Confident Tigers torch Falcons
Coming off an impressive 53-52 victory over defending Class AA state champ Jackson South Side at the Rumble on the Ridge in Forrest City, Arkansas two days earlier, the Marshall County Tigers appeared to be brimming with confidence on Monday night when they thrashed the Lincoln County Falcons 74-42 on the road.
The Tigers (3-4) pounced on their prey early and jumped out to a 37-17 lead in the first half before outscoring Lincoln County 37-25 over the final two quarters to claim their third straight win over the Falcons (0-5).
"We learned a lot at that tournament this weekend. We played the defending 5A and 6A state champs from Arkansas and then played Jackson South Side, who is the 2A Tennessee state champ," said MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer. "We didn't have any choice but to get better. We bonded on the trip and got through some things together."
Bolstered by a 10-of-21 effort from three-point range, the Tigers finished with 30 field goals on 48 percent shooting while committing 15 turnovers. Marshall County also outrebounded Lincoln County 38-24 and held a 15-7 edge on the offensive glass.
Sophomore shooting guard Tre Crutcher spearheaded the Tigers long range assault, as he hit 7-of-10 shots, including all five three-point attempts, en route to scoring a career high 20 points.
"Tre can shoot. That corner three is his spot. Hopefully he can continue doing that," said Bodenhamer.
Steven Dangerfield followed Crutcher with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Jay Howard, Chris Walker, and Zach Johnson tallied eight points apiece with Walker dishing out six assists. Kacy Pleas added seven points as well and Malek Sain notched five points. Darius McKenzie also chipped in four points for Marshall County, while Quavion Harris had two points.
Lincoln County, conversely, committed 22 turnovers and finished with a modest 16 field goals on 33 percent shooting, which included a 7-of-25 performance from beyond the arc. Center Alex Suszeynski paced the Falcons with 13 points, while Xavier Talley-Hyde tallied 12 points. Ryan Hall notched five points for Lincoln County as well.
MCHS came charging out of the gate and built a 15-2 lead midway through the first quarter on the strength of a Pleas trey and four points apiece from Howard and Crutcher.
The Falcons tallied the next five points to narrow the gap to 15-7 late in the first quarter, but Marshall County went on a 18-2 run behind eight points from Crutcher and a pair of threes from Dangerfield and Walker to open up a 33-9 advantage midway through the second period.
Lincoln County then outscored the Tigers 8-2 over the next two and a half minutes to trim the deficit to 35-17 before Johnson hit a short jumper as time expired in the half to stretch the Tigers' lead to 37-17.
In the third, the Falcons opened the quarter with an 11-5 spurt to close the gap to 42-28, but MCHS outscored Lincoln County 14-9 over the next 2:28 with the help of seven points from Dangerfield and a Crutcher Trey to forge a 56-37 advantage late in the stanza.
After Talley-Hyde drained a three in the waning moments of the third quarter to whittle the deficit to 56-40, the Tigers turned the game into a rout by putting together an 18-2 run in the fourth period thanks to four points from Pleas and three points apiece from Walker and Sain to close out their 74-42 victory.