Tigers outgun Spring Hill
With a big showdown against defending District 12-AA champ Christ Presbyterian Academy looming on the horizon, the Marshall County Tigers kept pace with the private school powerhouse in the conference standings by defeating the Spring Hill Raiders 77-55 at home on Tuesday night to remain undefeated in league play.
After building a 31-22 lead through the first two quarters of play, the Tigers (12-6, 3-0 District) began to pull away in the second half and outscored Spring Hill 46-33 over the final 16 minutes to record their third straight victory over the Raiders (4-10, 0-2 District).
Bolstered by a 6-of-7 shooting performance in the fourth quarter, the Tigers shot 49 percent (25-of-51) from the field overall, which included a 4-of-15 effort from three-point range, while committing only seven turnovers and recording 16 assists as a team.
"We shared the ball tonight. You can't let the ball stick in one spot. You have to make the defense move. Good offense will beat good defense every time if you execute properly," said MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer.
Marshall County also held a 29-24 rebounding advantage and outscored the Raiders 23-17 thanks to a 19-of-28 effort at the foul line in the fourth period.
Junior guard Malek Sain led the Tigers offensively by pouring in a game high 18 points. Chris Walker followed Sain with 11 points and Darius McKenzie added nine points. D'Andre Brown, Curtis Keiler, and Kacy Pleas tallied seven points apiece as well, while Quavion Harris, Steven Dangerfield, and Kevon Maxwell notched six, four, and three points respectively. Caleb Fields and Donathan Tears also chipped in two points apiece for MCHS and Zach Johnson had one point.
Despite hitting 6-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc, Spring Hill (4-10, 0-2 District) finished with a modest 16 field goals on 41 percent shooting while committing 21 turnovers.
Keidron McAllister paced four Raider players in double figures with 15 points. Alex Harrison notched 13 points as well for Spring Hill, while Tylin Oden and Justin Oden added 12 and 10 points respectively.
Marshall County got off to a fast start and raced out to an 11-4 lead midway through the first quarter with the help of eight points from Sain and a Brown layup.
The Raiders tallied eight of the next 10 points to slice the deficit to 13-12 at the end of the first period before the Tigers opened the second quarter with a 9-3 spurt, highlighted by a Keiler trey, to stretch their lead to 22-15.
Spring Hill then narrowed the gap to 24-20 late in the second quarter, but Marshall County outscored the Raiders 7-2 over the final 1:37 of the half thanks to three foul shots and a pair of layups from McKenzie and Brown to stretch their lead to 31-22.
The Tigers started to pull away from Spring Hill in the second half and put together a 22-10 run on the strength of a Keiler trey, a three-point play by Brown, and four points apiece from McKenzie, Walker, and Sain to forge a 53-32 advantage with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter.
Too little, too late
Spring Hill made a late charge and notched 13 of the next 15 points to close the gap to 55-45, but Marshall County quickly dashed the Raiders comeback hopes and responded with an 11-1 spurt behind six points from Sain and a Walker layup to push their lead to 66-46.
After Spring Hill trimmed the deficit to 66-48 on a basket by Dre McAllister, the Tigers outscored the Raiders 11-7 the rest of the way with the aid of seven free throws and a couple of layups from Walker and Tears to cap their 77-55 triumph.