Make it three in a row for the Murray Lady Tigers.
Elizabeth Grogan got things going with a jumper and a 3-pointer, and Julie Thiede helped spearhead the press and zone defenses and guided Murray to a convincing 59-29 victory over a never-say-quit Mayfield on Saturday night in the Girls All A Classic First Region Tournament championship game at Paducah Tilghman's Otis Dinning Gym.
"Coach told us we had to come out and make shots, because it was on our list of things to do to beat them," Grogan said. "So we knew the offense had to come early and often. I feel I helped set the tone, and once I did everyone just followed in line."
The win not only gives the Lady Tigers their third straight All A First Region title, but also makes it their fourth in the last five years and is their 11th overall. Murray also won titles in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2012 and last year.
The Lady Tigers move onto the Girls All A Classic state tournament in the Frankfort Convention Center, where it will play Eighth Region champion Trimble County - a 57-49 winner over Walton-Verona - at 5:30 p.m. Central time Wednesday.
"Every one of these are special," said Murray coach Rechelle Turner, who won her 10th All A title. "Every year, you go into it and that's your goal. But you never know how each team is going to mesh together and how each team is going to handle the pressure of trying to repeat. This year we definitely wanted to get the three-peat. It's the first time in school history this has ever happened, and that's been a major focus of ours."
Mayfield was going for its third All A title since winning in 1993 and 2003.
Grogan's jumper and three came at the 7:51 and 7:37 marks of the first quarter, and Maddie Waldrop added a free throw with 6:24 left that put Murray ahead 6-0.
The Lady Tigers closed out the quarter with Bethany Armstrong's three with 2.7 to go and took a 17-5 advantage.
Mayfield got it down to 20-13 on Samantha Looper's trey with 5:28 left in the second.
But Murray ratcheted up its defense and it led to an 11-0 run that made it 31-13 with 1:25 remaining in the second on a Maddie Waldrop putback.
"Our defense played really well," Thiede said. "I'm glad we got to do that, and it led to easy buckets. Kayleigh House did a great job at the top of the trap. She helped us with steals and get easy buckets."
Mayfield got as close as 35-20 on Mackenzee Guthrie's layup with 5:20 left in the third.
Murray responded with an 8-0 run and took a 43-20 lead on Armstrong's three with 3:40 to go in the period.
Murray's Morghen Turley made it the final with her layup with 48.7 seconds left in the game.
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Mayfield 5 16 25 29
Murray 17 34 45 59
MAYFIELD - Daniel 2, Guthrie 5, Isbell 3, Kendrick 8, Looper 7, Womack 4.
Field goals 6/20. 3-pointers 5/22 (Isbell, Kendrick 2, Looper, Guthrie). Free throws 2-2. Record 4-11.
MURRAY - Armstrong 9, Clark 5, Grogan 14, House 4, Thiede 3, Ma. Turley 9, Mo. Turley 2, Waldrop 13, Duncan, Gandy, Glynn, McDowell, Ramey.
Field goals 16/34. 3-pointers 6/17 (Armstrong 3, Grogan 2, Turley). Free throws 5-9. Record 20-2.
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All A Classic Girls All-Tournament Team
Abbie Denton, Ballard Memorial; Alex Durbin, St. Mary; Kaitlyn Isbell, Mayfield; Macey Turley, Murray; Casey Kupper, St. Mary; Samantha Looper, Mayfield; Leah Shelley, Ballard Memorial; Elizabeth Grogan, Murray; Samiya Kendrick, Mayfield; Maddie Waldrop, Murray
Boys: St. Mary 46, Murray 41 - St. Mary needed something to go its way, and luckily Patrick Hubert was there at the right time.
He tipped a steal to Mason Vaughan with 1:40 left in the game, Vaughan gave it back to him and Hubert went down and scored a layup with 1:35 to play that gave the Vikings a 42-38 lead. That cushion was enough to help St. Mary hold on to beat a gritty Murray team 46-41 Saturday night in the Boys All A Classic First Region championship game at Paducah Tilghman's Otis Dinning Gym.
"We're were telling each other that we needed a stop," said Hubert, who scored 25 points. "We needed a stop and then had to come down and get a bucket to turn the momentum toward us. It turned out it worked in our favor, and we're cutting down the nets. That's all that really matters right now."
St. Mary (15-5) won its first All A First Region crown, and fifth overall, since winning four straight from 1999 to 2002.
The Vikings will take on Bishop Brossart, the 10th Region champion, at 8:30 p.m. Central time Thursday in the Boys All A Classic state tournament in the Frankfort Convention Center. Bishop Brossart beat Robertson County 65-30 to earn its spot.
"Historically, this region has had some success in the All A Tournament, and I feel like we can go up there and do the same thing," St. Mary coach Greg Overstreet said. "The first thing I'm going to tell these guys once we start preparing is to not be satisfied. We have to go up there with a purpose. The schedule we've played all year has prepared us to play the teams we'll play up there. So we're going to go up there with an opportunity to win a state title, and that's what we're going to try to do."
Murray (10-7) was trying to win its fifth All A championship after winning in 1991, 1995, 2008 and 2009.
And the final outcome was up for grabs for most of the 32 minutes of game play with seven lead changes and eight ties.
Murray tied it for the last time, 38-38, on James Boone's free throw with 2:30 to play.
St. Mary's Harrison Dickens then came down, drove the lane and was fouled with 1:53 to go and hit two free throws with 1:53 remaining.
Hubert's defensive play and score made it 42-38 with 1:35 left.
But Murray wasn't done. James Boone hit a free throw with 49.6 seconds left, and Duane Curtis hit two more with 48 ticks on the clock to cut it to 42-41.
The Tigers fouled with 27.5 seconds to go and it sent Tyler Dome to the line, where he sank two freebies to make it 44-41. Murray missed its final shot, and St. Mary's McCall Overstreet grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
He went to the line and hit two with 11.5 seconds left in the game and made it the final.
"I just really didn't think about it," Overstreet said. "I just tried to keep my wits about me, focused on the shots and they went down."
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Murray 12 21 35 41
St. Mary 11 23 32 46
MURRAY - D. Boone 6, J. Boone 11, Curtis 17, Hornbuckle 5, Miles 2, Clark, English, Sheppard.
Field goals 9. 3-pointers 5 (Curtis, J. Boone, D. Boone). Free throws 9-16. Record 9-8.
ST. MARY - Averill 3, Dickens 2, Dome 8, Hubert 25, Overstreet 7, Vaughan 1, Smith.
Field goals 10. 3-pointers 4 (Hubert 3, Dome). Free throws 14/22. Record 15-5.
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All A Classic Boys All-Tournament Team
Preston English, Murray; Billy Speed, Hickman County; Noah Norsworthy, Carlisle County; Dre Bledsoe, Ballard Memorial; Tay Love, Mayfield; Wes Averill, St. Mary; Tre Hornbuckle, Murray; Ethan Weatherspoon, Carlisle County; James Boone, Murray; Patrick Hubert, St. Mary
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661.
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