CHATSWORTH — With the powder keg that is the Murray County boys basketball team, there’s rarely a doubt about whether an explosion is coming.

The only question is when — and who will strike the match.

With tenacious Ridgeland on hand Tuesday at Kenneth Ross Gymnasium, it was senior Chris Rosser, who keyed a late run as the Indians built a 13-point lead, then held on for a 65-54 victory.

In a tight game when neither side led by more than three from the beginning of the second quarter to midway through the fourth, Rosser blew things open when he sank three 3-pointers in a span of less than two minutes.

When he hit the third one, the Indians (17-4, 13-2 Region 7-4A) were at the tail end of an 18-3 run and held a 62-49 lead with 3:03 to play.

From that point on, Murray was in charge.

“We were real emotional at the beginning, because of senior night and everything,” Rosser said. “I felt after those 3s we had something to work with and something to build on for the fourth quarter.

“After that, we could control the tempo of the game.”

The Panthers (10-11, 7-8) gave Murray a fair fight for the second time this season. The Indians won on the road, 62-60, with a last-second basket in the first meeting.

But Murray coach Greg Linder believes his team has figured out how to play well under pressure. The latest victory was another solid piece of evidence.

“We’ve been in so many tight games this year, I think that the guys know what we’re going to do,” Linder said. “They’ve come to expect it. I think they expected to win.”

Daylon Mathis was steady throughout, leading the Indians and all scorers with an 18-point effort, while Jake Kendrick added 11 and Myka Lane nine.

Nicholas Nicholas led Ridgeland with 17 points, Garrett Barnes added 11 and Earl Burress had nine.

Mathis gave a bit of flair to the rally as well, using a spin move to finish a drive to the basket late in the run. However, it’s his leadership that Linder appreciates.

“Daylon runs the show,” Linder said. “He’s just a solid ballplayer in every aspect of the game, and it seems like when we needed a big basket in the first half to stop the run, he was the one making it, finding the open man, doing everything we ask him to do.”

After falling behind 29-26 with a minute remaining in the second quarter, Ridgeland rallied and went to halftime with a 31-30 lead thanks to a late basket from Nicholas.

The lead changed hands 12 times before Murray’s decisive run, though, and Panthers coach Chris Edge knew there was little room for a letdown if his team was to pull the upset.

Ridgeland went 3-for-6 at the free throw line in the final 2:40, including misses on two straight one-and-ones to start that stretch.

“They’re just some hard-nosed kids,” Edge said of the Indians. “They pushed us around and pushed us around. I was proud of our kids — they fought hard tonight.”

Linder was proud of his team, too — both for having the perseverance to wait for a chance to attack, and the drive to do it.

“They just go out and go to work,” he said.

Ridgeland girls 48, Murray 44: The Lady Indians trailed 16-13 at the end of the first quarter, 28-20 at halftime and 34-28 entering the final period, but came within a basket late in the fourth.

Jada Hughes set up Elaine Ponders for back-to-back 3-pointers, the second with 2:18 remaining, but the Lady Panthers (13-8, 9-6) needed less than a minute to push their lead back to six.

Murray (5-13, 4-11) trimmed it to one on Elyse Kendrick’s put-back jumper with 20 seconds left, but the rally stalled there.

Ponders scored a game-high 28 points, while Brittany Goforth topped Ridgeland with 14.

Kendrick added nine and Lauren Long six for Murray, with the Lady Panthers’ Connie Buchanan chipping in 10.



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