Girls Basketball Notebook

Tom Batters
Sarah Murray

With 47 seconds left in a tie game against arch rival Peoria Central, Richwoods senior Sarah Murray was fouled.

Miss the free throws, and Central has plenty of time to bring the ball down the floor and win the game, or at the very least, hold onto the ball and send the game into overtime.

Murray coolly stepped up the line and made the first shot, which swooshed through the net on a perfect arc without touching the rim. Then she made the second one in the same fashion.

Peoria Central never got off a good shot in the final 47 seconds, thanks to a relentless Richwoods defense, and the Lady Knights held on to win, 60-58.

“Those were two big free throws. Sarah came through for us there,” said Richwoods coach Todd Hursey. “If she misses those, it could have turned in Central’s favor.”

The game started to turn in Central’s favor long before Murray’s clutch moment.

Richwoods led by as many as 15 points in the second half, but Central rallied in the fourth quarter and tied the game on a long three-pointer by Tara Green with 1:00 left.

Richwoods starters Susan Lynd (12 points) and Maggie Cunningham (13 points) fouled out in the fourth quarter, which left the Lady Knights depleted. Junior all-state candidate Mariah Smith and junior guard Elise Tamplin stepped up. Smith and Tamplin were the only Richwoods players to score in the fourth quarter after Cunningham started the quarter with a fast-break layup.

Richwoods led, 56-55, with 1:24 left when Hursey called a timeout to set up a play for Tamplin, who received the in-bounds pass, made a quick move on Central guard ShaVonn Watkins at the top of the key, and drove to the basket for an easy layup.

“I told Elise, ‘If you get a layup, take it.’ She executed the play perfectly,” Hursey said.

• Richwoods (18-6) lost to Springfield, 72-54, Saturday. Springfield is ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 3A poll. Richwoods is ranked No. 8.

Murphy out at least four more weeks

Hursey said senior Katie Murphy will miss at least four more weeks as she continues to rehabilitate a stress fracture in her foot.

“This was the kind of game where we could have used her,” Hursey said. “We miss her a lot, but the most important thing is for her to get healthy. The last thing we want to do is rush her and make the injury even worse.”

Murphy, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer last year, signed a letter-of-intent to play at Ball State University next year.

Scouting Smith?

Bradley University women’s basketball coach Paula Buscher attended the last two Richwoods games, presumably to scout Smith.

Smith, an all-state candidate and A-student, who is only a junior, is receiving plenty of interest from several Division 1 schools all over the country.

She has not announced her college plans.

ND keeps winning

Senior Madi Green scored a team-high 10 points to lead Peoria Notre Dame to a 32-25 win at Woodruff Jan. 19.

The Irish completed the regular season sweep of the Warriors (ND won, 60-55 at home Dec. 1).

Notre Dame coach Ron Carrothers commended Green’s performance.

“She has come on strong the last few games,” he said. “It’s nice to have player like Madi, who can come in and get some steals and give you that six to 10 points.”

Carrothers said Green took a hard elbow to the nose a few weeks ago, and it has taken her some time to get back to full strength.

“She’s a tough kid, but I think that might have thrown her off her game a little,” he said. “Lately, she has been playing really well.”

The victory put the Irish in a first-place tie with Richwoods in the Mid-state 6 Conference. Those two teams played Tuesday night at Notre Dame.

The conference title and the No. 1 Regional seed were at stake.

“I would guess that the winner of that game would get the No. 1 seed,” Carrothers said. “But, that’s just a guess. I try not to think about that too much. We just want to focus on what we can control. We’re on a nice streak right now (10 straight wins as of Monday). We just want to keep playing well and getting better.”

It has been a long time since Notre Dame was even in position to win the conference this late in the season.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Carrothers, who is in his second season at Notre Dame. “I’m proud of what these girls have accomplished over the past couple years.”

Notre Dame won just 11 games in 2007-08. Carrothers led the Irish to a 15-15 record in his first season in 2008-09. The Irish are 18-7 so far this season.

Notre Dame posted two non-conference wins at the Mid-Winter Classic in Galesburg Saturday. The Irish beat East Moline, 51-49, and Galesburg, 72-68.

Dunlap falls to 7-11

Dunlap sophomore guard Haley Meeks scored 12 points in a 49-39 home loss to Metamora Friday.

Dunlap fell to 2-6 in the Mid-Illini Conference (not counting last night’s game at Washington) heading into tomorrow night’s game at Morton.

Dunlap is 7-11 overall.