Tigers fend off Falcons
The Marshall County Tigers (9-6) completed the season sweep of Lincoln County (4-10) on Friday afternoon when they defeated the Falcons 64-59 at home.
Having crushed Lincoln County 74-42 in their previous encounter on Dec. 1, the Tigers appeared headed towards another comfortable victory after building a 40-24 lead early in the third quarter.
The Falcons then chipped away at the deficit over the final 13 minutes of the contest and outscored Marshall County 35-24 the rest of the way, but were never able to pull closer than four points en route to suffering their fourth straight loss to the Tigers.
"I don't think we stayed focused for four quarters. When we're focused, you see what we can do. Lincoln also knocked down some shots in the second half and has gotten better. We have to get better too because we've got Giles County coming in here on Tuesday," said MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer.
The Tigers finished with 25 field goals on 48 percent shooting and hit 6-of-16 three-point attempts, but let Lincoln County hang around by making just 8-of-26 foul shots, which included a 7-of-20 effort in the fourth quarter.
Marshall County also outrebounded the Falcons 34-28, held an 8-2 edge on the offensive glass, and committed five fewer turnovers (21-16) than Lincoln County.
Forward Jay Howard led four Tiger players in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Malek Sain followed Howard with 11 points, while Chris Walker and D'Andre Brown both tallied 10 points. Keevon Maxwell notched eight points as well and Kacy Pleas added six points. Trey Crutcher and Quavion Harris rounded out the scoring for MCHS with five and two points respectively.
Aided by a 13-of-26 shooting performance in the second half, the Falcons shot 43 percent (21-of-49) from the field overall and knocked down 8-of-18 attempts from beyond the arc while hitting 9-of-13 free throws.
Xavier Talley-Hyde paced Lincoln County with 17 points, while Alex Suszczynski, Austin Grimes, Seth Bertorelli, and Noah Sapach tallied nine points apiece.
Tigers catch up
The Falcons flew out to a 15-8 lead late in the first quarter, but the Tigers eventually gained their bearings and put together a 15-0 run behind seven points from Walker to seize a 23-15 advantage midway through the second period.
Lincoln County notched five of the next seven points to trim the deficit to 25-20, but MCHS outscored the Falcons 10-4 over the final 2:10 of the first half thanks to two Maxwell treys and a pair of layups from Pleas and Howard to stretch their lead to 35-24.
In the third quarter, the Tigers stretched their lead to 40-24 with the help of three points from Sain and a Brown layup before Lincoln County answered with a 12-4 spurt to narrow the gap to 44-36 late in the stanza.
After Walker and Brown tallied consecutive baskets to give Marshall County a 48-36 advantage at the end of the third period, the Falcons outscored MCHS 8-2 over the first 2:15 of the fourth quarter to shave the deficit to 50-44.
The Tigers then engineered a 12-6 run on the strength of four points from Howard and a Crutcher three to stretch their lead to 62-50 with: 59 left, but Lincoln County drained three treys over the next 50 seconds to close the gap to 63-59.
After Howard missed the front of a one-and-one, Maxwell grabbed the offensive rebound before Brown was fouled and made one-of-two free throws with: 04 remaining to seal Marshall County's 64-59 win.