• Murphy's Torin Rogers, Sarah Pullium and Aubrey Clapsaddle (from left) close in on Walhalla, S.C.'s Haley Moore on Thursday, during the first day of the Battle of the States Tournament at Towns County High School in Hiawassee, Ga. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY
    Murphy's Torin Rogers, Sarah Pullium and Aubrey Clapsaddle (from left) close in on Walhalla, S.C.'s Haley Moore on Thursday, during the first day of the Battle of the States Tournament at Towns County High School in Hiawassee, Ga. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY

Murphy girls compete in Battle of the States final

   Hiawassee, Ga. – Despite boasting a roster of seven players, the Lumpkin County, Ga. Lady Indians proved to be a quick, sharp test for the Murphy Lady Bulldogs on Saturday night.
   The two programs met in the finals of the 25th Annual Battle of the States Tournament at Towns County High School in Hiawassee, Ga. and the evenly-matched game wrapped up with a 57-53 victory for Lumpkin (13-3).
   It was Murphy’s second-straight States finale, as the Lady Bulldogs (4-3) defeated Hokes Bluff, Ala. to win the 2017 event. The loss halted a four-game winning streak for Murphy, which started the year 0-2.
   “They’ve won 13 games for a reason; they’re a good basketball team,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Ray Gutierrez. “They’re well-coached and ran some good stuff against us. I just felt like we just missed some easy shots. But I’m proud of our effort. We got better today.”
   Murphy junior Sydni Addison had a Lady Bulldogs-leading 21 points against the Region 7-3A Lady Indians. She also had three rebounds and one steal in the game, one night after producing the game-winning basket that helped Murphy squeeze by Union County, Ga. in the semifinals, 57-56.
   “Last night was a blur. We had to make things happen at the last minute,” Addison said of Friday’s win, before adding, “Tonight, we had a plan. It might not have went as we hoped, but the effort was there and we all worked together as a team.”
   Also scoring for the Lady Bulldogs was Torin Rogers 14, Brianna Moore 7, Sarah Pullium 6, Aubrey Clapsaddle 4 and Kaiya Pickens 1.
   Murphy resumes regular-season action Thursday, when Highlands visits. The four-game tilt will begin with junior varsity girls action at 4 p.m.
   “We’ll be fine,” Gutierrez said. “We’ve got work to do, but we’re getting good looks. We’re going to take a little break, be fresh, recharge our batteries and come back with a great January.”