As it did for most of the tournament, Murray jumped out to a lead and never let go as it defeated Owensboro Catholic 45-28 in the girls’ All “A” Classic championship Sunday afternoon at the Frankfort Convention Center.
The No. 8 Tigers led wire to wire in their first finals win after leading for all but five minutes of the tournament. They became the first team from the 1st Region to win the small-school tournament.
Macey Turley was named MVP of the tournament after scoring 14 points and pulling down four rebounds. She also had three assists and three steals.
Maddie Waldrop and Alexis Burpo, each named to the all-tournament team, scored 14 and eight respectively. Waldrop had nine boards while Burpo grabbed six.
“This is what I’ve been dreaming about since seventh grade and it’s just incredible that the moment’s finally here and that I have my best friend to share it with,” Waldrop said.
She was speaking about Lily Ramey, Murray’s lone senior starter who scored only two points. Those two points elicitied the most in-game emotion from the Tigers as she powered through contact to put Murray up 43-24 midway through the final period and all but ensure the crown.
“This is going to be my last game on this floor and I wanted to make the best of it,” Ramey said. “And I think we definitely did.”
Murray reached the finals of the All “A” Classic a year ago, but it fell to eventual KHSAA champion Covington Holy Cross by one point.
That outcome tormented Murray Coach Rechelle Turner for the past 365 days. She sat in bed at night haunted by the looks on her players’ faces and second-guessed decisions she made that could have put the Tigers in better position to win in 2015.
The Tigers won’t rest on their laurels despite the relief, however. They want to be more than the small-school titlist; reaching their third Sweet Sixteen, and first since 2010, is the next task ahead.
“We’re not gonna take anything for granted,” Turner said. “ ... A lot of people talk about the All “A” letdown. We’re not gonna use this as a letdown. We’re gonna use this as a springboard to get to Northern Kentucky.”
Murray 45, Owensboro Catholic 28
Murray (23-1) — Lawson 2, Mayes 2, Ma. Turley 14, Mo. Turley 2, Waldrop 14, Ramey 2, Burpo 8, Carver 1.
Owensboro Catholic (15-7) — Berry 2, Marshall 11, Hayden 4, Mitchell 3, Moore 6, Keelin 2.
Macey Turley, Murray (MVP); Mikayla Berry, Owensboro Catholic; Jordan Brock, Harlan; BriAnna Burbridge, Frankfort; Alexis Burpo, Murray; Ansley Davenport, Newport Central Catholic; Bree Glover, Glasgow; Caroline Hayden, Owensboro Catholic; Hailey Ison, Walton-Verona; Lex Mayes, Murray; Annabel Moore, Owensboro Catholic; Maddie Waldrop, Murray