CHATSWORTH, Ga - McMinn County High School split a pair of basketball games on the first day of the Mistletoe Madness Basketball Tournament at North Murray High School in Chatsworth, Georgia.
The Lady Cherokees raced past Dalton 77-42 while the Cherokees rallied from being seven points behind with just under three minutes to play to force overtime, but ultimately lost 69-59 to North Murray.
The Lady Cherokees, after a slow start, rolled past Dalton Lady Cherokee Coach Tim McPhail said he his team did some good things, but also some not-so-good things.
"We shot the ball very well," McPhail said. "Any time you make 15 'threes,' you are shooting the ball well and I'm happy with that. But on the flip side, there are some of the small things that we are still not doing right. We got outrebounded and I thought we got outworked.
"I know we won by 35, but they got to the free throw line more and got to the loose balls. As a coach, it bothers me any time we get outworked."
Despite the loss, McMinn Assistant Coach Nathan Simbeck was proud of his team's effort.
"We showed a lot of grit just getting the game to overtime," Simbeck said. "There are some of the little things that we didn't do that hurt us, like giving up second-chance shots and missing free throws. But we played hard and I just think we ran out of gas in overtime."
The Cherokees (4-7) will play Murray County at 1 today while the Lady Cherokees (6-3) will face Murray County at 2:30 p.m.
Lady Cherokees 77, Dalton 42
McMinn got off to a slow start, according to McPhail, but still led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. Emily Liner, Kaylen Hicks and Ashley Baxter each hit three-pointers in the period.
Then the Lady Cherokees kicked into gear leaving the Lady Catamounts behind, outscoring Dalton 26-11 in the third quarter on the way to a 43-24 halftime lead.
Paige Manney powered McMinn's second-quarter attack, scoring 10 points - including a pair of three-pointers. Also hitting treys in the period for McMinn were Hannah Burns, Whitney Green and Ashley Baxter.
McMinn then outscored Dalton 20-11 in the third quarter and 14-7 in the fourth quarter to come away with a 35-point win.
Kaitlynn Hennessee led the Lady Cherokees with 16 points, including three treys in the third period. Burns and Manney each scored 12 points and Ashley Baxter finished with 11.
M: 17 26 20 14 - 77
D: 13 11 11 7 - 42
McMINN: Hennessee 16, Burns 12, Manney 12, A. Baxter 11, Green 7, Hicks 7, Liner 6, Schiestel 3, Gleaton 3, Sitzler, Pickel.
DALTON: Marek 18, Parrer 10, Sims 8, Christopher 4, Wright 2, Land, Nance.
North Murray 69, Cherokees 59
McMinn had a 15-13 lead after the first quarter with Taurean Jones scoring six points in the opening period. Also scoring early were Sam Hammonds, Matt Eaton and Landon Wilson.
The second quarter was the exact opposite with North Murray outscoring McMinn 15-13 and the game was tied 28-28 at the half. Jones had five points in the period with Nelan Evans and Jake Elkins each hitting a trey and Eaton adding a bucket.
North Murray surged ahead thanks to a 14-point third quarter while McMinn managed only eight, but McMinn bounced back with 21 fourth quarter points to 17 for North Murray.
McMinn was down by seven points with 2:30 left to play to force overtime, but only scored one bucket in the extra period.
"We jumped into a press and some half-court trap," Simbeck said. "We forced some turnovers and got the game into overtime. I'm proud of them for that. I am by no means every happy with a loss, but I am hoping a gritty performance like this can help us come district tournament time in February."
M: 15 13 8 21 2 - 59
N: 13 15 14 17 8 - 69
McMINN: Jones 18, Eaton 14, Elkins 13, Wilson 6, Hammonds 5, Evans 3, Runyan, Hicks, Brown, Peel.
N. MURRAY: Buckner 19, James 17, Cox 15, Halett 7, Lederer 6, Petty 3, Riviera 1, Ledford 1.