The Dogs bats were hot on Tuesday as they piled on the runs against conference foe Hiwassee Dam. They racked up 17 runs on 14 total hits and won the game by mercy rule, 17-1.
Dawson Hensley started the game on the mound and was flashing some filthy stuff, striking out seven and only allowing one run on three hits through the 3 innings he pitched. Hensley’s day didn’t end on the mound however as he drove in 4 runs on 3 hits, coming up a double short of the cycle, hitting a triple in the second, a single in the third, and a home run in the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, head coach Adam Clonts gave Elijah Davis the opportunity to see his first Varsity at bat and he made the most of it with a sacrifice fly out to left center, scoring Briggs Cornwell and allowing Eli’s name to be etched in the scorebooks for the first time.
Lucas Barolet, Briggs Cornwell, Dawson Hensley, Jesse Kephart, and Kellen Rumfelt all had multiple hit outings for the Bulldogs. The Dogs are set to play another conference game against Robbinsville on Friday March 15th, weather permitting.
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.
HOW TO SPONSOR YOUR TEAM(S):
After winning the Smoky Mountain Conference and defeating Cherokee for the Region Championship Friday night at Murphy High School, the Lady Bulldogs are victims of a “hurry up and wait” situation. They’ve tip-toed the sideline of perfection this season, suffering only one loss in conference play to the Braves, whom they beat 2-out-of-3 meetings this year.
The Lady Dawgs only other loss came all the way back on November 25, 2017 when they fell by 10 to the Cougars of Mountain Heritage (Burnsville, NC) in the Coaches vs Cancer tournament. If you’re wondering where Mountain Heritage is, shift your focus to how good they are; 23-1, 11-0 at the time of this article and ranked 203rd in the United States (8th overall in the state of North Carolina regardless of classification). They’re alright. I mean, if you’re into teams that win and all that.
Which brings us to present-day basketball, where the Lady Dawgs are stuck behind the fictional chain-link fence like a kennel of Blue Ticks waiting for a full moon.
The Lady Bulldogs are one of eight teams who have earned a first-round bye as the NCHSAA State Basketball Playoffs begin on Tuesday. Pine Lake Prep (14) will host East Surry (16) for Tuesday’s first round games, with Murphy taking on the winner in round two Thursday afternoon.
Pine Lake Preparatory School of Mooresville, NC has had an impressive season thus far, boasting a 10-2 conference record while going 18-8 overall. Competing in the PAC-7 1A conference, their two conference losses came by the hands of Union Academy (23-2, 13-0) of Monroe; and both games were decided by fewer than 10 points.
East Surry (13-12, 7-3) looks to be the underdog in the first round, barely breaking .500 on the season. The Cardinals out of Pilot Mountain finished 3rd in the 1A Northwest Conference, behind Mount Airy (22-2, 10-0) and Bishop McGuinness (15-11, 7-3).
The 2018 NCHSAA State Basketball Playoffs are set to kick off and TeamFYNSports will be following the Murphy Lady Bulldogs all the way to the championship. Be sure to follow us on facebook, instagram and twitter for updates as the post-season progresses!
1st round (Feb. 20):
1-Pamlico County vs BYE / 16-Perquimans vs 17-Northside (Pinetown)
8-East Columbus vs BYE / 9-Riverside (Williamston) vs 24-Ocracoke
4-Cape Hatteras vs BYE / 13-Creswell vs 20-Raleigh Charter
5-Roxboro Community vs BYE / 12-Vance Charter vs 21-Rocky Mount Prep
3-Northampton County vs BYE / 14-Lakewood vs 19-Southside
6-East Carteret vs BYE / 11-Manteo vs 22-Voyager Academy
2-Plymouth vs BYE / 15-Gates County vs 18-Edenton Holmes
7-Neuse Charter vs BYE / 10-Weldon vs 23-Princeton
2nd round (Feb. 22):
3rd round (Feb. 24):
4th round (Feb. 27):
East final (March 3):
State championship (March 10):
1st round (Feb. 20):
1-Mount Airy vs BYE / 16-South Davidson vs 17-Alleghany County
8-Lincoln Charter vs BYE / 9-Highlands vs 24-Blue Ridge
4-East Wilkes vs BYE / 13-Albemarle vs 20-Hayesville
5-Chatham Central vs BYE / 12-River Mill Academy vs 21-Piedmont Community
3-Murphy vs BYE / 14-Pine Lake Prep vs 19-East Surry
6-Union Academy vs BYE / 11-Bishop McGuinness vs 22-CSD
2-Mitchell County vs BYE / 15-Highland Tech vs 18-Robbinsville
7-Gray Stone Day vs BYE / 10-Cherokee vs 23-Hiwassee Dam
2nd round (Feb. 22):
3rd round (Feb. 24):
4th round (Feb. 27):
East final (March 3):
State championship (March 10):
The Murphy Lady Bulldogs have been nothing short of legendary this season, but that’s nothing new for them. Last year the varsity girls went 26-2, falling by only one point in the Elite 8 to the eventual state champions.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team. They work extremely hard and do everything asked of them,” Murphy head coach Ray Gutierrez told TeamFYNSports last week. This week was no exception.
The Lady Bulldogs (18-1, 7-0) kicked last week off with a 52-32 win on the road at Hayesville, followed by a 74-26 road win over Andrews.
Sydni Addison, the ball hawk of the night, had seven steals on defense, scored six points and pulled in seven rebounds.
How do you beat two great wins on the road? You turn around and win two big games back-to-back at home.
How do you beat a 19-90 road win over Nantahala (Topton, NC)? You hold them under 10 points of offense.
