The number one ranked and defending Class AA state champion Marshall County Tigerettes completely destroyed the Spring Hill Lady Raiders 71-29 Tuesday night, completing a perfect 26-0 regular season, the first since Tigerette coaching legend Fred Shelton guided his 1972-73 squad through an unblemished regular season schedule.
"This is special," said the undefeated Tigerette head coach Boyd West in the post-game interview. "This is special for the program, but it is very special to these girls to be able to go down as one of the top teams that has ever played for Marshall County High School."
The road victory was the 40th win in a row for the Tigerettes, dating back to well over a year now.
It is a good thing West is in the grocery business when he is not coaching. West promised the Tigerettes a free meal of their choice Thursday night at his house if they ran the table on the year and now he is buying a lot of pork chops and macaroni and cheese.
"They don't need any motivation for that," West said as he smiled from ear to ear. "At first they wanted fried chicken, but they changed their minds to pork chops and macaroni and cheese. We are going to eat good."
The Tigerettes needed little motivation for the contest versus Spring Hill either, not wanting to be denied their place in history. "There was no way we were going to lose this game, they never had a chance" said Lauren March, the clear frontrunner for Class AA Miss Basketball.
March was everywhere, pouring in 23 points in just three quarters of work while cleaning the glass on both ends of the floor, swatting away shot after shot, and getting down and dirty in the middle of the vice-like press the Tigerettes employed to immobilize the Lady Raiders.
West said, "I am going to tell you, if Lauren March is not Miss Basketball then I want to see who will get it. She is a player, just who she is and what she has done for this team is unbelievable."
The actual game versus Spring Hill was not much of a contest as the Tigerettes flew onto the court, frothing from the mouth on defense, immediately going into a smothering full-court man-to-man press that set the tone for the night.
Give the Lady Raiders some credit, they stayed in the game in the first quarter, trailing by just six 18-12 after one quarter.
The second eight minutes was the death knoll for Spring Hill, beginning with a Jakerra Simmons steal and pass to NeNe Mclean for a lay-up. After a Spring Hill turnover on the next possession, Artavia Bryant drained a three-pointer, giving the Tigerettes a 23-12 lead.
Bryant went downtown again after another miscue by the home squad, making it 26-12 and Andraya Tears followed with two free throws after being fouled on an offensive rebound, putting the game out of reach at 28-12.
The Lady Raiders would never threaten the Tigerettes again and trailed by 17 after the half, 36-19.
Just to make sure, the Tigerettes scored the first seven points after the half on back-to- back buckets by March and Bryant's third and final three-pointer of the night to lead by twenty-four.
Marshall County led 55-23 after three quarters and the 35-point mercy rule would go into effect for most of the fourth period in the coast-to-coast historical 71-23 triumph.
Besides March's 23 points, the Tigerettes were balanced in the scoring column with Simmons scoring 15, McLean had 10, Bryant 9, O'Neal 7, Tears 4, Keyarra Allen 2, and Keondra Prowell 1.
The Tigerettes will be back in action at Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium on Monday night versus Page (1-24) in a first round District 10-AA Tournament game.
West and his team should have no trouble with the Lady Pats as they have outscored them 149-52 in two games this season.
West is not taking anyone lightly; even the lowly Patriots saying, "Our first game is Page and that is all we will be thinking about. Now it is the time of year if you lose one game all the work you have done for the season is over. I think the older girls on the squad know what it takes to win in the district, the region, and how to make it to the 'Boro'. I believe we will turn it up another notch Monday night."