Undefeated Tigerettes feast in Pulaski
While all of our bellies were full of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and giblet gravy and deep into the leftovers on Friday night, the Marshall County Tigerettes traveled to Pulaski, carving up Pearl Cohn 55-36 in the opening round of the Martin Methodist Border Battle.
By Saturday afternoon it was turkey salad and later that evening, it was game time once again for the Lewisburg girls.
Traveling up from the Heart of Dixie for the Saturday night battle was the quick and talented 5A Athens High School.
Before the game, MCHS head coach Boyd West was not sure that his squad could run and gun with the Golden Eagles, most notably their blazing point guard, Lacresha Horton.
Less than four minutes into the contest, West changed his mind and reverted back to the high pressure, take it to the opponent style that has become this team's mantra early in the season.
The Tigerettes responded and LaRhonda "Mini" O'Neal took a page book out her injured cousin Addricka O'Neal's defensive manual, blanketing Horton the entire game, holding her to just 12 points.
"I have to focus more now that my cousin is out," said O'Neal after the contest. "It is up to me to pick up the slack."
O'Neal added, "She was really good and quick. I was just trying to stay with her and not let her get back down court so she couldn't score."
The Tigerettes led for most of the game, coming away with an impressive 43-33 win to stay undefeated on the season at 6-0 while stretching their winning streak to 20 ballgames, still way short of the record 63-game winning streak set by the 1973 team.
Horton got Athens on the board first with a free throw before NeNe McLean hit two charity shots for a one-point lead. Lauren March connected on a low post score for a 4-1 margin and then once again to make it 6-1.
The Golden Eagles cut the lead to 6-5, but a Jakerra Simmons three point play made it 9-5. An Artavia Bryant free-throw and a steal and score by LaRhonda O'Neal pushed the lead to 12-5.
March went to the bench with two fouls, much to the displeasure of West, but Athens could only score once more before the quarter ended with the Tigerettes holding a 12-7 lead.
March would stay sitting next to her coach for half of the second quarter, re-entering the game with Athens trailing by just one point at 12-11.
Horton gave Athens only their second lead of the game on a floating lay-up, but it was short lived as Simmons put in a rebound to get the Tigerettes out in front for good.
Simmons struck again, this time stealing the rock and going coast to coast for a 16-13 lead.
Leading 17-15 at the half, the Tigerettes held firm in the third quarter, never letting the Golden Eagles get to within as close as two points and on two occasions, stretching the margin to six.
The fourth quarter was Lauren March time as the senior stalwart posted nine of her game high 21 points in the period, including several key baskets and free throws down the stretch to secure the ten point win for Marshall County.
West said after the game, "We executed real well versus a real good ball club. It feels good to be 6-0. That was the best team we played to date. We stepped up tonight, tomorrow we will get ready for Lincoln County."
Simmons scored 10 points, McLean had 5, O'Neal 4, and Bryant rounded out the scoring with 3. Besides her 21 on Saturday, March also led all scorers with a 23-point effort versus Pearl Cohn.