Tigers punch ticket to state tournament with win over Murray County


Adairsville's Malachi Gardner drives to the basketball Thursday night at North Murray High School as the Tigers knocked off Murray County to secure a berth in the Region 6AAA semifinals and an automatic berth in the Class AAA state tournament.

The Adairsville boys basketball team punched its ticket to the Class AAA state tournament next week by knocking off Region 6-AAA third-seeded Murray County Thursday night in the region quarterfinals, 73-61. The Tigers led wire-to-wire in the tournament game at North Murray High School, but the Indians narrowed Adairsville’s lead to three points in the final period before fading down the stretch. Adairsville jumped out to a 20-9 lead in the opening eight minutes, but Murray County made a run late in the second quarter to narrow the margin to 32-27 by halftime. The Tigers maintained a 52-41 lead through the third quarter and made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off Murray County for a 12-point win. The Tigers rebounded well on the defensive end in the second half and converted 21 of 31 from the charity stripe. Four Tigers — Savaun Henderson, Malachi Gardner, T.J. Printup, and Tucker Deams — combined to make 19 of 21 free throws in the half.

Courtney Slocum looks to score in the first half of Thursday night's win over Murray County at the Region 6AAA Tournament.

Only five Adairsville players found their way into the scoring column, but all five reached double figures. Henderson led the way with 19 points. Deams and Jaxon Welchel scored 15 each. Printup chipped in 14 and Malachi Gardner finished with 10 points for the Tigers. Murray County led the Indians with 17 points. Carson Weaver and Cade Petty scored 12 each. Athan Hicks added 11. Murray County (18-7) may still qualify for the Class AAA state tournament as an at-large team, but the Indians will finish outside the region’s four automatic qualifiers. Sixth-seed Adairsville (12-14) advances to the region semifinals Friday at North Murray High School against second-seeded Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe at 5:30 p.m. The region finals and third place games will also be at North Murray Saturday. KELL 74, CASS BOYS 52 Two nights after earning a state tournament berth with a win over Villa Rica, the Cass boys lost Thursday night to Region 7-AAAAA top-seeded Kell Longhorns 74-52 at Carrollton High School.

Zay Jackson

4th-ranked Kell took control early, leading 19-4 after one quarter and 39-18 by halftime. Colonels’ head coach Sean Glaze said his squad played a “sloppy game” and committed 27 turnovers. Cass played the Longhorns even in the second half for the most part, but the damage had been down as Kell cruised to a 22-point decision. Eleven different Longhorns scored in their win paced by Jaywon Brown with 17 and Ty Clark with 10 points. Zay Jackson and Zaylan Chaney led Cass with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Jaquan Heard, C.J. Pipkin, and Jackson Hale contributed four points each. Jelani Hames and Andrew Glaze scored three apiece. Ethan McIntyre and Alfred Washington added two points each for the Colonels. Kell improved to 23-4 on the season and will play for the Region 7-AAAAA title Friday night at Carrollton against Hiram. Cass (15-12) will play for third place Friday at 5:30 in Carrollton against Paulding County.

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