On Friday, Nantahala took a rough road trip down to Murphy only to leave with their lowest offensive performance of the season. The Lady Bulldogs (wo)man-handled the Lady Hawks, coming away with a 77-8 home win, their 17th team victory of the season. They knew Saturday night’s game would be a true test.
Following the huge win over Nantahala, the Braves of Cherokee High (then 10-4, 7-0), came to Murphy for the matchup the entire state of North Carolina has been waiting to see.
“Cherokee had won 30 straight regular season conference games,” coach Gutierrez said of their opponent. “The gym was packed and both teams played their guts out. It was a great atmosphere for a basketball game.”
The first quarter was a close one – much closer than many of the games Murphy has played this season – with the Lady Bulldogs holding only a 4-point margin over the Braves, 18-14. The Lady Bulldogs, who average more than 60-points per game, were hitting their usual offensive numbers; but the Braves’ offense was up to the task early-on, making this game a true challenge for Murphy.
By halftime, Murphy had extended their lead by only one point. Trailing by five (43-38), the Braves were still in a dangerous position and neither team was a sure victor. Sharpshooters Clapsaddle and Pickens refused to leave the game in anyone’s hands other than their own. The two combined for 8-of-11 3-point attempts, combining for 31% of the total points for the Lady Bulldogs.
In the end, the Lady Bulldogs held on to defeat the Cherokee Braves 77-74, giving the Braves their first conference loss of the season (breaking a 30-game streak).
Clapsaddle scored 30 points, while Pickens had 14. Beckner scored 12 points in the game while Thompson scored nine points, Bri Moore had six, Martin scored four points and Addison scored a basket for two. Addison led the team with rebounds (8), while Beckner also pulled in eight boards, three offensively and five on defense.
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.
TeamFYNSports director Jason Banks called in this morning for our Monday Morning Quarterback segment. He and BKP discussed Fannin’s tough loss to Lumpkin, Ridgeland’s win over Pickens, and East Hall’s loss at Dawson. Follow TeamFYNSports for all your up to date high school football coverage in our North Ga region. Every Friday night we have your complete sideline coverage.
20 minutes before kick-off, the “Youth Dogs”, the younger Bulldogs, were on the field awaiting their champions, the clouds began to scatter, yet the Thunder remained, the thunderous 12th man were ready for a battle against the Bobcats of Gilmer. The starters were announced, and the lightning was unleashed.
The Gilmer Bobcats won the coin toss and that was all they were going to win on this glorious evening under the bright Friday Night Lights on David Gentry field. Bobcats defer, game on. The stage has been set, Gilmer kicks the ball to Murphy, and so it has begun.
“Captain” Curry, play-action fake, looks right, looks left, the electricity in his arm gathers strength, he reaches back, and fires a lighting bolt pass 30-yards down the field to his wide-receiver Travis “The Atlantic Lighting” Seabolt racing down the sideline, he catches the pass with both hands, taking it in for a 58-yard touchdown reception! “Miss Automatic” Katelyn Jones misses the extra point, shrugs it off, Dogs up 6-zip two plays in to the game.
They say lighting doesn’t strike the same spot twice, they were wrong! The thunderous 12th man exploded as “Captain” Curry found “The Atlantic Lighting” Seabolt for their second connection of the game. The atmosphere is electric, the Bulldogs are running on a fully charged mega-battery not of this world. Jones forces the pig skin through the uprights, bringing us to a 13-0 Bulldogs early 1st quarter lead.
The Murphy Bulldogs defense was in complete control of the Gilmer offense. After forcing the Bobcats to punt the football, Murphy marches down the field into the Bobcats redzone. “It’s not marble, it’s Slade” McTaggart gets the ball, hits the hole, breaks it outside, and bolts into the endzone from 16-yards out leaving the Bobcats in a cloud of static electricity and disbelief. Bulldogs go up by 20 still in the 1st quarter of play.
The combination of a lightning fast football team, and a thunderous 12th man leads to mistakes, Gilmer fumbles, and Bulldog Cory “Mad Cow” Farmer recovers the ball for a Bulldogs, first down! Threatening from just inside the redzone, Kadrian McRae electromagnetically teleports himself into the endzone, if you blinked, you missed him. 20-yard rushing touchdown for McRae, get that man a sandwich!
They were giving out lighting bolts for lunch at Murphy High School on Friday, clearly McRae had seconds, McRae strikes again, cuts right, turns up field, holds down the turbo boost button, and he was gone. 23-yards and 1.5 seconds later he was in for 6. “Miss Automatic” Jones hits the extra point, it’s 34-0 Bulldogs and it’s not even halftime yet. Get Gilmer some electrical tape for their gloves, Bulldogs are shocking.
The offensive line was a hurricane force thunderstorm Friday night, and the Bobcats had no choice but to seek shelter. Devonte “Show me the Murray” Murray, behind #HurricaneOffensiveLine, tidal waves it in from 23-yards out with ease to put the dogs up 41-0 after the successful extra point try by Jones.
More Bulldogs defense causing all kinds of problems for the Bobcats, Bulldogs get the ball back, and “it’s not marble, it’s Slade” McTaggart rumbles his way in from 15 yards out, boarding up the last of Gilmer’s windows. We hope the Bobcats have plenty of water and canned goods for the ride home, this Bulldogs Thunderstorm was too much for the Bobcats. The Bulldogs send in the pups to wrap up the second half, and that would be the final score of the game.
Smokey Mountain Conference play starts next week with Robbinsville coming to town this Friday.
Expect more of the same intensity, if not more, out of the Bulldogs this Friday. They have been a team possessed since their heartbreaking loss in Franklin a few weeks ago.
Curry is ready to throw the football through a mountain, and McTaggart would tackle a tornado if he had to. Check the voltage meter on the field the last two games played by the Murphy Bulldogs, the reading is off the charts!
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