By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HUBBARD -- The Girard High girls basketball team threw the Trumbull Athletic Conference race into a deadlock at the top with a 48-45 victory over Hubbard Monday night.
Sophomore Cachet Murray hit a jump shot with 56 seconds remaining to put the Indians ahead 46-45 and they held off the Eagles at the end.
Girard (12-1, 10-1 TAC) took control of the game in the second half and led most of the way against the Eagles (12-3, 10-1).
Murray led the Indians with 14 points, while Tealle Hunkus added 13 and Bree Longberry chipped in with 12.
Anna DeJulio led the Eagles with 16 points, while Lynle Cornell added 14 points.
Keys to victory
"We went into the game concerned about their guards and their outside shooting and we tried to control them," said Girard coach Andrew Saxon, who praised the play of Murray.
"She's only a sophomore, but she plays her best when the pressure is at its highest," Saxon said. "We wanted the ball in her hands at the end."
Hubbard coach Dave Konczal said that he could see the game turning at the start of the third period.
"They came out and took the lead and we were playing catch-up the rest of the way," Konczal said. "You can't give a team 25 foul shots in your gym and expect to win.
"I thought both teams struggled in the first half mostly because neither of us has played in a while, with all the school we missed because of the weather," he added. "I thought the intensity picked up in the second half on both sides."
The Eagles jumped out to a 12-8 first-period lead with the help of two 3-point baskets by Cornell.
Girard tied the score at 12 to open the second period, but the Eagles regained the lead, pulling to an eight-point margin (22-14) with 3:15 remaining.
Girard out-scored the Eagles 10-2 over those final three minutes and deadlocked the score at 24 on Longberry's jump shot with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
Hubbard scored first in the third period, but the Indians regained the lead on a three-point play by Lora Doran, and Longberry followed that with a 3-point shot for a 30-26 Girard lead.
The Indians led 38-34 after three periods. They stretched that to 42-37 before the Eagles made another run at them.
Cornell hit a 3-point shot with 1:16 remaining to give the Eagles a 45-44 lead, but after a timeout the Indians set up Murray and she connected on a short jumper with 56 seconds remaining to give Girard the 46-45 lead.
Cornell missed a 3-point shot with 41 seconds remaining and Girard got the ball. They stalled until Murray was fouled, but she missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Eagles rebounded.
After a Hubbard turnover, Murray was fouled intentionally with 9.1 seconds remaining. She missed both free throws, but Girard retained possession. Hunkus was fouled with 7.3 seconds remaining and she sank both foul shots.
Hubbard's last chance to tie ended when Jami Duvall's 3-pointer just rimmed out as time expired.