Tigers persevere over scary Spartans
For two quarters, the Marshall County Tigers played to the level of their young, but hungry District 12-AA opponent Summit Spartans before coming to life in a 49-34 win in Lewisburg Tuesday night.
"Summit is an extremely talented team," said MCHS head coach Jason Tigert. "They are just young and you see that a lot of times in young teams where they play well in spurts. They are well-coached and talented and that is always a dangerous combination."
With the game tied at 8-8, Kevin Peterson drilled a three-pointer, and after a Spartan missed shot, Cameron Bowers scored in the paint to make it 13-8.
Two late baskets by Tucker Rippy and Makinde London cut the Tigers' lead to a single point at 13-12, entering the second quarter.
In the period, MCHS went ice-cold from the field, making just two of eight shots as the Spartans jumped out in front, outscoring the Tigers 12-6 to take a 24-19 lead at halftime.
Rippy hit a jumper on the Spartans' first touch of the second half, but the Tigers came back with five straight points, including a three-bomb by Peterson to cut the Summit lead to 26-24.
A single London free throw and a two-point basket were bookended by another Peterson trey, making it 29-27 Summit with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Both teams went cold again, but Brock Spencer came through with a late three-bomb to put the Tigers in the lead for good at 30-29, entering the final eight minutes of play.
Bowers scored in the paint to begin the fourth quarter, and moments later Peterson stole the ball and raced in for a lay-up that was good, and he was fouled.
Peterson nailed the free throw and Summit called timeout with 6:46 left in the game.
After the stoppage, Austin Osborn scored his lone basket of the game for the Spartans to make it 35-31.
Peterson scored on a jumper at the other end before stealing the ball from Summit and electrifying the crowd with a behind the back, high flying lay-in to extend MCHS's lead to 39-31.
Bowers swiped the rock on the Spartans' next touch and Chris Walker converted on a rebound and put-back to make it a ten-point Tiger lead.
Summit called timeout again to try to stop the bleeding, but could not hold onto the ball and Peterson was fouled again.
Peterson was poked in the eye on the play and went to the bench for treatment.
Tigert inserted Corbin Clack to shoot the free throws and he drilled both attempts to put the Spartans away.
Summit would only manage ten second half points, five in each of the final two periods and Tigert said about the second half defensive effort turned in by his squad, "Defensively, in the second half we were able to get out and pressure the ball a little better and it kind of took them out of their rhythm. In the first half, we lacked a little energy and let them run what they wanted to run and that wasn't to our favor."
Peterson led all scorers in the contest with 16 points, Bowers was also in double figures with 10, Walker ended up with nine, Spencer eight, Clack finished with five, and Barry Mayes had one point for the Tigers, who improved to 13-6 on the season and 9-3 in the district, one game behind second place Giles County (15-5, 9-2) and three games short of league leader Spring Hill (18-1, 12-0).
MCHS holds a two-game lead over Fairview and Page, who both stand at 5-5 in district play.
The Tigers take on the Patriots in Friday night's homecoming contest and Tigert said about the game, "Page is really playing good ball as of late. Obviously, with homecoming there will be a lot of activities going on, so we have to stay focused."
London was Summit's top scorer with 11 points, Rippy finished with seven, Grant Robison netted six, Phillip Sheary and Dee Hunter had four points apiece, and Osborn rounded out the night's scoring with two points.