Smyrna slips past Tigerettes
The Marshall County Tigerettes (13-2) had their 11-game winning streak snapped Friday night when they dropped a hard fought 47-43 decision to tournament host Smyrna in the semifinals of the Bulldog Christmas Classic.
Touted as one of the top teams in Class AAA, Smyrna (10-0) held a 13-point lead late in the fourth quarter before staving off a furious Tigerette rally in the closing minutes of the contest to hold on for the four-point victory.
Despite shooting just 27 percent from the field (12-45) and being out rebounded 29-20 by the Lady Bulldogs, MCHS kept the game competitive by outscoring Smyrna 15-7 at the foul line and forcing 20 Lady Bulldog turnovers.
Smyrna knocked down 18 of 39 field goal attempts overall, but shot just 50 percent from the charity stripe, including a woeful 3 of 10 effort in the fourth quarter.
Junior center Lauren March led the Tigerettes with 16 points, four rebounds, and four steals. Power forward Jakerra Simmons and shooting guard Jessica McQueen both added eight points apiece, with Simmons pulling down a team high seven rebounds as well.
Point guard McKenna Moffett tallied six points, four rebounds and three assists for Marshall County, and Danika Hopkins and Addricka O'Neal finished with four and one point respectively.
Center Dymon Raynor paced Smyrna with 16 points on six-of-eight shooting to go along with seven rebounds and four steals. Power forward Alex Adams had 12 points and seven rebounds. Guards Katie Williams and Cheryl Anderson also tallied eight points apiece for the Lady Bulldogs.
Smyrna controlled much of the first period, as they jumped out to a 12-5 lead seven minutes into the contest on the strength of eight points from Raynor and a pair of baskets by Adams.
The Tigerettes then put together a 9-0 run behind four points from Simmons and a Moffett three-pointer to pull ahead 14-12 midway through the second quarter. But the Lady Bulldogs scored eight of the final 12 points of the first half to take a 20-18 advantage into the break.
In the third, Smyrna held MCHS to just one-of-11 shooting while outscoring the Tigerettes 14-6 in the quarter to extend their lead to 34-24. McQueen then knocked down a trey and a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 36-29 early in the fourth. But the Lady Bulldogs responded with a 9-3 burst, highlighted by three-pointers from Adams and Anderson, to open up a 45-32 cushion with just two minutes left in the contest.
Aided by poor free throw shooting from Smyrna, the Tigerettes mounted a late charge to make things interesting down the down the stretch. After March hit two free throws and Moffett converted a three-point play, O'Neal made one of two foul shots to slice the deficit to 45-38 with thirty-six seconds remaining.
Smyrna then pushed their lead to 46-38 on an Anderson foul shot, but March scored on a lay up before McQueen canned a trey from the right wing to pull MCHS within 46-43 with fifteen seconds left.
The Lady Bulldogs finally dashed the Tigerettes' comeback hopes when Williams hit one of two free throws with five seconds remaining to seal the Smyrna victory.