Tigers lose heartbreaker at Spring Hill

Friday, February 8, 2013
Chris Walker (15) gets the Tigers going with a three-pointer on their first touch of the ballgame at Spring Hill Monday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigers travelled to Spring Hill Monday night with a chance to tie the Raiders for second place in the district standings and led for almost three quarters before a last second 51-49 heartbreaking defeat.

"The effort we gave last night was great," said Wilson. "I hate losing but if we are going to lose we want to go down swinging, and we did do that."

Cameron Bowers gave the Tigers a chance at victory when he was fouled beyond the three-point arc as time ran out in the ballgame, but unfortunately, Bowers was unable to convert in the two-point loss.

"I told him that he played a good game and that the game was not won or lost from him making/missing those free throws," said Wilson. "We missed other plays throughout the game."

The Tigers came out inspired and led 15-13 after the first quarter, thanks in part to a trio of three-pointers, beginning with Chris Walker to start Marshall County's scoring, followed later on by Aaron Hobbs to make it 8-6, and ending on a Barry Mayes buzzer-beater.

Spring Hill would eventually tie the game on a Tony Sparkman free throw with 2:39 remaining in the first half before the Tigers surged forward again; beginning with two free throws by Mayes after the senior swiped the rock from Spring Hill and was fouled.

Barry Mayes (3) takes the rock strong to the dish after stealing the rock from Spring Hill's Chance Perry (24), who fouls Mayes on the play.

One touch later, Kevin Peterson drilled a three-pointer, and after the Raiders coughed the ball up, Walker scored to make it a 26-18 ballgame.

MCHS had the momentum and the ball with 5.2 seconds left in the first half when Dustin Skelley grabbed 'Big Mo' with a steal and rainbow three-bomb to send the Raiders to the locker room, trailing by just five-points at 26-21.

The Tigers still led by the five-point margin early in the third quarter at 35-30 when Spring Hill attacked, beginning with a three-pointer by Skelley.

The Raiders would eventually tie the game on a free throw by Sparkman with 2:12 left in the period before going ahead moments later on a backdoor basket by J.T. Farmer, who was fouled and converted the three-point play.

After two missed shots by Marshall County, Sparkman put an exclamation point on the Raiders' comeback with a huge slam-dunk to end the quarter with the home team in front 36-31.

"They didn't change anything, they had ran the same flex cut throughout the game," said Wilson. "But, late in the third we just did a poor job of jumping to the ball to avoid that screen and they took advantage of that."

When Skelley drilled a three-pointer with 3:19 remaining in the contest, things looked bleak for the Tigers as they were now behind 44-36.

Wilson called timeout after the Skelley trey and prepared the squad for the comeback.

Farmer hit two quick free throws, but after that, Spring Hill would go cold from the free throw line and the Tigers got hot, especially Peterson, who scored the next four points to cut the lead to six.

Farmer came back to match the three-bomb, but Peterson went downtown again at the other end, slicing the lead five at 48-43.

Two more bricks from the line set up a Bowers three-bomb to make it a 48-46 ballgame with 48 seconds left to play.

Skelley would halt the free throw misses with three makes for the Raiders as they held a 51-46 lead with 21.9 seconds left.

A Barry Mayes rainbow three-pointer with 8.9 seconds left cut the lead to two points once again and this time, the Raiders missed two crucial free throws, setting up the Tigers, who also missed at the other end, but got the ball back to Bowers, who was fouled out deep as time ran out.

"The guys could have laid down, but chose to fight," said Wilson. "We made enough plays to have a chance at the end. It also helps that Spring Hill missed free throws."

Walker led the Tigers in the scoring column with 17 points, Peterson netted 16, while Bowers, Hobbs, and Mayes all had five points apiece and Kacey Pleas ended up with one marker in the contest.

Farmer had 17 points for Spring Hill, Skelley ended up with 11, Chance Perry added 10, Sparkman finished with 7, Tylin Oden netted four, and Dre Webster added a deuce.