Tigers shoot down Falcons
On Saturday night, the Marshall County Tigers (8-1) reeled off their seventh straight victory by defeating the Lincoln County Falcons 58-52 in Fayetteville.
After defeating MCHS twice last year, the Falcons come into Saturday's contest with an 8-3 record and held a tenuous 34-32 lead with 2:06 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers, however, continued their penchant of playing well during crunch time and used a late offensive surge to forge a 46-38 advantage with 5:00 left in the fourth period before staving off a Lincoln County rally attempt with the aid of some clutch foul shooting.
"This is a good win for us because Lincoln County has had our number the last couple of years," said MCHS coach Jason Tigert. "This should be a real confidence booster for us. Our guys made plays when it mattered. We've won all four close games that we've played in this season and find a way to get it done."
Marshall County shot only 33 percent (9-of-27) in the first half, but hit 8-of-15 field goal attempts over the final two quarters to finish 17-of-42 from the floor overall, which included a 6-of-19 effort from three-point range.
The Tigers also cashed in at the foul line and hit 18-of-25 free throws, highlighted by a 12-of-15 performance in the fourth period.
Senior shooting guard Brock Spencer canned three treys and led MCHS with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Chris Walker, Barry Mayes, and Kevin Peterson tallied 11, nine, and eight points respectively with Peterson pulling down seven rebounds. Aaron Hobbs also chipped in five points and Cameron Bowers and Corbin Clack both had four points.
Although Lincoln County held a 12-5 edge on the offensive boards and outrebounded the Tigers 34-28, the Falcons shot just 36 percent (20-of-55) from the field overall, made only 6-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc, and missed 6-of-12 free throws.
Point guard Fitzgerald Hopkins paced Lincoln County with 15 points, but hit only 5-of-19 field goal attempts. Andrew Mustin notched 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Falcons as well, while B.J. Thompson and Tradarius Christian added eight and seven points respectively.
Lincoln County jumped out to a 11-6 lead late in the first quarter before MCHS put together a 10-2 run with the help of threes from Spencer and Clack to pull ahead 16-13 midway through the second period.
After the Falcons took a 17-16 lead on baskets by Mustin and Thompson, Marshall County tallied five straight points thanks to a Hobbs trey and a layup by Mayes to go up 21-17 late in the second quarter prior to taking a 21-19 advantage into the break.
Peterson hit two free throws at the start of the third quarter to give the Tigers a 23-19 lead before Lincoln County outscored MCHS 15-9 over the next five and a half minutes to seize a 34-32 advantage.
Marshall County quickly counter punched and hit the Falcons with a 14-4 spurt behind seven points from Walker and four points from Spencer to claim a 46-38 lead in the fourth quarter.
Lincoln County used an 11-4 run to whittle the deficit to 50-49 with 1:32 left, but Peterson scored on a layup to make it 52-49 before Hopkins missed a three on the Falcons' ensuing possession.
The Tigers then hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final 41 seconds to seal their 58-52 victory.