The stars were aligned in the heavens and on the court for the Marshall County High School Tigerettes as they captured the program's fourth state title Saturday with a gut wrenching 44-35 win over Milan at the TSSAA Farm Bureau Basketball Championships in Murfreesboro.
Incredibly, all four of the Tigerettes state titles have occurred in the leap years of 1972, 1976, 1980, and now in 2008. Asked about the anomaly in the post game press conference, MCHS head Coach David Steely laughed and said, "Yeah, I don't care what year it is, I am just so happy we found a way to win."
The Tigerettes were also the only team this year at the championships to make it back to a final game. Marshall County High School has appeared at the state tournament twenty times and Steely said, "Finding a way to win it was huge, picture on the wall, banner in the gym, it will be there forever now."
Milan was a formidable foe, coming into the game with a 29-5 record and sporting Miss Basketball candidate Chantel Poston. Poston and Tournament MVP Lauren March battled the entire game and each put on a great show for the fans at the Murphy Center.
March finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, went 4-5 from the line, and played all 32 minutes while Poston also scored 13 points, had 4 rebounds and played the entire game.
Jakerra Simmons was the difference maker for the Tigerettes, matching March's 13 points on 6-9 from the field and made several huge baskets at crucial moments in the game.
The Tigerettes led 7-6 after the first period and kept the one point lead at the half at, 19-18.
Milan knotted the game at thirty after three quarters, but the Tigerettes' experience paid off in the fourth period as they outscored the Lady Bulldogs 14-5 in the decisive last eight minutes.
The Tigerettes began to pull away at the beginning of the fourth period on a Danika Hopkins jumper to make it 32-30 and Simmons scored after a Poston walk to make it 34-30.
Poston got the two back to cut the lead back to two points at 34-32 and then the Tigerettes dug deep and out-scored Milan 5-0 over the next 4:22 to build the lead to seven at 39-32.
Marshall County iced the game from the free throw line as March went 4-4 and McKenna Moffett 1-2 in the last minute to capture the Gold Ball.
March (MVP), Simmons, Jessica McQueen, and Hopkins were all voted to the All-Tournament team for the Tigerettes who finished the season with a 32-4 record.
Read more about the Tigerettes and their run to glory in Wednesday's edition of the Tribune.