Tigerettes lose to Spring Hill, slip to fourth place
The Tigerettes needed a win over Spring Hill to solidify third place in the District 11-AA standings, but an anemic second half led to a 45-37 defeat and a season sweep by the Lady Raiders.
"At the beginning we looked really well and did all the things we prepared for," said MCHS head coach Jerrie Henry. "After they went into a press and trapped at the midcourt line, we went into a shuffle."
The two setbacks marked the first back-to-back losses to Spring Hill since 2001-2002.
Tale of two halves
The Tigerettes were two different teams Friday as they came out inspired to begin the game and maintained their good play for the entire first half before the bottom fell out.
Alexis Ford kicked off the contest with a basket in the low post for MCHS and the Tigerettes would lead 9-4 after a Mecia Reed steal and dish to Allison Hargrove.
Leisa Butler's two late free throws made it a 9-6 contest before Kiya Morris drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Tigerettes a 12-6 lead after the first six minutes.
Butler scored the first three points in the second period, making it a three-point game and Mikayla Martin followed with three more for the Lady Raiders, knotting the contest at 12-12 with 5:13 remaining in the first half.
Talijah Lashley-Jones came up with a steal, went to the free throw line, and made one of two to put Spring Hill in the lead by one point before Christy Pettigrew finally got the Tigerettes on the board in the period with a rebound and put-back.
Martin drilled a trey at the other end, but Morris hit two free throws, re-knotting the contest at 16-16 with 3:23 left in the first half.
After two misses by Spring Hill from the free throw line, Kemesha McFall knocked in a low post bucket, putting MCHS in the lead for the last time in the ballgame at 18-16.
Jasmine Jelton tied the game for Spring Hill and the game would remain knotted at 19 when Lashley-Jones and Morris traded one free throw apiece in the waning moments of the first half.
The Lady Raiders took control of the game at the outset of the second half, outscoring MCHS 12-0 over the first three and half minutes before Zachuriya O'Neal scored for the Tigerettes, making it 33-21.
"Once you are down and they made a run like they did, it is very difficult to come back, especially when you are struggling on offense," said Henry. "Even though we made a pretty good run in the fourth quarter, the damage was already done."
MCHS would fight back with an 8-3 run to end the period, trailing 36-29 entering the final eight minutes of play on Senior Night in Lewisburg.
At the start of the fourth quarter, another Martin three-ball, followed moments later by Butler basket put the Tigerettes in a 14-point quandary they would not be able to solve.
Morris led all scorers with 18 points, while Hargrove added seven points, O'Neal scored six, and Pettigrew, Ford and McFall all finished with two points for the Tigerettes (6-16, 3-4).
Butler had 11 points for Spring Hill (8-11, 4-4), Martin scored nine, Jelton had seven, Lashley-Jones netted six, Asia Oden and Grayson Martin scored five points and Kelsey Sanders had a deuce.