Tigers win thriller in Music City

Friday, December 28, 2012
Barry Mayes (3) calmly drains both ends of a one and one with 10.8 seconds remaining, sealing a 63-59 win over West Creek at the East Nashville Holiday Classic. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigers made a return trip to the East Literature Holiday Classic and came away with a thrilling 63-59 win over West Creek High School from Clarksville.

"West Creek is a solid AAA ball team, they play out of the talented Clarksville region and have some quality wins over some good teams," said MCHS head coach Adrian Wilson. "This is a great win for the boys and our program."

Both teams came out with a ton of intensity in Thursday night's match-up with the Tigers falling behind the Coyotes 8-7 before back-to-back baskets by Cameron Bowers and Kacey Pleas edged MCHS in front.

Jimarion Pressley scored for West Creek and Barry Mayes matched the Coyote basket with a jumper, giving the Tigers a 13-10 lead after the first quarter.

West Creek would come back to tie the game at 15 on a Sean Wharton bucket early in the second quarter and eventually took the lead at 22-19 near the 5:00 mark of the period on a Jashin Almon three-pointer, forcing Wilson to call a timeout.

An Aaron Hobbs basket and one free throw by Pleas re-knotted the contest at 22, but a Phillip Smith basket, followed by Jaemond Kelley trey pushed the Coyotes' lead back to five points.

Tiger Freshman Malek Sain kept MCHS close, drilling a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer, making it 27-25 West Creek.

West Creek surged to begin the second half, taking a 36-29 lead before MCHS came back with a 9-2 run and tied the game on a Sain put-back.

Chris Walker went downtown moments later to give the Tigers a 43-41 lead.

Almon and Hobbs traded three-pointers and the game remained nip and tuck with the Tigers taking a one-point, 50-49 lead on the final possession of the third quarter, thanks to a Pleas rebound and put-back.

Early in the fourth quarter, Walker drained another three-bomb to open up a three-point lead at 55-52 and Pleas followed with a pretty, reverse lay-in moments later to make it a five-point Marshall County spread.

West Creek stormed back once more, outscoring MCHS 7-0 over the next several minutes to take a 59-57 lead.

Kacey Pleas (22) scores two of his 13 points in the contest.

Walker re-knotted the ballgame at 59 with 2:30 remaining in the contest, and after a Coyote missed shot, Pleas scored in the paint to make it 61-59.

Barry Mayes came up with the defensive play of the contest when he stole the ball at midcourt and called timeout at the 1:21 mark while scrunched up on the floor.

"Barry is a consistent competitor and when Barry is on the floor you can always count on him to leave it all out on the floor," said Wilson.

There would be no more scoring until Mayes was fouled with 10.8 seconds remaining in the game and went to the free throw line for a one and one.

Mayes buried both shots around a Marshall County timeout and the defense held, giving the Tigers an exciting 63-59 win.

"Barry looked at me and said he was going to make them both," said Wilson. "Barry was super clutch throughout the game."

Pleas turned in his best effort of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the win.

"Pleas was a monster on the boards for us and he ran the floor well and converted some big shots for us throughout the game," said Wilson. "That was a good confidence building game for him. Now we just need to get games likes this from him on a consistent basis."

Walker led the Tigers with 16 points, Sain ended up with a dozen, Hobbs was also in double figures with 10, while Bowers scored eight and Mayes ended up with four points.

"The guys started and finished the game with a high level of energy and I felt we played that way for a full four quarters, something we were lacking in our last two games," said Wilson.