Tigers ambush Patriots for successful District opener

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Marshall County's Malek Sain fires up a jumper in the second quarter against Page. Tribune photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After navigating a tough non-conference schedule, the Marshall County Tigers appeared to be ready for the rigors of District play on Friday night, as they went on the road and whipped the Page Patriots 72-57 in their league opener.

The Tigers moved in for the kill early and raced out to a 45-21 lead in the first half. Marshall County then let their foot off the gas in the second half, but Page never seriously threatened MCHS and pulled no closer than 15 points the rest of the way en route to suffering their 11th straight loss against the Tigers.

Easy ride

"What a way to start District play by putting them away early," said Marshall County coach Adrian Wilson. "I wished we would have finished the game the way we started it, but we're 1-0 in District play right now and I couldn't be happier with that."

Despite hitting only 2-of-12 attempts from three-point range, the Tigers finished with 29 field goals on 43 percent shooting, highlighted by a 10-of-17 shooting performance in the second quarter. Marshall County also committed just 10 turnovers, out-rebounded the Patriots 34-26, and held a 13-3 edge on the offensive glass.

Page shot 48 percent (21-of-44) from the field and knocked down 4-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc, but had trouble handling the Tigers' full court press and committed 23 turnovers, including 17 in the first half alone.

"We were able to get baskets off of the turnovers that we forced. I think the guys love the way we play. They like to come out and pressure people and I think it intimidates the other team," said Wilson.

Doubling up

Marshall County's Chris Walker scores on a layup over Page's Matt O'Toole in the second quarter.

Chris Walker led four Marshall County players in double figures with 17 points and Malek Sain tallied 15 points. D'Andre Brown also added 13 points and four steals, while Kacy Pleas notched 11 points, eight rebounds, and four steals. Jay Howard chipped in seven points as well and Darious McKenzie had four points. Tre Crutcher, Quavion Harris, and Zach Johnson rounded out the scoring for MCHS with two, two, and one point respectively.

Dylan White paced the Patriots with 15 points, while Garrett Sharp and Michael Magochy added nine points apiece. Christian Benton and Luke Roney also tallied eight points each for Page.

The Tigers pounced on the Patriots at the start of the game and jumped out to an 11-5 lead on the strength of six points from Walker and four points from Sain.

Page narrowed the gap to 11-8 on a Matt O'Toole trey but Marshall County outscored the Patriots 8-1 over the next 2:37 thanks to two Howard free throws and baskets from McKenzie, Walker, and Pleas to open up a 19-9 advantage.

Winning run

After Magochy drained a three to cut the deficit to 19-12 late in the first period, MCHS blew the game open by putting together a 19-2 run behind seven points from Sain, five points from Walker, and four points from Pleas to forge a 38-14 lead with 2:55 left in the second quarter.

White hit two free throws to make it 38-16 before the Tigers rattled off six straight points with the help of a Crutcher offensive put back and a layup from Sain to forge a 44-16 lead.

Page notched five of the last six points of the first half to trim the deficit to 45-21 prior to outscoring Marshall County 20-14 in the third quarter to close the gap to 59-41.

The Tigers, though, kept the Patriots at arms' length down the stretch and engineered a 13-10 run with the help of four points from Brown to extend their lead to 72-51 late in the fourth period before cruising to the 72-57 victory.