The higher seeds prevailed during the first three games of semifinal action at the GHSA Region 6-AAA basketball tournaments Friday at Sonoraville High School.
The Sonoraville boys put an end to North Murray's surprising run with a 57-43 win and will face top-seeded LaFayette in the title game after the Ramblers eased past No. 4 seed Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, 82-61.
In the girls' tourney, a pair of teams with top-10 state rankings will meet in the championship round as Sonoraville and Coahulla Creek used different methods to advance. No. 2 seed Coahulla Creek busted out offensively in a 73-60 win over Rockmart, with top-seeded Sonoraville winning a defensive battle against Ringgold, 49-39.
The Sonoraville boys (20-3), who hadn't played in 10 days due to earning the tournament's No. 2 seed and a bye into the semifinal round, used their trademark defense to get off to a strong start against a North Murray team coming off a shocking upset of No. 3 seed Murray County.
The Phoenix led 18-4 after the first quarter as Ian King scored 10 of his 13 points early. Garrison Mullins led Sonoraville with 16 points, with Murray Somers adding 10.
"We came out and played well early," Sonoraville coach Brent Mashburn said. "I thought our energy and defense was the key to the fast start. Also, we had a couple of guys step up and make shots early."
All-region first-team member JaN'iyious Ross led the Mountaineers (12-13) with 17 points, with Michael McDade adding 10 for North Murray.
LaFayette (19-1) rolled behind 30 points from DeCameron Porter, who had four 3-pointers, 25 points from Aidan Hadaway and 18 from Zach Barrett to get past LFO. The Warriors were paced by JaMichael Davis with 20 points and Cameron Gregg with 17.
On the girls' side, Coahulla Creek (20-3) withstood a 40-point barrage from Rockmart's Keyeran Berry as Katelyn Richards had 25 points, Kenley Woods 15 and Brinkley Reed 14.
Sonoraville (20-4), in getting its third win over Ringgold this season, earned its title bid as Abby Chambers and Alexa Geary had 12 points each and Lindsey Bowman 11. Bowman and Chambers had a trio of 3-pointers apiece, while the Lady Tigers (17-9) managed only two in all. Rachel Lopez led Ringgold with 15 points, followed by Riley Nayadley and Maggie Reed with eight each.
Silverdale Baptist 66, Boyd Buchanan 45: The Lady Seahawks scored 47 first-half points on their way to winning the Division II-A East Region third-place showdown. Silverdale's Tessa Gibson scored nine points in the first half, when the Lady Seahawks made six 3-pointers. Becca Lamb led the winners with 15 points, while Kelsie Johnson added 13. Boyd Buchanan's leading scorer was Dani Reeves with 15 points.
Whitwell 55, South Pittsburg 24: Courtney Zensen had 18 points and eight steals for the Lady Tigers ,who also received 12 points from Maddie Zensen along with 11 points and seven rebounds from Addie Colvard in the District 5-A semifinals.
Pickens 56, Northwest Whitfield 42: In the GHSA Region 7-AAAA title game at Northwest, Kealy Hillhouse had four points to lead a key 8-0 run in the fourth quarter for the Lady Dragons (20-4) as they took control. The host Lady Bruins (13-10), who were paced by 18 points from Emma Allen, had closed to within 38-34 when Cassidy Richards started the key run with a basket as part of her 13-point night.
Heritage 49, Cedartown 38: In the third-place game at Northwest, the Lady Generals (17-8) used 14 points from Dayonna Perryman, 13 from Gracie Murray and 10 from Lauren Mock to earn 7-AAAA's No. 3 seed for the state tournament. KeKe Turner topped the scoring list for Cedartown (14-8) with 21 points.
Calhoun 57, Cartersville 44: In the 7-AAAAA third-place game at Cartersville, the Lady Yellow Jackets (16-11) beat the host team for the third time this season to get the No. 3 state berth.
Arts & Sciences 61, Sale Creek 31: The Patriots had 13 players score as coach Zach Dragoo's team advanced to the District 4-A final. Ethan and Justin Brown combined for 18 points, while Louis Bell played stellar defense. CSAS will host Tellico Plains in the district title game Monday night.
McCallie 48, Chattanooga Christian School 36: Seven-footer David Craig scored 16 points and Eric Rivers added 13 for McCallie in a Division II-AA East Region win over the Chargers to close the regular season. CCS freshman Boo Carter scored a game-high 19 points.
Knoxville Catholic 68, Baylor 61: Four Baylor players scored in double figures as Al Peciulis (17) and Troy Boynton (16) led the way in a close Division II-AA East Region contest.
Heritage 53, Cedartown 42: In the GHSA Region 7-AAAA final at Northwest Whitfied, a defensive switch and balanced scoring led the Generals (16-7) to the title. Heritage, which lost its two regular-season meetings with the Bulldogs, limited Cedartown to 17 points in the second half after switching to a 3-2 zone.
Carson Palmer led the Generals offensively with 17 points, followed by Caden Snyder with 12 and Mitchell Kennedy with 10.
"The same as last night, our guys really moved the ball well," Heritage coach Kevin Terry said. "We attacked off the dribble and then looked to kick out and keep it moving. Also, the zone really slowed them down offensively."
Compiled by Patrick MacCoon and Lindsey Young. Contact MacCoon at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon. Contact Young at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.