CHATSWORTH — Through three quarters of play, Murray County High School held the usually-stellar North Murray offense to just 24 points.
The Mountaineers looked a little more like their usual selves in the fourth, but Murray built enough of a lead and made enough plays late to hold on.
Murray County (10-5) defeated North Murray (14-3) 51-46 at home Friday night, handing the Mountaineers just their third loss of the season but second in a row.
North Murray had been held below 50 points just once before Friday night’s game and had scored 80 or more points six times through 16 games this season.
But a stingy defense from Murray in an intense rivalry game held North Murray in check through three quarters, with the few open 3-point looks North Murray got clanging off the rim.
North Murray led 13-10 after the first quarter, but the second and third periods were when Murray really put the clamps on.
The Indians held the Neers to just eight points in the second quarter, and a 9-0 run to close the first half gave Murray a 23-18 halftime lead.
Isaiah Morrison hit a bucket for North Murray that ended the run at 11-0 in the third quarter, but points were hard to come by in the remainder of the period for North Murray.
Murray pushed the lead to 10 points for the first time at 33-23 with 1:52 left in the third, and North Murray completed the period with just six points as Murray grabbed a 37-24 lead.
North Murray looked like a different team to start the fourth as some threes finally started falling. Beau Ellis hit two and Nate Rivera hit another as the Neers peppered in a trio of 3-pointers early in the quarter to cut the lead down to 39-33.
The Mountaineers got the deficit to three before a timely 3-point play by Murray’s Judah Woodall pushed the lead back up.
With a little over two minutes left, Murray led by three.
A driving layup from North Murray’s Judson Petty went in, but Murray’s Avery Jones stepped in to draw a charge that negated it. Parker Hawkins hit a basket for Murray, then, after a North Murray turnover, Mountaineer head coach Tim Ellis was whistled for a technical foul.
Jones hit a pair of pressurized free throws to push Murray’s lead back up to seven, 47-40, with 1:59 to go.
The return of Jones, the starting point guard for Murray, was a big addition for the Indians. Jones, who had missed several recent games, scored 10.
North Murray managed to make the lead three after a Morrison basket with 12.5 seconds left, but Woodall hit another pair of free throws with a few seconds left to ice the game.
North Murray scored 22 in the fourth, nearly matching its total from the first three quarters, but the Indians fended off the rally.
Woodall led the way for Murray with 18 points, while Hawkins scored 15.
Morrison scored 11, and Petty and Beau Ellis both scored nine for North Murray.
North Murray falls to 3-3 in Region 7-2A after their second straight region loss. The Mountaineers will aim to get back on track Tuesday at home against Haralson County.
Murray is now 3-2 in the region and plays Model on Tuesday.
Prior to the boys game, the Lady Indians used a big fourth quarter to shut the door on North Murray in a 66-41 win.
Murray County (12-4) led 22-10 at halftime, but both offenses woke up from a slow first half as North Murray (10-7) easily outpaced its first half total with 15 in the quarter, but Murray still led 42-25 at the end of the period.
Ava Robinette led a run that cut Murray’s lead to 44-30 early in the fourth, but, instead of allowing surging North Murray to make a comeback, the Lady Indians responded with a 9-0 run that grew to a 20-4 run.
The lead became 64-34 with a little over a minute left thanks to some steals and a few easy transition buckets from Murray’s Skyler Mahoney.
The Lady Indians closed out the 66-41 win.
Mahoney had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Callan Ledford also scored 20 for Murray. Miley McClure had nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Murray County, which remained unbeaten in Region 7-2A play at 5-0, hosts Model on Tuesday at 6 p.m., while North Murray (2-4 Region 7-2A) will welcome Haralson County at the same time.