Lions tame Tigers for 2nd time
Columbia Central (8-4) snapped the Marshall County Tigers' four-game winning streak on Tuesday night when they defeated MCHS 67-53 in Lewisburg to complete the sweep of the season series.
After taking a 33-30 lead into halftime, the Lions held a tenuous 50-47 advantage early in the fourth quarter before pulling away down the stretch and outscoring Marshall County 17-6 over the final 5:06 to notch their fourth straight win over the Tigers (5-5).
Columbia exploited their size advantage in the paint and finished with 22 field goals on 51 percent shooting while hitting 20-of-27 free throws and hoisting up only nine three-pointers, hitting three. The Lions did commit 18 turnovers, but offset that by outrebounding MCHS 31-24.
The Tigers were unable to contend with Columbia's low post duo of Ashanta Brown and Jhaconus Blue, as they both poured in 17 points on a combined 13-of-21 shooting with Brown pulling down 13 rebounds. Brandon Levier and Kendall Gill each tallied 14 points for the Lions as well.
"They outfought us and crashed the boards. We played soft tonight. I don't like to lose, but I can handle it if we play hard. We didn't do that tonight," said Marshall County coach Arnett Bodenhamer. "Columbia worked to get those shots inside and did a better job than us getting position in the paint."
The Tigers, conversely, knocked down 7-of-19 attempts from beyond the arc, but finished with a modest 17 field goals on 37 percent shooting and made just 12-of-28 free throws while committing 15 turnovers.
Malek Sain paced MCHS with 14 points. Tre Crutcher followed Sain with seven points, while Jay Howard and Darius McKenzie each notched six points. D'Andre Brown also added five points and Kacy Pleas tallied four points. Curtis Keiler, Caleb Fields, and Keevon Fields chipped in three points apiece for the Tigers as well, while Chris Walker had two points.
Marshall County raced out to a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter on the strength of four points from Crutcher and a Sain trey, but Columbia quickly counterpunched and hit the Tigers with an 18-3 run to seize a 20-13 advantage early in the second period.
MCHS outscored the Lions 11-6 over the next 3:38 with the help of six free throws and a Maxwell three to cut the deficit to 26-24 midway through the second quarter before Levier knocked down a trey and a jumper to stretch Columbia's lead to 31-24.
Lions pull away
The Tigers closed the first half with a 6-2 spurt, highlighted by a Crutcher three, to narrow the gap to 33-30 at the break, but the Lions tallied nine of the first 11 points in the third quarter to open up a 42-33 advantage.
After Marshall County outscored Columbia 7-2 over the next 2:40 behind two baskets from McKenzie and a Brown three-point play to slice the deficit to 44-40, Gill drained a trey and Blue made one-of-two free throws to extend the Lions lead to 48-40 late in the third period.
The Tigers put together a 7-2 run, capped by a Sain three, to close the gap to 50-47 early in the fourth, but Columbia rattled off six straight points to push their lead to 56-47 with 4:15 left.
Following a Sain three, which whittled the deficit to 56-50, the Lions outscored MCHS 11-3 the rest of the way thanks to seven free throws and a pair of layups from Blue and Levier to seal their 67-53 triumph.