Cinderella season ends for Tigerettes in Class AA final
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The Tigerettes scored their first basket from the field at the 6:40 mark in the second quarter on a Jessica McQueen three-pointer. McQueen and Jakerra Simmons scored all 10 points in the period for the Tigerettes as they could not get into an offensive rhythm the entire first half and trailed by 20 points, 31-11 at the halftime break.
The Tigerettes were 4-20 from the field, 1-5 from the free-throw line, out rebounded 19-16, and committed a total of 12 turnovers in the first half. McQueen had 6 points on two threes, Simmons scored her two buckets on offensive rebounds, and Danika Hopkins made the first quarter ending free-throw for the other lone point.
Heart of a Tigerette
A picture tells a thousand words. The picture that basketball fans in Marshall County will remember most about this Tigerette squad is the image of them mounting a furious comeback in the second half, leaving all they had on the floor of the Murphy Center. "I am so proud of those girls, they never quit and they kept their heads up," Steely said after the contest.
In what has been the case for most of the season, the Tigerettes came out of the break and immediately struck, this time on a Hopkins three-bomb and on a Lauren March bucket, her first of the game to cut the lead to 17 at 33-16.
The Tigerettes kept fighting on every possession and cut the lead to 39-25 on another one of Jessica "the Assassin" McQueen's 3-bombs midway through the third period. The Lady Roadrunners used their quickness again by building the lead back to 17 before a foul shot and a bucket by Simmons at the end of the stanza to made the score 44-30 with just eight minutes remaining for the Tigerettes to try to mount the largest comeback in TSSAA history.
Tigerettes thrill arena crowd with furious comeback
McKenna Moffett's three-pointer at 6:26 left in the final period was the beginning of a furious comeback attempt by the Tigerettes, igniting the crowd and sending a message to the Lady Roadrunners that they were not going down without a fight.
Austin East began to tighten up and the Tigerettes showed their offensive form for the first time in the game. Simmons hit two free-throws to cut the lead to 11 at 48-37 and a March basket cut it to nine with 5 minutes left.
Austin East scored their first basket in almost two minutes before Moffett answered again with another three-bomb to cut the deficit to just eight points at 50-42 with 4:25 left. The Marshall County crowd was going ballistic and the entire Arena was thrilled with heart the Tigerettes were exhibiting.
A Shyminicka Marsh basket quieted the crowd and after four turnovers on the consecutive possessions for both teams, the Roadrunners scored another point on a Marsh free-throw to build the lead back to eleven at 53-42.
The Tigerettes could not sustain the gallant effort as the Lady Roadrunners managed four points from the line and MCHS helped by turning the ball over twice and not putting the ball in the hole when they had a chance. Austin East held the Tigerettes scoreless for four minutes after the time the Tigerettes had cut the lead to 8 points and won the title 57-43.
"This is the furthest we have been in 27 years and it is an experience we will never forget," Steely said. "I also want to say that coach Boyce West is an awesome coach and our success is because of his hard work and both of us working together."