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DIVISION III Girard's Murray overpowers LaBrae



Published: Wed, February 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Indians' senior guard scored 35 points for the unbeaten Indians.

ROOTSTOWN -- Cachet Murray says she's the only player on the Girard High girls basketball team who's not battling the flu.

It showed Tuesday night in the undefeated Indians' tournament opener, as Murray put on a clinic, outscoring league rival LaBrae all by herself in a 65-31 victory.

In just a little more than three quarters, Murray scored 35 points in the Division III sectional game at Rootstown High, including 14 of her team's 16 points in the third quarter.

"I don't worry about the points, I only care what the final score is," the 5-foot-6 senior guard said. "I'm just taking every game like it's my last game because one of these games could be my last."

Not anytime soon if the Indians continue to display the same dominance that gave them a regular season sweep.

Rapid start

With a strong, pesky defense and accurate shooting, the Trumbull Athletic Conference champions (21-0) jumped out to a 19-3 lead before the Vikings (7-14) connected for their first basket.

Fifteen of those points were produced by Murray, who will attend the University of Mississippi on a track scholarship next fall.

"She's a [great] athlete -- definitely good on the fundamentals and then she puts her own twist on it," said LaBrae junior center Maddie D'Orio, who led the Vikings with a season-high 17 points.

Trailing by 14 after one quarter, the Vikings played the Indians even for much of the second quarter. Vikings sophomore forward JaLisa Elkins' outside jumper cut Girard's lead to 12 points, 26-14.

But that's as close as the Vikings would get as Jessica Bowser, Murray and Taylor Birmingham scored baskets before halftime.

"It was hot in here -- it was hard to breathe since we are all recovering from the flu," Bowser said of their second-quarter struggles. "But we're doing all right.

"Cachet had it, Brittany [Palmer] had it then I had it, but we're recovering," said Bowser, who scored eight points.

Defensive problem

The third quarter was all Murray, who put in four buckets with her jump-stop drives in the paint.

D'Orio said there's not much a defender can do to stop her.

"Put your feet down, stick your hands up and hope you don't get killed," D'Orio said.

The second-seeded Indians remain on course for another district semifinal showdown against third-seeded Waterloo (21-0), which walloped Akron Garfield, 58-34.

Last year, Girard defeated Waterloo before losing to Regina in the district final.

Thursday at 6 p.m., Waterloo plays St. Thomas Aquinas while Girard has another rematch with a TAC rival -- Newton Falls (4-16) -- at 7:30 p.m.

The two winners will play on Feb. 24, most likely for the chance to play top-seeded Regina.

"Even though we've beaten this team twice doesn't mean that we came come here and walk all over them," said Murray of the Tigers.

In the first two games, Girard won by scores of 25-20 and 53-34.

"They stalled the ball out [the first time] but we made them play our game the second time," Murray said.

Bowser added, "They held a stall against us and then we tried to hold a stall against them, but it didn't work. We're probably going to take it and go.

"We've been watching films so I think we're [ready] for Newton Falls, then [go] against Waterloo and Regina."




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