After beating their five previous opponents by an average of 30 points, Spring Hill (21-1, 15-0 District) had trouble shaking the Tigers in Friday's contest, but still held a 30-23 lead at halftime.
Although Marshall County (15-8, 11-4 District) made repeated rally attempts in the second half, the Raiders eventually opened up a 66-51 advantage with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter en route to claiming their third straight win over the Tigers.
"I thought we played hard. We just didn't make plays at important times. When we were making a run, we'd make a mistake and you can't do that against quality teams," said MCHS coach Jason Tigert. "They answered every charge we made and that's the sign of a great team. We just hope to get another opportunity to play them again."
Bolstered by an 11-of-23 effort from three-point range, Marshall County finished with 22 field goals on 42 percent shooting and committed only 10 turnovers.
The Tigers, though, were unable to slow down Spring Hill's high powered offense, as the Raiders turned the ball over just 12 times and racked up 27 field goals on 49 percent shooting despite a 3-of-9 performance from beyond the arc. Spring Hill also outrebounded MCHS 36-20 and held a 9-3 edge on the offensive boards.
Junior guard Kevin Peterson drilled five treys and led Marshall County with a game high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Aaron Hobbs followed Peterson with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and Brock Spencer added 10 points. Chris Walker notched seven points for the Tigers as well, while Cameron Bowers and Corbin Clack both had six points.
Kiont Jones hit 7-of-11 shots and paced four Raider players in double figures with 18 points. Despite sitting out much of the first half due to foul trouble, point guard Keilan Blanks also tallied 16 points and eight assists for Spring Hill, while Montrae Williams and Tony Sparkman notched 14 and 13 points respectively.
Marshall County inched out to an early 5-2 lead thanks to a runner from Bowers and a Peterson three, but the Raiders surged ahead by rattling off 13 straight points to grab a 15-5 advantage late in the first quarter.
The Tigers put together a 12-6 run, highlighted by treys from Clack and Spencer, to narrow the gap to 21-17 midway through the second period before Spring Hill outscored MCHS 9-6 over the final 4:10 of the stanza to push their lead to 30-23.
The Raiders then started the third quarter with an 8-3 run to make it 38-26 midway through the stanza.
The Tigers outscored Spring Hill 9-5 over the next two minutes with the help of five points from Hobbs and baskets from Walker and Bowers to close the gap to 43-35, before the Raiders responded with a 9-4 spurt to stretch their lead to 52-39 early in the fourth period.
Marshall County then put together a 12-6 run behind eight points from Peterson to whittle the deficit to 58-51, but Spring Hill repulsed MCHS' rally attempt by notching eight straight points to forge a 66-51 advantage.
After the Tigers narrowed the gap to 68-60 with the aid of a free throw from Spencer, a Peterson layup, and a pair of treys from Hobbs and Clack, the Raiders extended their lead to 72-60 with :32 on two free throws from Williams and J.T. Farmer layup before taking home the 72-63 victory.