Elyse Kendrick scored seven of Murray County’s first nine points and led the Lady Indians past Southeast, 36-25, Friday night in the Carpet Capital Holiday Classic at the trade center, handing interim coach Traci Rankin her first victory.

In the other girls game, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe defeated Sequatchie County, 42-28.

Kendrick finished with a game-high 12 points, nine coming in the first half when the Lady Indians built a 21-10 lead.

“She was on,” Rankin said of Kendrick. “She usually plays the post but I pulled her out to the three and she was hot. She kept us moving and played good defense. She’s very aggressive and I like that.”

The Lady Indians (2-7), whose biggest lead was 29-12 late in the third quarter, gave Rankin her first victory after replacing Frank Price just five games into the season.

“The pressure is off,” Rankin said. “Now we have to start setting the pace of the game. We’re not a running team, so we have to play our style.”

Murray County jumped out to an 12-3 lead, thanks to Kendrick’s fast start, and the advantage was 18-4 after Keri Crow’s field goal with 5:00 left in the half.

Trailing 29-12, the Lady Raiders (2-10) scored the final six points — four by Tiffany Kennedy — of the third quarter and trailed by 11 going into the fourth.

“There were so many positive things in that ballgame,” Southeast coach Rusty Brewer said. “Because of the way they hustled, it’s disappointing to the girls for the score to end up what it was at the end of the ballgame.”

Brewer applauded his team’s defensive intensity, its positive attitude and “their enthusiasm for each other.”

Brewer can’t escape the fact that his club needs to find its collective shooting eye.

“Our inability to score has killed us,” he said. “We had good looks but just couldn’t get the ball in the basket.”

The Lady Raiders lost three games in the classic by an average score of 49-22.

“We cut the lead to nine points (29-20), but just couldn’t get past nine,” Brewer said.

From 29-20 with 6:37 left in the game, Murray County scored six straight points and the margin mushroomed to 35-20 on Lauren Long’s free throw. Long, who finished with seven points, also hit a field goal in the Lady Indians’ decisive run.

Brittany Spence scored eight points.

Where the Lady Indians really controlled the game was on the backboards. They pulled down 33 rebounds, 30 on the defensive end and that limited Southeast to one shot on a majority of its possessions.

That also helped the Lady Indians overcome 28 turnovers in a game that turned very physical in the second half.

Cayla Brock had 11 rebounds and Long 10, eight of which were defensive.

Megan McFarland led the Lady Raiders with nine points and Kennedy added six.

LFO 42, Sequatchie 28: The Lady Warriors, who finished 3-0 in the classic, had a 30-25 lead after three quarters, but steadily pulled away in the final eight minutes.

Courtney Brown led LFO with 11 points and Natalie Collins added 10.

Rachel Lockhart paced Sequatchie with 11 points.

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