MCHS splits with Page, awaits Spring Hill Friday

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Photos by Anthony S. Puca Jessica McQueen buries one of her four three-pointers.

The Marshall County High School basketball teams are in the toughest part of their schedule with six consecutive games versus District opponents. MCHS swept District rival Loretto last Friday and traveled to Williamson County Tuesday night to take on Page High School.

The Tigerettes started their game strong as they pounced on the Lady Patriots early and often with a combination of great defense and an offense that featured the interior play of Lauren March and the outside sharp shooting of Jessica McQueen. MCHS scored the first seven points of the contest in a first quarter that included three steals by the Tigerettes and a balanced offensive attack that resulted in a 15-6 margin.

The Tigerettes started the second period right where they left off by scoring the first eight points on three point goals by Kenesha McLean and McQueen and a sweet inside move for a goal by March. Page could not get any offensive rhythm established at all because the Lewisburg girls were relentless in their defensive pressure. Page had three more turnovers in the period and was swiped twice by the visiting Tigerette defenders who pushed the lead to 30-12 by halftime.

Ryan Nicholson throws down a three-bomb.

MCHS head Coach David Steely has the Tigerettes playing great team defense and he said, "We love to pursue, cause the turnover, and then run the floor for easy baskets." This is just what the women from MCHS did in the game and the second half was a perfect example of Steely's philosophy as the Tigerettes continued to apply the pressure and led 44-26 at the end of the third quarter.

MCHS put the game away early, but continued the game plan throughout much of the fourth quarter with the rotation that started the contest. Defense wins in all sports and the Tigerettes feature two women in particular that thrive on defense. The duo is Jakerra Simmons, who Steely says, "is becoming one of the best post players on defense in the District," and the ball hawking Addricka O'Neal who is always a Tigerette lurking in the weeds ready to pounce on a defender.

O'Neal loves her role and said after the game, "That is my talent, that's what I have and I help my team with my defense." Steely loves O'Neal's intensity and said, "That is her role, she causes havoc in that role and she can take a girl right out of the game."

The Tigerettes (10-5, 4-0) won going away, 60-36 and now await the Spring Hill Lady Raiders (7-9, 2-3) on Friday night at MCHS for Basketball Homecoming. MCHS was led by March, who scored 20 points and had 9 rebounds, McQueen, who scored all 12 of her points from three-land, and McLean, who chipped in with 9 points and 3 rebounds. The Tigerettes caused 21 turnovers in the game by Page with their stellar defensive effort.

Tigers inconsistent, lose game after late comeback attempt

The men's contest was one of frustration for MCHS head Coach Jason Tigert and his talented squad. Tigert hit the nail on the head for the tone of the game when he said after the contest, "At times we play very well, but at other times we are very inconsistent."

The game was a tale of two teams as the Tigers looked like world beaters when they stayed inside the game and played under control and then at other times looked very ragged as they allowed easy baskets and turned the ball over at crucial times in the contest.

They looked very good at the outset of the game as they played a tough style of defense and used a very nice inside-outside game to lead at the end of the first quarter 18-17. Ryan Nicholson had two three-bombs in the first quarter and scored a total of eight points from outside and Eric Smith played well in the post.

The inconsistent side of the Tigers began to surface in the second period as they turned the ball over six times and committed some cheap fouls that got their two big men in foul trouble. "We wanted to start fast and we did not," Tigert said, "we gave them confidence and they ran with it." Page took advantage of their misfortunes and ran up the lead to 39-26 by the end of the first half.

Whatever Tigert said to his team at halftime fired them up and they came out smoking on defense, controlled the tempo, and scored from inside and out as they outscored the Patriots 19-10 in the third period to cut the lead to just four points at, 49-45.

The Tigers had their chances at the beginning of the final period, but missed some key front end of one and one bonus situations and did not score any points in the first four minutes which allowed Page to increase the lead again to 56-45 at the 4:29 mark. When Deshaun Greer finally scored at 3:59 it was too late for a comeback and Page won the game by ten, 65-55.

MCHS (4-8, 2-2) are still in the thick of things in District play and Tigert and his squad must find the consistency they need to make a late season run. The Tigers will have a chance for redemption versus Spring Hill (7-8, 3-2) on Friday night. MCHS was led by Ryan Nicholson with 13 points, Blaise Spencer and Greer with 12, and Otha Mundy had 10.?