Tigers fight back in 12-AA opener

Friday, January 9, 2015
Chris Walker (15) takes the rock strong to the hole for the Tigers, who claimed a 62-49 comeback win over Giles County Tuesday night in Lewisburg. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigers continued their winning ways in Tuesday night's District 12 AA opener, coming from behind to beat archrival Giles County 62-49 in Lewisburg.

Going in to the game I was very excited about all the things surrounding the game..... the rivalry, school's pep club for both sides, both communities coming out, and having the gym packed wall to wall supporting both teams," said MCHS head coach Arnett Bodenhamer. "Because we know it's Marshall versus Giles and records don't matter."

The Tigers (10-6, 1-0), who have won nine out of their last 11 ballgames, trailed the entire first half, but came back to tie the game after three quarters before pulling away late for the win.

"If we play four quarters like we played the last three minutes of the game we will be very hard to beat," said Bodenhamer. "We came out flat with no energy on defense, and what we have to realize and I have to do a better job at communicating that our defense is what will win us a lot of ball games."

Chilly start

Giles County had their way in the first quarter, executing an in and out offensive game plan with a couple of 3-pointers and several dribble drive baskets, while taking advantage of some cold shooting by the Tigers to lead 18-9 after the first eight minutes.

The Bobcats would move ahead by 10 and then 12 points on several occasions in the second quarter with the last double digit lead coming at 35-25 with just over two minutes to play in the first half.

A Trey Crutcher basket with 2:06 left in the first half began a 7-0 run for Marshall County that was capped off by a Malek Sain drive to the hoop with seconds remaining, slicing the deficit to 35-32, entering the third period.

DeAndre Brown hit one free throw to begin the second half before Aspen Bush went downtown for the Bobcats, making it a five-point contest.

Tigers take lead

The Tigers fought back, tying the game and then going ahead 40-38 on a Kacey Pleas steal and score with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter.

"They were hurting us because we were being undisciplined on 'D', but once we got our heads back in the game after half it was a different ball game," said Bodenhamer. "You know kids and parents are so worried about scoring that a lot time we forget that if the other team can't score they don't win. You might not have your offense going every night, but you can always sit down and guard your yard, sprint to help, and rebound the ball. We got a little better throughout the game."

A Cameron Ordway late basket for the Bobcats re-knotted the contest, setting up an exciting fourth quarter at the Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium in Lewisburg.

Quavion Harris knocked down his only basket of the game to begin the final eight minutes and the two squads went and neck and neck with Giles County tying the game at 47-47 on an Ordway basket with just over three minutes to play in the contest.

Chris Walker, who led all scorers in the battle with 15 points, scored to put Marshall County back in front and after a Bobcats' miscue, Sain gave the Tigers a 51-47 lead with a rebound and put-back.

The Bobcats missed at the other end and Pleas scored in the low post before another Giles County turnover led to a Walker three-point play in the lane with 1:30 remaining in the game.

Far ahead

The Bobcats could not hold on to the ball and Sain made them pay when he converted another 3-point play, boosting the Tigers' lead 59-47.

Walker added insult to injury when a third consecutive Giles County turnover led to one Walker free throw and the game ended on two Sain free throws after the final Bobcat bobble.

Darius McKenzie (24) goes up for a rebound and put-back over two Giles County defenders.

Sain and Pleas joined Walker in the double digit club as they both netted 13 points apiece, while Darius McKenzie tallied seven points, Brown and Crutcher added four points apiece, and Caleb Fields and Harris chipped in with a deuce apiece.

Bush led the Bobcats in the scoring column with 13 points, Dontarius Gilbert scored a dozen, Jordan Gilburt had 9, Ordway finished with seven points, Shawn Gibson netted five, and Javeion Holt had one 3-pointer for Giles County (4-7, 0-1).