The Harrisburg High School girls' basketball team took another step in a second straight championship in their own Preview Tournament with a 40-39 victory over Carmi-White County Monday night at Davenport Gymnasium.
Lindsey Murray led Harrisburg in scoring with 18 points, including the game-winning free throw with 10 seconds left.
Harrisburg opened the game with a 2-0 lead, but never led again until Murray's free throw in the closing seconds, despite three ties in the ballgame.
After struggling again from the floor, shooting just 16-of-56 from the floor, Murray helped Harrisburg (2-0) get to within one at halftime with 12 second quarter points, going 5-of-5 from the floor.
Murray was 7-of-13 in the game and had four steals, three rebounds and two blocks.
Despite a somewhat physical contest, Harrisburg head coach Jake Stewart said after his Bulldogs took their bumps in the first half, they adjusted well in the second portion and rode the wave of momentum from Murray.
"Carmi bullied us in the first half," Stewart said. "We would get bumped and expect a call and we just have to get tougher. Lindsey stepped up and was tough tonight. I think she had the attitude of, 'we're not going to lose tonight and I'm going to make sure we don't.' It's that kind of attitude you like to see from one of your seniors."
After trailing 21-20 at halftime, Carmi-White County built a 10-point, 30-20 lead after Morgan Combs converted on a bucket with 3:04 to play.
Harrisburg stormed back on a 3-pointer by Ashley Ferrell and a bucket by Kelsey Hobbs to get within five at 30-25 as Carmi-White County closed out the third period leading 32-27.
But Murray took the reins in the final eight minutes, cutting the CWC lead to one, 33-31 after back-to-back layups off turnovers.
Murray knotted the game at 37-all after a free throw with 2:38 to play and Hobbs tied the game at 39-all after the sophomore knocked down a pair of free throws.
It was Murray's free shot from the charity stripe that proved to be the game winner.
Harrisburg's full court press caused problems for Carmi-White County, forcing the Bulldogs to cough up the rock 24 times, 12 of which came in the second half.
While Stewart was pleased with his teams overall defense, the third-year head coach knows that offense needs to become priority No. 1.
"We have to have better trips on offense," Stewart said. "This happened last Wednesday and we're just not shooting very well right now. We have to realize when we're not shooting very good to make a couple of extra passes and not keep shooting.
"That's our biggest problem right now, we're missing shots and most of them are open, they're just not falling."
Page 2 of 2 - In the night's first game, West Frankfort knocked off Anna-Jonesboro 48-36.
The Harrisburg Preview Tournament continues Tuesday night with Eldorado taking on Anna-Jonesboro at 6:30 p.m., followed by West Frankfort and Carmi-White County at 7:30 p.m.
Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.
Carmi-White County 10 11 11 07 — 39
Harrisburg 02 18 07 13 — 40
CARMI-WHITE COUNTY (0-2): A. Combs 1-4 0-0 2, Rodgers 3-6 3-4 9, Money 1-7 2-5 4, Attebury 3-4 0-0 6, M. Combs 8-10 0-1 16, Acerman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-36 5-10 39.
HARRISBURG (2-0): Ferrell 2-12 0-0 5, Burtis 3-14 0-0 7, Douglas 0-0 0-0 0, H. Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Younger 0-3 0-0 0, Murray 7-13 2-5 18, Hobbs 2-9 2-2 6, D. Jones 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 16-56 4-7 40.
3-pointers: Carmi-White County 0-0, Harrisburg 4-22 (Ferrell 1-8, Burtis 1-4, Younger 0-1, Murray 2-6, Hobbs 0-3). Rebounds: Carmi-White County 22, Harrisburg 28. Fouls: Carmi-White County 14, Harrisburg 12.
2013 Harrisburg Girls Basketball Preview Tournament Schedule
Monday, November 25
West Frankfort 48, Anna-Jonesboro 36
Harrisburg 40, Carmi-White County 39
Tuesday, November 26
Eldorado vs. Anna-Jonesboro, 6 p.m.
West Frankfort vs. Carmi-White County, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 27
Eldorado vs. Carmi-White County, 6 p.m.
Harrisburg vs. West Frankfort, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 29
West Frankfort vs. Eldorado 6 p.m.
Harrisburg vs. Anna-Jonesboro 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 30
Carmi-White County vs. Anna-Jonesboro 6 p.m.
Harrisburg vs. Eldorado, 7:30 p.m