Tigerettes torch Page in District Tournament opener

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Marshall County Tigerettes (27-0) roared into the semifinals of the District 10-AA tournament by destroying eighth seeded Page 95-22 at home Monday night in the opening round.

MCHS had beaten Page (1-26) by an average of 48.5 points in their two regular season encounters, but managed to outdo themselves Monday evening. After forging a 52-9 lead at halftime, the Tigerettes opened up a 75-point advantage late in the fourth quarter before coasting to their 41st straight victory.

Although Marshall County was facing a vastly overmatched foe in their playoff opener, MCHS head coach Boyd West admitted that his team felt some pressure at the beginning of the game to defend their Class AA crown.

"I thought we came out with a few nerves since it was the first tournament game and if you lose it's all over, but we eventually turned it on," said West. "It's now one down and nine to go. We got the jitters out of the way and it was a big win. I thought we played with intensity throughout the night."

Similar to their two regular season match ups, the Tigerettes completely smothered Page's offense. Marshall County registered 29 steals and forced 41 Lady Patriot turnovers while limiting Page to only 8-of-27 shooting.

"We wanted to turn up our defensive pressure with our traps and create some easy scoring opportunities. If we would have made all of our layups we might have scored 65 or 70 points in the first half," said West.

MCHS, meanwhile, finished with 38 field goals on 49 percent shooting and knocked down seven three-pointers. The Tigerettes also out rebounded the Lady Patriots 39-23 and held a commanding 24-4 edge on the offensive glass.

Point guard Kanesha McLean and center Lauren March spearheaded MCHS' offensive blitzkrieg. McLean poured in a game high 23 points on 9 of 15 shooting to go along with six steals, five rebounds, and three assists, while March hit 8-of-10 shots and finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and four steals.

Jakerra Simmons and DaRhonda O'Neal each tallied 11 points and three steals as well with Simmons grabbing seven rebounds. Artavia Bryant also added nine points, four assists, and three steals for the Tigerettes, while Mary Medley had seven points. Andraya Tears (four points), LaRhonda O'Neal (two points), Delorean Taylor (two points), Marina Harwell (two points), Whitney Byrd (two points), and Keyra Allen (two points) rounded out the scoring for Marshall County.

Allison Mills paced Page with six points, while Olivia Jones, Megan Crowell, and Kacy Herald each had four points.

The Lady Patriots scored the first point of the game on a free throw by Kaitlin Schnittjer, before MCHS put together a 23-2 run behind 12 points from McLean and seven points from Bryant to grab a 23-3 lead late in the first quarter.

After Page trimmed the deficit to 27-8 early in the second, the Tigerettes responded with a 25-1 spurt thanks to seven points apiece from March and Simmons to take a 52-9 advantage into the break.

Things continued to spiral out of control for the Lady Patriots in the third, as Marshall County outscored Page 30-3 in the quarter on the strength of 13 points from March and seven points from DaRhonda O'Neal to push their lead to 82-12, before Byrd and Harwell notched the first two baskets of the fourth to make it 86-12.

Following a Mills three-pointer, Medley tallied seven straight points for MCHS on two treys and a free throw to give the Tigerettes a 93-18 advantage with 1:56 left before Marshall County cruised to the 95-22 win.