Finally back in the Final Four: Murray County gets past Butler, heads to state semis for first time since 1966

Feb. 27—At Butler High School in Augusta, a 58-year drought for the Murray County High School girls basketball program came to an end Tuesday.

For the first time since 1966, the Lady Indians are Final Four Bound.

Murray County got past Butler 52-49 Tuesday in the Class 2A state quarterfinals. The win punches a ticket to the state semifinals for the program for the first time since the 1966 team finished as state runners-up. Murray will play Mount Paran Christian in the semifinals Saturday at 5 p.m. at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.

Murray (24-6) survived a war with Butler (21-10) that stayed tight throughout.

The Lady Indians trailed 13-5 after a quarter, but scored the first seven of the second to get right back in the game, then took a lead later on in the quarter. Butler grabbed it back and led 25-22 at halftime.

A back-and-forth third quarter ended with Butler in a 40-38 lead.

Murray again opened a quarter strong, scoring the first seven in the fourth to take a 45-40 lead.

Butler tied the game at 47, but Murray took back the 49-47 lead, then hung on from there.

Tuesday night's step to the Final Four is the latest in a series of strides made by the program in the three years it's been helmed by head coach Chris Tipton.

Last season, the Lady Indians won a region title and reached the Elite 8 for the first time 1967, and, two years ago, the Lady Indians reached the playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons.

Murray's semifinal opponent, Mount Paran Christian, blasted Dodge County 86-55 Tuesday in the quarterfinals. Mount Paran is the defending Class 2A champion.