Tigers stun Bobcats in OT
Despite losing starting point guard Chris Walker to a high ankle sprain late in the first quarter, the Marshall County Tigers managed to pick up an important District win on Tuesday night when they gutted out a 73-71 overtime victory against fourth place Giles County to snap a six-game losing streak against the Bobcats.
MCHS (16-8, 6-3 District) appeared to be in dire straits early in the second half after Giles County (11-8, 4-5 District) forged a 42-31 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Tigers then stormed back and tied the game at 62-62 at the end of regulation before the Bobcats opened up a 68-63 advantage with 2:25 left in the overtime period.
Marshall County, however, dug down deep once again and put together a 10-0 run, highlighted by a go ahead three-pointer from freshman guard Tre Crutcher, to seize a 73-68 lead with 4.9 seconds left prior to taking home the two-point victory.
The Tigers were locked in from long range and knocked down 11-of-17 three-point attempts en route to finishing with 27 field goals on 45 percent shooting. Marshall County did commit 20 turnovers, but outrebounded Giles County 34-29 and held a 14-10 edge on the offensive glass.
Malek Sain helped fill the offensive void left by Walker's absence and led MCHS by pouring in a career high 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, eight assists, and three steals.
"Losing Chris hurt us a lot and I knew I would have to step up. Coach told me to take over and I like having the ball in my hands in big situations," said Sain.
Kacy Pleas followed Sain with 11 points and Jay Howard added nine points. Crutcher, Steven Dangerfield, and Darious McKenzie notched eight, seven, and five points for the Tigers as well, while D'Andre Brown chipped in two points.
Despite committing 18 turnovers, the Bobcats tallied 29 field goals on 50 percent shooting, which included a 4-of-10 effort from beyond the arc.
Kimani Bledsoe paced Giles County with 31 points, while Bailey Scoggins added 12 points. Devante Jimenez, Montrell Gilbert, and Cameron Ordway also notched 11, eight, and seven points respectively for the Bobcats.
Hot and cold
The Tigers got off to a hot start and raced out to a 24-15 lead early in the second quarter behind 10 points from Sain, nine points from Pleas, and a Dangerfield trey.
The momentum then swung towards the Bobcats' bench, as Giles County outscored MCHS 15-3 over the last 6:15 of the first half to take a 30-27 lead into the break before notching 12 of the first 16 points of the third quarter to open up a 42-31 advantage.
Marshall County managed to turn the tide by putting together 12-2 run on the strength of five points from Sain and a Crutcher trey to slice the deficit to 44-43 late in the third period.
The Bobcats outscored MCHS 10-6 over the next 2:49 to stretch their lead to 54-49 early in the fourth quarter before Dangerfield and Sain canned consecutive threes to put the Tigers up 55-54.
Giles County used an 8-4 spurt to pull ahead 62-59 with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter, before Marshall County tallied the next three points on a Dangerfield free throw and a McKenzie offensive put back to knot the score at 62-62 at the end of regulation.
The Bobcats then notched six of the first seven points in overtime to grab a 68-63 advantage, but Howard hit two free throws and Sain nailed another trey to tie the score at 68-68.
Following a Giles County turnover, Crutcher drilled a three from the right corner with :18 left to give MCHS a 71-68 lead.
"I had a lot of confidence that I was going to hit that shot. Honestly, I pictured myself hitting the game tying shot in regulation, but I hit the go ahead shot in overtime so that's even better," said Crutcher.
Gilbert then missed a three-pointer on the Bobcats' ensuing possession before Sain hit two foul shots to stretch the Tigers' lead to 73-68.
After Bledsoe knocked down a trey to close the gap to 73-71 with 1.6 seconds remaining, Ordway intercepted a long pass by Howard but was unable to get off a shot before time expired.