finally, Sydni Addison bangs in another 3 pointer to end Murphy’s scoring drought. With the drought ended, Coach Gutierrez subs in a wave of younger Bulldogs to allow them to gain some experience and earn some playing time and Taylor Phillips did just that, pulling a 3 that rolls around and around the rim until it finally falls, giving the Bulldogs a commanding 83-57 lead with just under a minute left.
The Lady Bulldogs end the game victorious 84-57 advancing to the fourth round as they travel to Avery County on Tuesday March 5th, to face the number 2 seed Lady Vikings in the Elite 8 of the NCHSAA 1a State Playoffs. The Bulldogs had 4 players in double figures, with Junior Sarah Pullium leading the way with 20 points, Junior Sydni Addison with 18, Freshman Torin Rodgers with 16 and Senior Aubrey Clapsaddle with 10.