CHATSWORTH — Murray County’s Indians, playing like the hunted instead of the hunter, held off pesky Dalton, 70-62, Saturday night and maintained their tight grip on first place in Region 7-4A North.

The Indians (16-4, 12-2) had a 63-53 lead over the Cats with 2:39 remaining, but with 59.5 seconds left Dalton’s Daniel Tinson hit two free throws to slice the difference to 64-60.

But Dalton failed to score again while the Indians made 7 of 8 free throws in the last 1:19 for the final eight-point margin.

“When you’re the No. 1 team (in the region) everybody wants to knock you off,” Murray County coach Greg Linder said. “And when we played like the hunted instead of the hunter we get in trouble.”

In the girls game, fifth-ranked Dalton rebounded from a one-point overtime loss to Northwest Whitfield by routing the Lady Indians, 80-57.

Linder’s Indians were in trouble almost all night. The Cats, who were thrashed 68-34 in their first meeting with Murray, nursed a 33-29 lead into the locker room at halftime behind Sam Shacklett’s nine points. Dalton also had little trouble against Murray’s vaunted press.

“We broke their press down, played it perfectly in the first half,” Dalton coach Marcus Starling said.

Dalton’s biggest lead was 24-16 on Shacklett’s basket with 5:29 left in the second quarter.

But Murray, denied an inside attack in the first half, turned up the defensive heat in the third quarter and found an in-the-paint scoring punch. The Indians outscored the Cats 10-1 starting the period, capped by back-to-back layups by Travis Ashe, and took a 39-34 lead.

However, the Cats would not go away. An 8-4 run sliced Murray’s lead to 45-44, but Chris Rosser hit a field goal and Daylon Mathis added two free throws to give the Indians a 50-44 lead after three quarters.

The Indians were up 52-50 when they went on a 9-0 run while holding Dalton scoreless for over three minutes, stretching the advantage to 61-50 with 4:23 left.

“At halftime we talked about attacking the basket by pounding the ball inside,” Linder said. “Shacklett made a difference in there in the first half. He blocked a couple of shots that made a difference in how we took the ball inside.”

Mathis led the Indians with 17 points while Rosser added 16 and Stephen Spivey finished with 11.

Tinson posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Cats (8-12, 6-9). Shacklett had 12 points and eight rebounds and Lemond Searles had seven points and six rebounds.

n Dalton girls 80, Murray 57: The Lady Cats (19-2, 13-2) jumped to a 21-7 first period lead and never looked back. They were up by 22 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Whitney Mayo led Dalton with 17 points, Stephanie Susen had 16, Liz Coffey 11 and Lindsay Bramlett seven. Susen had 14 points in the first half and Mayo 11.

Elyse Kendrick poured in 21 points for the Lady Indians (5-12, 4-10). Cayla Brock contributed 10 ponts while Kerri Crow and Elaine Ponders each scored eight. Ponders picked up three fouls in the first quarter.

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