Murphy survives late meltdown, advances with 63-62 win over Mitchell.
Hickory - The Murphy Lady Bulldogs have advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A Girls State Championship for the first time since 1997 thanks to a 63-62 win over Mitchell in the NCHSAA 1A Girls Basketball Western Regional Championship on Saturday.
The Lady Dogs entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead, but everything that could go wrong began happening for Murphy.
Mitchell clawed their way back into the game, with Murphy still holding an eight-point advantage with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
A 3-pointer by Mitchell cut the deficit to just five points and a Murphy turnover gave the Lady Mountaineers the ball back.
Murphy was whistled for a questionable foul and sent Mitchell to the line, as the Lady Mountaineers were in the bonus.
The Lady Mountaineers nailed both free throws, cutting the deficit to just three points with 10 seconds to play.
Murphy turned the ball over again, Mitchell gained possession and the Lady Mountaineers were once again sent to the free-throw line.
The Lady Mountaineer shooter knocked down the first free throw, but missed the second and in the scramble for the loose rebound, Murphy was hit with another loose-ball foul.
Mitchell went back to the line and nailed both free throws, making it Murphy 62, Mitchell 61 with just 5.6 seconds to play.
Murphy forward Torin Rogers received the inbound and was fouled, heading to the free-throw line with 4.5 remaining.
Rogers nailed the first, but missed the second free-throw and in the ensuing chaos, Mitchell raced down the floor and drew a shooting foul as time expired on the clock, sending the Lady Mountaineers to the line with 0.2 seconds remaining with a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Mitchell nailed the first free throw and the Lady Mountaineer crowd exploded into cheers, then Mitchell stepped up for the game-tying shot.
The ball hung on the rim for what felt like an eternity before falling out, allowing Murphy to escape with the one-point victory.
Lady Bulldog senior Sydni Addison led the way for Murphy with 23 points in the victory, 16 of which came in the first half.
Rogers finished with 16 points for Murphy, while Kaiya Pickens and Sarah Pullium tallied eight points apiece.
Mia Wilson contributed six points for the Lady Bulldogs, while Amber Martin knocked down two huge free throws in the fourth quarter for Murphy.
Find out more about the Murphy Lady Bulldogs' heart-pounding win over Mitchell in this coming week's edition of the Cherokee Scout.