The Panthers host the defending 7A State Champion Yellow Jackets tonight in one of the biggest rivalry matchups of the year in men's basketball.
"The Murphy/McGill game is always an important rivalry game," said McGill Head Coach Phillip Murphy. "For the last six years, this game has been for a spot in the playoffs, so it's always intense."
"It's different going into games this season as the reigning state champions because we always play with a target on our back. We know we're getting everyone's best game, but I don't think just the fact that we are the reigning state champions gives us an edge tonight. But, it does help that our kids have played at a higher level. Success breeds success, and our guys are use to winning. We have a number of starters that played football this year, and look at the year our football team had. So they're just continuing that success into the basketball season. I'm really looking to that same group of seniors to step up and play at a high-level. Larry Rembert, Marlon Williams, and Carlton Marshall are just use to winning. Also, Matthew McNeece and Manny Patrick are going to do a good job covering Murphy's two big players. In order to win this game tonight, we have to execute and match Murphy's intensity since we're playing at their place, and then when we get to the playoffs, we'll take care of business. It's just one game at a time right now"
"This is a big-time rivalry game for us," said Murphy Head Coach Timothy Waller. "We respect McGill; that group of guys is very competitive."
"We have to execute both on offense and defense in order to pull out this victory," added Waller. "We're going to have to control the boards and eliminate turnovers to be successful. And we have to play our game, Murphy basketball. This is obviously a rivalry, but ultimately. we have to play one game at a time. In tonight's matchup, we're really leaning on Sheldon Crawford, Tamarcus Sparks, Carlton Stanley, Cory Hudson, and Michael Jefferson to help lead us, but this is going to be a complete team effort. We have to function as a single unit in order to be successful. This game is going to be packed. We always have a lot of students come out to support the players; it's going to have the same atmosphere as college game because it is such a big rivalry game. We've lost to them the last two years, so we know we can't let them get up, and we can't stop playing in order to come out on top."
Tip-off for this conference game is set for 7:30 at Murphy High School.