Having won the four previous regular season District titles, the Tigers started the 2011-12 basketball campaign with an 8-1 record, but posted a modest 8-7 mark over their next 15 games while finishing third behind Spring Hill and Giles County in the league standings.
After defeating Page 62-48 in the first round of the District tournament, Marshall County failed to reach the championship game for the first time in four years when they were thumped 71-39 by Giles County in the semifinals of the tourney.
The Tigers salvaged a third place finish in the District tournament by beating Fairview 59-54 in the consolation finals, but saw their season come to an end in the first round of the Region 6-A tourney after dropping a hard fought 69-65 decision to District 11-AA regular season champ Cheatham County.
"We've got some guys coming back that are experienced. They're getting to know my stuff, but they're learning and adapting to it," said Wilson. "I don't have anything set in stone because I've got a lot of young guys that have a chance to get some playing time."
Although MCHS will lack size in the front court for the second straight year, the Tigers have a slew of talented guards and return a dynamic backcourt duo in senior shooting guard Kevin Peterson and sophomore point guard Chris Walker.
"We're going to be a guard oriented team. When we get a rebound, we're going to push the ball and it shouldn't matter who brings it up the court," said Wilson.
A three-year starter for Marshall County, Peterson has earned All-District honors the previous two seasons and was the Tigers' leading scorer during the 2011-12 campaign. Possessing good quickness and strength, Peterson can drive past defenders and finish around the basket, but is one of the better outside shooters on the team as well. He is also a solid rebounder and an instinctive defensive player that excels at jumping into passing lanes to make steals.
"Kevin has a lot of experience and has played in a lot of big games. Having him back certainly helps us and we're expecting him to have a big season," said Wilson.
Despite breaking his right wrist twice in a span of three months, Walker is not expected to miss extended time on the basketball court and should return to action by late November or early December.
When healthy, Walker is a smooth and athletic player that can get to the basket and finish at the rim. While it has yet to be seen if his shooting touch is affected by the wrist injury, Walker is an unselfish player with excellent court vision and has the potential to be a good one-on-one defender.
Senior Barry Mayes and junior Aaron Hobbs will likely join Peterson and Walker in the backcourt, while senior Cameron Bowers returns at forward.
Having started the last two years for the Tigers, Mayes has good lateral quickness and is a tenacious one-on-one defender that has a knack for making big shots in tight situations.
"Barry knows his role well and what is expected of him. He knows what he can and can't do and plays hard all the time," said Wilson.
After providing Marshall County with some scoring punch off the bench last year, Hobbs is a good ball handler and a streaky outside shooter that can fill it up from beyond the arc when he gets hot. He is adept at leaking out on defensive rebounds as well and does a good job of finishing in transition.
Although he is usually forced to guard larger players in the paint, Bowers is a willing rebounder and defender that makes a lot of hustle players. Along with being a solid outside shooter, Bowers can also face up bigger defenders on the perimeter and beat them off the dribble.
"Cameron is another glue guy on the team, but is a multidimensional player because he does a lot of things well. He takes a lot of charges and it seems like he is always on the floor diving for loose balls," said Wilson.
Senior shooting guard Corbin Clack will probably be the Tigers first player to come off the bench after being a key reserve each of the two previous years. Similar to Hobbs, Clack is a streaky outside shooter that can provide MCHS with instant offense along with being a solid ball handler and defender.
Freshman Malek Sain (SG) and junior Trent Wiles (SG) could also see time in the backcourt, while sophomore Kacey Pleas (SF), junior Grayson Wiles (PF), senior Rakeem Alexander (C), and freshman Darius McKenzie will augment the Tigers' frontcourt.
Dusty Lickly (Soph.), Ben Braden (Soph.), Montrell Harris (Fr.), Steven Dangerfield (Fr.), Curtis Keiler (Fr.), Dylan Jones (Fr.), and Zach Johnson (Fr.) are all working hard as well and hope to earn playing time down the road.
Marshall County Tigers 2012-13 basketball roster
2012-13 Marshall County High School Basketball Schedule
|11/21-24||Forrest Thanksgiving Tournament (girls only)||Away||TBA|
|12/15||Riverdale (boys only)||Away||4:00|
|12/20-21||East Literature Holiday Classic||Away||TBA|
|12/27-29||Beech Holiday Tournament (boys only)||Away||TBA|
|2/5||Hickman County (Senior Night)||Home||6:00|