Tigers escape in overtime
The Marshall County Tigers took to the big stage at 2010 Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee Basketball Championships in Murfreesboro Wednesday night, opening up Class AA play in the first round versus the tall and talented Tyner Rams and the underdog Tigers turned in a performance for the ages, winning 61-60 in an overtime instant classic.
"We got guys that truly believe that we could somehow find a way," said a proud Marshall County head coach Jason Tigert in the postgame interview.
Tigert added, "We played hard from the get go, we played hard! When you play hard it makes up for a lot. We have learned some lessons over the years that we can find ways to win games even when Kedren is not in there."
Marshall County junior big man Jordan Anderson played the starring role, turning in a double-double of 14 rebounds and 16 points, including the two biggest points of his life from the free throw line with 6 seconds left in overtime.
"I had so much stuff running through my mind. I was hoping they wouldn't bounce off the front of the rim or come out my hands the wrong way, but someway God just helped me out," said Anderson after the game.
Anderson was also the iron-man of the night, playing all 36 minutes.
The Tigers dominated for three quarters, leading the ballgame for over 30 minutes of regulation and by as much as 17 points before Tyner stormed back, tying the contest with a tip-in by Reginald Gilmore with 7 seconds left in the fourth period.
Things did not look good for Marshall County, who had given it their all, only to see the Rams come all the way back to grab the momentum and force an overtime period.
To make matters worse, Kedren Johnson was sitting on the bench after fouling out in regulation.
The enigmatic Mr. Basketball finalist and highly sought after Johnson was whistled out with 22 seconds left in the game.
Johnson finished with 20 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists while being double and triple teamed for much of the contest.
UConn signee Michael Bradley hit one of two from the line early in the overtime period, making it 55-54 and giving Tyner their first lead since the opening seconds of the ballgame.
Tiger freshman Kevin Peterson kept MCHS alive in the extra time, scoring on a pretty lay-up to regain the lead for MCHS at 56-55 with 3:06 left and then he buried the shot of the game, draining a 3-pointer from at least three feet behind the line, knotting the game at 59 with 1:44 remaining on the scoreboard clock.
Peterson would also foul out moments later.
Tyner had a great chance to take the lead with 8 seconds left, but missed two free throws.
Bradley went to the bench with his fifth personal, fouling Anderson underneath with 6 seconds left in the game.
Anderson said, "I was so nervous. I was shaking, I was trembling, and I was looking at everybody in the stands."
Anderson walked to the line and hit nothing but net with both attempts, giving the Tigers a two-point lead at 61-59.
Tyner got the ball to their point man Keith Rawls, who sped to the right and then down the lane and aerial for a lay-up that spun off the rim with two seconds left.
Rawls was fouled on the play by Jamie Perryman, who went to the bench with his fifth foul after turning in a great performance that included 12 points, 8 rebounds, and three steals.
Rawls drained the first attempt, but the second shot was off the mark and bounced to the left where it was grabbed by Tyner.
The Rams got a shot off, but out of nowhere came Tiger junior Thomas Wilson, who swatted the ball clear into the Ram's cheering section behind the basket, ending the game and sending the Tigers into a pandemonium on the court.
They took off to swarm each other for several moments before lining up and shaking hands with their gallant opponents from Chattanooga.
The Tigers get the re-match they have wanted for over a year now when they take on Bolivar Central in the semi-finals on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Murphy Center.
Marshall County will be looking for revenge from their steamy 71-44 loss in Bolivar last year in a Class AA sectional game.