Murphy wins three youth hoops titles
Robbinsville – Entering Saturday’s Smoky Mountain Youth Conference Tournament finals, Murphy’s up-and-coming basketball program had the potential for a clean sweep.
The end result was three titles and one near-miss, as Murphy’s Termite Girls and Boys, as well as the Mite Boys, won their respective title games over Andrews and Hayesville. The Mite Girls fell in their championship game to the Jackets, 22-19.
Murphy bested Andrews for the Termite Girls tournament championship, 18-14.
Mallory Miller led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 points. Also scoring was Gracie Hall 4 and Kennedy White 3. The Lady Bulldogs finish the season undefeated.
“When we started, we were hoping for three wins,” said Murphy head coach Terry Jones. “They just kept getting better and defied competition.”
Jones led his other team, the Termite Bulldogs, to a 27-19 win over Andrews.
Jude Pinkerton scored a Murphy-best 15 points in the game. Also scoring was Brayden Gutierrez 8, Nathan Skogen 2 and Joshua Patrick 2. The Bulldogs also finish the year unbeaten.
“I figured they were going to be pretty good,” Jones said. “Our bench was real weak at the start of the year, but I believe they really improved.”
Murphy put up a valiant fight against Hayesville, even taking a late lead, but ultimately dropped the Mite Girls finale, 22-19.
Katelyn Foster’s 11 points led the Lady Bulldogs. Also scoring was Jayda Holley 4, Cayla Geer 2, Julia Dockery 1 and Delaney Moss 1.
Murphy’s Mite Boys won a thriller over Hayesville, 32-31.
A.J. Rice led the Bulldogs with 13 points. Also scoring was Brady Grant 10, Ryan Payne 5, Robert Turner 2 and Jonah Hedden 2.
“We didn’t lead a whole lot, but the boys never gave up,” Murphy coach Henry Grant said.
“They knew it was theirs to lose. We started out this season real hot, but we hit a slow point before playing in a Christmas tournament at Fannin that got them back on track.”