Giles County(17-2, 10-0) had won the last four meetings against Marshall County, which included a 61-42 victory on Nov. 27, but the Tigers stood toe-to-toe with the Bobcats for much of Thursday's contest and held a 25-22 lead at halftime before opening up a 38-34 advantage with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter.
MCHS, however, was unable to hold off Giles County during crunch time, as the Bobcats outscored Marshall County 22-9 the rest of the way to remain undefeated in District 12-AA play.
Aided by a 8-of-9 shooting performance in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats shot 43 percent (22-of-51) from the field overall, which included a 5-of-16 effort from three-point range.
"The guys gave a great effort and we played well for three quarters, but we came up short there in the fourth. We made too many mistakes down the stretch and I think we might have froze up," said Tiger coach Adrian Wilson. "We had some defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter and they had some guys that aren't shooters make big shots. That's not a good combination."
Giles County also committed just 12 turnovers, outrebounded MCHS 37-19, and held a 15-6 edge on the offensive glass.
The Tigers turned the ball over only 10 times, but had trouble getting good looks in the paint against the taller Bobcats and hoisted up 25 shots from beyond the arc, hitting seven, en route to shooting 37 percent (18-of-49) from the field.
Kevin Peterson knocked down four treys and led Marshall County with 17 points. Aaron Hobbs tallied 14 points as well, while Chris Walker and Cameron Bowers added eight and six points respectively with Walker registering five assists. Darius McKenzie rounded out the scoring for MCHS with two points.
Austin Howard spearheaded Giles County's late charge by pouring in 11 of his team high 15 points in the fourth quarter. Devante Jimenez followed Howard with 12 points, while Kimani Bledsoe, Chris Few, and Cameron Ordway notched eight, seven, and five points respectively.
The Bobcats raced out to an 11-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Tigers quickly counterpunched and put together a 10-2 run behind six points from Peterson to cut the deficit to 13-12 early in the second period.
Giles County tallied the next three points to open up a 16-12 advantage, before Marshall County outscored the Bobcats 13-4 over the next four minutes with the help of two threes from Walker and a Peterson trey to pull ahead 25-20 late in the first half.
After Few scored on a layup to trim the deficit to 25-22 at the break, Howard hit a three midway through the third quarter to tie the game at 25-25.
The Tigers then outscored Giles County 8-5 over the next 3:40 thanks to five points from Hobbs and a Peterson three to claim a 33-30 lead late in the third, before the Bobcats trimmed the deficit to 33-32 at the end of the period on a offensive put back by Ordway.
Hobbs and Peterson sandwiched a three-point play and a jumper around a basket from Jimenez to give MCHS a 38-34 lead early in the fourth, but Giles County responded with a 10-2 spurt to seize a 44-40 lead with 4:42 left.
Following a trey by Peterson, which sliced the deficit to 44-43, the Bobcats outscored Marshall County 12-2 over the next 3:16 to forge a 56-45 advantage before eventually claiming the 56-47 victory.