The Murphy Lady Bulldogs played as expected in the conference tournament semifinal Monday night. It did pose an extra challenge as they were matchup with the tournament host, the Swain Lady Maroon Devils. While as the higher seed, Murphy was technically designated the home team, Swain, their opponent, was playing on their home court in front of home fans. Murphy got another big night, though, from Torin Rogers and with that comfortably won 59-39 to advance to the tournament final.
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a quick start scoring 18 points in the first quarter. Nine of those points came from star senior Torin Rogers, who hit a three as time expired in the quarter. While off to a hot scoring start, the Murphy defense was stifling, holding Swain to single digits at just five points. The second quarter saw Murphy’s defense improve even more, holding the Lady Devils to a minuscule four points. A second straight quarter with a buzzer-beater three from Torin Rogers gave Murphy a 30-9 lead going into halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs were seemingly on cruise control to open the second half with such a significant lead. This allowed Swain to make things exciting and cut the lead down, but they never truly challenged Murphy. The Lady Bulldogs saw their lead shrink slightly, but a solid fourth quarter put the game away. While Torin Rogers had done most of the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs, freshman Addie Johnson had a solid fourth quarter to help finish off the Lady Devils. Her six fourth-quarter points were a team-high as Murphy would win 59-39 to advance to the conference tournament final.
Murphy Leading Scorers:
Torin Rogers 25 points
Addie Johnson 10 points
Interview Murphy Head Coach Ray Gutierrez:
The Lady Bulldogs await the winner of tonight’s semifinal between Cherokee and Robbinsville to see who they will play in the tournament final Friday, February 18th.