The Marshall County Tigers (13-1) added another foe to their growing list of prey, as they defeated a strong Moore County Raider squad 65-53 Friday night at Smyrna High School in the semifinals of the Bulldog Christmas Classic to record their 12th-straight victory.
Moore County sported a 10-2 record coming into Friday's contest and crushed tournament host Smyrna 73-54 in the first round, but the Marshall Co. handled the Raiders with surprising ease. After roaring out to a 19-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Tigers never allowed Moore County to get any closer than seven points the rest of the game and led by double digits most of the second half.
With the Raiders forced to account for Marshall County's plethora of three-point shooters, Tiger center Deshaun Greer abused Moore County in the paint, pouring in a season-high 30 points on 11 of 12 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, two steals and a block. Shooting guard Hunter Osborne knocked down three treys and followed Greer with 13 points and six rebounds. Point guard Ryan Nicholson tallied seven points and dished out 10 assists. Blaise Spencer, Jamie Perryman, and Cameron McCullough scored six, five and four points for Tigers respectively, with McCullough also recording five assists.
Bolstered by Greer's dominant performance on the low block, Marshall County shot 55 percent from the field overall (21-38) and outscored Moore County 18-8 at the free throw line. Although the Raiders out rebounded the Tigers 35-15 and held a 15-2 edge on the offensive glass, Marshall County gave Moore very few clean looks at the basket and held the Raiders to just 38 percent shooting (21-55), including a woeful three of 17 effort from behind the arc, while forcing 14 Lynchburg turnovers.
Senior guard Tyler Jean paced Moore County with 13 points and six rebounds, but hit just six of 18 shots. Georgio Alexander tallied 12 points and pulled down a game high 16 rebounds for the Raiders, while forward Heath Fanning and center Shane Worthey added 11 and seven points respectively.
The Tigers came out with guns blazing in the opening quarter, as Osborne and Spencer drilled five three-pointers in the first seven minutes of the contest to stake Marshall County to a 23-11 lead. Moore trimmed the deficit to 23-13 at the end of the first quarter on a lay-up by Nann Boyce, but Greer scored the first four baskets of the second period, highlighted by a thunderous one-handed dunk, to spearhead a 10-1 Lewisburg run and helped give Marshall County a 33-14 with 3:23 left in the half.
The Raiders then closed the first half with a 10-0 spurt to pull within 33-24 at the break before cutting the deficit to 33-26 in the opening moments of the third quarter on a Worthey lay-up.
Lewisburg, however, didn't panic and responded with a 13-7 run behind five points from Nicholson to open up a 46-33 advantage late in the third period. Moore closed the gap to 49-40 early in the fourth quarter, but Marshall countered with a 9-2 run on the strength of six points from Greer and an Osborne lay up to build a 58-42 cushion with 2:48 left in the contest before eventually claiming a 12-point victory.