Aided by a strong first quarter performance, the Tigers (1-1) led by double digits for much of the game and held a 32-17 advantage at halftime before opening up a 44-27 cushion at the end of the third period en route to claiming the nine-point victory.
"This win is big for us. It's not about me though. As a competitor, I want to win every single game, but it's important for these kids to get that win under their belt because they have a lot of expectations on them," said Wilson. "The boost of confidence we got by coming in here and playing a lot of guys that don't have a lot of experience is invaluable."
Bolstered by a 5-of-8 shooting performance in the fourth quarter, Marshall County shot 40 percent from the field overall (21-of-52), which included a 3-of-12 effort from three-point range. The Tigers were also able to get to the foul line by taking the ball to the basket and attempted 28 free throws in the contest, hitting 16.
Senior shooting guard Corbin Clack led MCHS with 19 points and five rebounds, and Aaron Hobbs tallied 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go along with three steals. Chris Walker and Kasey Pleas also added nine points apiece for Marshall County with Walker recording seven rebounds and three steals, while Curtis Keiler and Cameron Bowers chipped in four and three points respectively.
Columbia shot 40 percent (22-of-55) from the floor as well, highlighted by a 10-of-19 shooting performance in the fourth quarter, but knocked down just 1-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc and took only 11 free throws, making seven.
Reserves Dean Smith and Justice Buchanan both poured in 14 points to pace the Lions (0-3) with Smith pulling down a game high 11 rebounds. Jhaconus Blue notched 12 points for Columbia as well.
The Tigers took control of the game right from the start and jumped out to a 14-2 lead late in the first quarter with the help of six points from Walker, a Clack trey, and three points from Pleas.
"We had to get off to a good start.. Anytime you play on the road, you can't come out soft and give the other team the lead. We wanted to be aggressive and come out an punch them in the mouth," said Wilson.
After the Lions trimmed the deficit to 14-4 on a jumper by Smith, Hobbs hit a runner and scored on a layup to give MCHS a 18-4 advantage early in the second period.
Columbia narrowed the gap to 22-10 with 5:50 left in the second quarter, but Marshall County put together a 10-5 run behind seven points from Clack to push their lead to 32-15 late in the half prior to taking a 32-17 advantage into the break.
Marshall County continued to stand their ground in the third period and outscored the Lions 12-10 in the stanza on the strength of six points from Pleas and four points from Hobbs to forge a 44-27 advantage.
The Lions tried to chip away at MCHS' lead in the fourth quarter and used a 20-12 run to cut the deficit to 56-47 with 1:21 left.
Clack then hit five-of-six free throws over a span of 55 seconds to stake the Tigers to a 61-50 lead before Marshall County eventually claimed the 61-52 win.