Osborne plays lead in Music City
The Marshall County Tigers, coming off their worst loss of the year to a highly ranked Columbia Central squad on Dec. 30, bounced back in Music City Friday night to the sweet, sweet sound of long distance three's zipping the cords in a 91-69 win over Kenwood in the opening round of the East Literature Holiday Classic.
The 91 points was a decade high number for the Tigers, who lit the scoreboard from deep and in pace versus the running and gunning Kenwood squad.
Senior Hunter Osborne, averaging 15.2 pints per game was right in tune all night, picking the cords for four three pointers and running the floor in rhythm, pouring in a game high 26 points.
Osborne, Blaise Spencer and Dominic Matthews were all seated in first-class aboard the crazy Tiger downtown train with four three's apiece, while Cory Duvall threw down three more treys for a total of 14 three-pointers in the game.
Head coach Jason Tigert was impressed with his team's effort and said after the game, "That was a very athletic and talented group we beat tonight. That was a quality win over a non-district opponent. We played with a lot of energy and learned some lessons from the Columbia Central game. We shot the ball well, eliminated the costly turnovers, and sealed the deal with great defense."
Tigert added, "As far as Hunter's scoring goes, that is great, but Hunter's rebounding is what makes this team go and he did a great job with that tonight. If he can improve in that area, we can do something."
The Knights started quick, jumping out to a 7-2 lead before Cory Duvall buried the game's first trey, jump starting the Tigers to a big 13-2 run, giving them a 15-9 lead midway through the first quarter.
A Knight three made the score 15-12, but the Tigers were undaunted and went on another big run led by Matthews, who scored 7 straight to build the lead back to ten at 22-12.
Kenwood scored to make it 22-14 before Spencer and Osborne went deep to make it 28-14 and the quarter ended on a steal by Kedren Johnson, who dished to Osborne streaking down the court for a high flying lay-in over two Knight defenders.
The Tigers kept pouring it on, going up eighteen at 35-17 on another Spencer three-pointer early in the second quarter. A Johnson driving layup with just over three minutes to go in the half gave Marshall County a 44-29 lead.
The Knights were not done, responding with eight straight to end the half, accentuated by a big slam-dunk by Damarius Smith to end the first half. The talented Smith ended the half with 16 points as his team trailed the Tigers 44-37.
Kenwood scored the opening bucket of the third period to cut the lead to five at 44-39, but Spencer twirled in a another bomb to squelch the run and the Tigers went on to score four more before the Knights were forced to call timeout at the 4:53 mark.
A Knight miss out of the TO and Johnson bucket on the other end stretched the Tigers' lead to 53-39. The two teams traded long range bombs for much of the quarter until a Kenwood trey in the waning seconds made it 62-51 after three periods.
The Knights began to make inroads at the start of the fourth period before a technical foul on Smith at the 5:54 mark changed the momentum back to the Tigers.
Osborne hit both free throws off the technical to give MCHS a 68-58 lead, but the Tigers turned the ball over to the Knights on the ensuing inbound play, giving Smith a chance to score, cutting the lead back to eight points at 68-60.
Marshall County buried the Knights from that point on, reeling off eleven straight points to build an insurmountable 79-60 lead with just 3:53 to play in the ballgame.
The Tigers cruised home from Music City with the twenty-two-point win with a Saturday night match-up versus Greenbrier up next.
The Tigers held Smith to just four points in the second half.
Matthews ended the game with 16 points, Osborne and Johnson each had 12, Broderick Tears had a nice game with 9 points, Duvall finished with 8, Cameron McCullough scored 6, and Brandon Burns had one bucket.
After the Greenbrier game, the holiday classics will be over for the year as MCHS goes into a season ending gauntlet of seven straight district games, starting with four straight at home versus Loretto, Spring Hill, Page, and Giles County.
The Tigers end the 2008-2009 regular season with consecutive road tilts at Lewis County, Loretto, and end the season with a huge game that will probably decide the District 10 AA crown at Spring Hill on Feb. 10.
"Our goal now is to win the district," said Tigert. "This was a great way to open the New Year and I love the timing of this tournament. We will have two tough games under our belt before the meat of the district schedule begins."