The Marshall County Tigers were in control for most of the game versus Lewis County Tuesday night, but let the Panthers back in late with some uncharacteristic sloppy play down the stretch.
The Tigers would eventually prevail 56-53, but head coach Jason Tigert was not pleased with the way his team finished the game.
"I am always happy to get a district win", said Tigert. "What I am disappointed at is not finishing the game. That is not characteristic of the way we play. In the past we have done a good job of finishing games. We gave Lewis County an opportunity to comeback."
Lewis County scored first, but was outdone by a Cameron McCullough three-pointer. The Panthers scored on two free throws by Corbin Carroll to re-take the one point lead at 4-3 before Blaise Spencer rained down back to back three-pointers sandwiched in between a Lewis County basket for an 11-6 Tiger lead.
After Spencer's second trey, the Tigers went on a 7-2 run, taking an 18-8 lead after the first quarter.
The two eams went back and forth, making the score 23-14 before Marshall County burst out, beginning with a McCullough steal and dish to Kedren Johnson, who dished to Brandon Burns going to the hole for an easy lay-up.
Johnson scored off of a Lewis County turnover to make it 27-14, before the Panthers made a serious run at the home squad, scoring eight straight to cut the lead to 27-22.
The MCHS lead remained close with the Tigers holding a six-point margin at 32-26 after the first half.
Brandon Burns started the second half, soaring above the rim for a tip-in. Hunter Osborne scored on a jumper to make it a ten-point lead and Burns followed with a basket off of a swipe to open the lead to twelve at 38-26.
The two squads traded buckets before Osborne threw down a long trey to make it 43-28.
Lewis County scored three points, but Spencer went downtown to re-open the lead back to fifteen at 46-21.
The quarter ended with MCHS holding a 48-36 lead.
The Tigers seemed in control, holding onto a ten-point lead at 52-42 when the bottom almost fell out.
The Panthers scored five consecutive points to cut the lead to five at 52-47 when Johnson stopped the surge with a pull-up jumper in the lane.
Lewis County was not done yet, scoring four straight to cut the margin to just three points at 54-51 with 1:18 left to play.
The Tigers missed the front end of a one and one, but Osborne snagged the miss and fed McCullough, who was fouled. McCullough went to the line, hitting both shots for a 56-51 lead.
Carroll scored for Lewis County with just under a minute to play, cutting the lead back to three points.
The Tigers turned the ball over on their next possession and Lewis County called timeout with 21.6 left in the ballgame.
A missed shot gave the ball back to Marshall County and the Panthers fouled with 9.3 left.
Burns missed the front end of a one and one, giving the Panthers one last chance at desperation three-pointer from half court that fell short, giving the Tigers the win.