Having split a pair of tightly contested games with Lewis County (14-9) during the regular season, the fifth seeded Tigerettes controlled the first half of Tuesday's contest and led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter prior to taking a 32-25 advantage into the break.
The Lady Panthers sliced the deficit to 48-47 with 2:31left in the fourth quarter, but Lewis County came up empty on their final six possessions, while Marshall County tallied the last three points of the game to hold on for the four-point victory.
With Tuesday's triumph, MCHS advances to face top seeded Page in the semifinals of the District tournament on Friday at East Hickman High School and secured a spot on the Region 6-AA tourney.
Although they shot only 30 percent from the field (18-of-60), which included a 3-of-11 effort from three-point range, the Tigerettes held a 20-12 edge on the offensive boards and outrebounded Lewis County 39-35 overall.
"I'm very proud of the girls tonight. They played hard and were able to come away with the win," said Marshall County coach Dave Junkins. "Early on we dominated the glass and it was crucial for us to get some offensive rebounds."
The Lady Panthers, meanwhile, finished with a modest 16 field goals on 31 percent shooting and hit only 5-of-19 attempts from beyond the arc.
Forward Jameka Braden and center Marissa Lyttle led the Tigerettes with 16 points apiece and pulled down 16 and 11 rebounds respectively. Destiny Moore also tallied nine points, while Morgan Moyers added six points, four assists, and four steals. Machala Hopkins chipped in three points as well and Kemesha McFall had one point.
"Jameka has been a dominant force on the boards all year. When she's playing well she'll score six or eight points on offensive rebounds. She was really a decoy tonight and we told her to crash the glass," said Junkins. "Marissa has had games where she scored more points, but this was the best game that she's played this year."
Haylee Trull paced Lewis County with 20 points, while Hayden Rawdon followed with 15 points.
The Tigerettes pounced on the Lady Panthers early and jumped out to a 12-3 lead midway through the first quarter with the help of four points from Lyttle and treys from Moyers and Moore.
After Lewis County used a 6-1 spurt to narrow the gap to 13-9 late in the first quarter, MCHS outscored the Lady Panthers 12-5 over the next four and a half minutes on the strength of six points from Braden and a Hopkins three-point play to open up a 25-14 advantage early in the second period.
Lewis County notched four straight points to trim the deficit to 25-18, but Braden sandwiched a pair of layups around two Lyttle free throws to stake Marshall County to a 31-18 lead with 2:25 left in the second.
The Lady Panthers clawed their way back into the contest by outscoring the Tigerettes 7-1 over the final 1:35 of the first half to close the gap to 32-25 before opening the third quarter with an 11-4 run to knot the game at 36-36 late in the stanza.
After scoring on a layup in the waning seconds of the third period to put MCHS up 38-36, Lyttle hit two short bank shots early in the fourth to make it 42-36.
Lewis County went on a 11-6 run to whittle the deficit to 48-47, but Braden scored on an offensive put back to give Marshall County a 50-47 lead with :32 left.
The Lady Panthers then committed a turnover and missed two treys on their final three possessions before Braden hit one-of-two free throws with .5 seconds remaining to seal the Tigerettes 51-47 victory.