Tigers stall in second half, fall to Falcons
The Marshall County Tigers, playing without senior Kevin Peterson, looked like they would not miss a beat without their injured leading scorer, holding an eight-point halftime lead versus Lincoln County until the Falcons came back for a 64-54 win Monday night in Lewisburg.
"Although we had a lead and control early on, our foul trouble limited us on how aggressive we could be in the second half," said MCHS head coach Adrian Wilson. "We want to play hard and smart and we played hard but did not play smart. Being out of position defensively caused us to get silly fouls and late in the game our shot selection was suspect. We have to take the best shot available and we didn't do that."
Peterson chipped a bone in his ankle versus Riverdale Saturday night and will be out of action for up to four to six weeks.
"Kevin's absence will definitly hurt us, he is our most consistant scorer, solid defender and solid all-around athlete," said Wilson. "We are a better team when he is in the line-up, we cannot replace a Kevin Peterson, but we do have other guys who can step in and get the job done. We still have a good squad and we just have to find some chemistry on the floor."
The Tigers came out inspired without their injured star as Cameron Bowers scored on a pretty back-door play to begin the contest.
Lincoln County's Xavier Talley-Hyde answered with a three-pointer before baskets by Chris Walker, Kacey Pleas and Aaron Hobbs gave the hometown Tigers an 8-3 lead, forcing a Falcon timeout.
One free throw by B.J. Thompson after the stoppage made it an 8-4 ballgame, but freshman sharpshooter Malek Sain went downtown for MCHS, opening up a seven-point lead.
Thompson, who led all scorers in the game with 25 points, hit two more free throws before Hobbs took his turn from long range, nailing a trey to make it 14-6.
The Falcons went on a 5-0 run, beginning with Thompson's first field goal and a Ty Lewter three-bomb.
Sain immediately struck back, draining another trey to give MCHS a 17-11 lead and the Tigers had the ball with a few seconds left in the first quarter after a Lincoln County missed shot.
Falcon guard Tradarius Christian came up with a big steal at mid-court and raced in for a layup just prior to the buzzer, making it 17-13 MCHS after the first eight minutes of play.
Lincoln County scored first in the second period on a Justin Blackwell basket, but Barry Mayes matched the Blackwell bucket for Lewisburg.
Blackwell hit one free throw moments later, before Sain remained red-hot, raining down a long three-pointer, and after a Hobbs steal and no-look pass to Bowers for a basket, the Tigers led 24-16.
With just over four minutes to play in the first half, Darious McKenzie made two foul shots for MCHS, opening up a 28-19 lead.
The Falcons came back on a Ty Hadley bucket and another Christian steal and score, before Bowers converted both ends of a one-and-one situation at the free-throw line.
Marshall County would score the remainder of their points in the first half on free throws, coming on two by Mayes and one by Sain.
A three-point play in the paint by Thompson and a single free throw from Hadley accounted for the Falcons' tallies before the second quarter ended with the Tigers holding an eight-point, 33-25 lead.
The Tigers went ice-cold from the field in third quarter as the Falcons picked up the pace on the defensive end.
By the time the third quarter came to an end, Lincoln County had outscored MCHS 16-4 to take a 41-37 lead entering the final eight minutes.
"I thought we played tentative to start the third quarter," said Wilson. "We did not start the second half aggressive like we had in the first half."
It was the Tigers' turn to dig in and a Hobbs three-bomb early in the fourth period cut the Lincoln County lead to one point at 45-44.
The Falcons surged ahead to lead by nine points at 58-49 with just under two minutes remaining in the contest when Sain drilled a three-pointer, cutting the Lincoln County lead to six points, but that would be as close as they would get as the visitors pulled away for the 10-point victory.
"Our young guys off the bench did a nice job of keeping us in the game and giving us a chance when Lincoln took the lead," said Wilson. "This will be a great opportunity for some other kids to play and show what they have. Developing a deeper bench will only make us better when we do get Kevin back."
Hobbs led the Tigers in the scoring column with 16 points, Sain ended up with 15, Walker accounted for seven points, Mayes and Bowers netted six apiece, and McKenzie and Pleas both finished the night with a deuce.