Bench power lifts Tigers past Eagles
The Marshall County Tigers (5-4) avenged an earlier one-point loss to Shelbyville on Friday night when they defeated the Golden Eagles 59-53 at home to record their fourth straight win.
Despite getting off to a slow start, the Tigers held a 30-28 lead at halftime before Shelbyville (5-7) seized a 41-39 advantage late in the third quarter.
Depth does it
Marshall County's superior depth, however, proved to be the difference in the game, as the Tigers engineered a 14-1 run with the help of their bench to grab a 53-42 lead early in the fourth quarter prior to claiming the six-point victory.
"Depth is going to prevail in the end. The deeper we are the better we are. If we only had five or six guys that can play, we'd have been in trouble tonight," said MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer. "The next group stepped up and won this ballgame."
After hitting just 2-of-13 field goal attempts in the first quarter, the Tigers shot 49 percent (20-of-41) over the final three periods to finish 22-of-54 from the floor overall, which included a 6-of-18 effort from three-point range. Marshall County also committed only seven turnovers, outrebounded Shelbyville 29-27, and held a 15-9 edge on the offensive glass.
Reserves step up
Marshall County's bench played a big role in the win, as the Tiger reserves accounted for 34 of MCHS' 59 points. Guard Malek Sain led Marshall County with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Darius McKenzie followed Sain with 10 points, while Caleb Fields, D'Andre Brown, and Curtis Keiler tallied six points apiece. Steven Dangerfield added four points as well, and Kacy Pleas and Chris Walker both chipped in two points. Jay Howard and Quavion Harris rounded out the scoring for MCHS with two points each.
The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, finished with 18 field goals on 42 percent shooting, made only 4-of-14 attempts from beyond the arc, and committed 12 turnovers. Jamal Hardin paced three Shelbyville players in double figures with 20 points, while Devonte Leslie and Roger Pryor tallied 12 points apiece. Tavist Allison also added nine points for the Golden Eagles.
Shelbyville raced out to a 12-4 lead late in the first quarter, but the Tigers countered with an 11-4 run, highlighted by a Keiler three, to whittle the deficit to 16-15 early in the second quarter.
Into the lead
After Leslie hit one-of-two free throws to make it 17-15, Marshall County outscored the Golden Eagles 12-3 over the next 2:31 on the strength of three treys from Sain to take a 27-20 lead late in the half.
Shelbyville then tallied eight of the last 11 points of the first half to narrow the gap to 30-28 before Pryor scored on a layup early in the third quarter to tie the game at 30-30.
The Tigers notched the next three points on a Walker free throw and a layup by Sain to briefly pull back ahead 33-30, but the Golden Eagles answered with an 11-6 spurt to grab a 41-39 lead.
Marshall County's second unit then helped turn the tide, as they outscored Shelbyville 8-0 over the next three minutes behind four points apiece from Fields and McKenzie to stake MCHS to a 47-41 advantage early in the fourth quarter.
Following a free throw by Pryor, which trimmed the deficit to 47-42, Brown and Keiler canned consecutive threes to stretch the Tigers' lead to 53-42 with 5:30 left.
The Golden Eagles mounted one final rally and used a 9-3 run to close the gap to 56-51 late in the fourth period, but Marshall County hit three foul shots over the final :37 to seal their 59-53 triumph.