The opening night Hall of Fame game went exactly as MCHS head coach Jason Tigert had predicted during the summer. The Tigers executed the run and gun, shoot, shoot, and shoot again style, taking advantage of their quickness and outside shooting prowess.
In the end, it was the Tigers' great defense, clutch foul shooting, and pure hustle that secure the victory.
"Brentwood, Brentwood, Brentwood. That is all I have being hearing since school began," said Marshall County's Kedren Johnson. "This was a big win for us to come up here and beat a team that was ranked in the pre-season Top 10. This could be our toughest game of the year."
Johnson, who scored 21 points in the contest, had the unenviable task of guarding Brentwood's 6'6 center Kyle Teichmann, who led all scorers with 27 points.
"I am a point guard, but I have to cover the big guy. He (Teichmann) is definitely a D1 player. He can shoot, he can drive, he can do a lot," said Johnson.
The Tigers played to their strength, jumping out to a quick 13-2 lead, going full speed from end to end in transition and did a great job of kicking the ball out for the open three-pointers.
Johnson had 6 points in the quarter and Hunter Osborne and Blaise Spencer each nailed two three's to give the Tigers a 23-18 first quarter lead.
Brentwood came all the way back when Teichmann tied the game at 28-28 on an inside bucket at the 3:25 mark of the second period.
Spencer hit another three on the next possession and then Johnson found Brandon Burns in transition with a beautiful no look bounce pass for an easy lay-up and a 33-28 lead.
The half would end with the Tigers holding onto a three-point lead at 35-32.
The Bruins scored eight straight to begin the second half to take a 40-35 lead before Spencer quieted the crowd with another long bomb.
A three by Brentwood's Sam Orr and rebound and follow by Teichmann opened up a seven-point margin, but a Johnson three-pointer cut the lead to 45-41.
The lead went to six before Burns scored five straight points to spark the Tigers comeback.
An Osborne three and two free throws by Johnson with just seconds left on the third period clock gave Marshall County a 51-47 lead after twenty-four minutes of play.
The fourth quarter was as intense and as good as it gets for an opening night battle. The Tigers stretched the lead to seven once again on a Burns three-bomb before the Bruins cut the lead to two points with 2:06 left in the ballgame.
McCullough hit one of two from the line and Burns drained a long three from the corner to open it back up to a six point, 69-63 lead with 1:30 left.
The lead stayed at six due to some clutch foul shooting by McCullough, but Brentwood was not finished and came back to just three points down with forty seconds left.
McCullough went to the line for a one and one at the 32.9 mark and hit the first, but his second attempt bounced off the rim where Burns scooted in and saved the ball out of bounds by throwing off the leg of a Brentwood player.
Osborne was fouled on the ensuing play and hit two free throws 75-69 lead with 25.0 left.
Brentwood hit two long three-pointers to cut the lead to tie the game at 75 with just a few ticks left and had the ball after a Tiger turnover.
Teichmann got an open look at the basket, but the missed shot bounded to Johnson, who looked up and saw Burns streaking down the middle of the court and found him with a perfect pass for lay-up with 4.3 left.
A desperation three-pointer by the Bruins fell short and the Tigers jumped for joy, escaping with the 77-75 victory.
"I'll take this," said Tigert in the post-game interview. "To come in here and beat a Top 10 team that is as well coached and as sound as they are is big."
The coach added, "We did some things well and there are some things we have to work on. What we did learn tonight was that every possession counts."
Johnson and Burns both poured in 21 points, Spencer finished with 17, Osborne had 11, and McCullough finished with 5 points, all on fourth quarter free throws. Broderick Tears had a single bucket for the Tigers who shot 15 for 22 from the free throw line and drained 12 three-pointers.