Tigers rally past Patriots
When the going got tough, the Marshall County Tigers got going on Tuesday night, as they rallied to defeat District rival Page 67-66 on the road to complete the season sweep of the Patriots.
Page (8-14, 1-5 District) appeared to have MCHS on the ropes after building a 52-45 lead through the first three quarters of play, but the Tigers (15-7, 6-1 District) came out swinging in the fourth period and used a 21-11 run to seize a 66-63 advantage with 1:05 left.
After Page's Dylan White canned a three-pointer to tie the game at 66-66, Kacy Pleas hit one-of-two free throws with :20 remaining to give Marshall County a 67-66 lead before MCHS held the Patriots scoreless on their final possession with the help of a big shot block by D'Andre Brown to eke out the one-point victory.
"Page played well and they're a scary team. You've got to take your hat off to them, but you should also take your hat off for our guys too," said Marshall County coach Arnette Bodenhamer. "We need games like this to prepare us for the postseason. We need to learn how to handle adversity and we did that tonight."
Buoyed by a 7-of-7 shooting performance by center Darius McKenzie, the Tigers shot 43 percent (21-of-49) from the field overall, which included a 5-of-18 effort from three-point range, while knocking down 20-of-29 free throws.
Malek Sain led three Marshall County players in double figures with 19 points and four steals. McKenzie followed Sain with 17 points, and Caleb Fields tallied 12 points.
Pleas and Curtis Keiler tallied five points apiece as well, while Brown and Keevon Maxwell both chipped in three points. Trey Crutcher and Steven Dangerfield rounded out the scoring for MCHS with two and one point respectively.
The Patriots, meanwhile, shot a blistering 55 percent (22-of-40) from the field, made 5-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc, and hit 17-of-27 free throws. Page also outrebounded the Tigers 23-20, but Marshall County held an 8-4 edge on the offensive glass and committed five fewer turnovers (18-13) than the Patriots.
White paced Page with a game high 23 points, while Garrett Sharp added 11 points. Michael Magochy and Christian Denton notched nine points apiece for the Patriots as well.
Page jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before the Tigers rattled off nine straight points thanks to a pair of baskets from McKenzie, a Sain three, and a runner from Crutcher to seize a 9-4 advantage midway through the first quarter.
The Patriots tallied six of the next seven points to knot the game at 10-10 late in the first period, but Marshall County outscored Page 16-8 over the next six minutes with the help of a Keiler trey and four points apiece from Sain, McKenzie, and Pleas to take a 26-20 lead.
Tigers fight back
After closing the first half with a 7-0 spurt to narrow the gap to 26-25 at the break, the Patriots carried that momentum into the third quarter and outscored MCHS 27-19 in the stanza to grab a 52-45 advantage.
The Tigers quickly erased that deficit and put together a 10-0 run behind five points from Sain and a McKenzie three-point play to pull ahead 55-52 early in the fourth period.
White hit a layup and a jumper to give Page a brief 56-55 advantage, but Marshall County outscored the Patriots 11-7 over the next four minutes on the strength of six points from McKenzie to forge a 66-63 lead.
Following a three by White, which tied the contest at 66-66, Pleas was fouled with :20 left and hit the first of two free throws to put MCHS up 67-66.
On Page's final possession, Brock Nason appeared to have a wide open layup after receiving a nice pass from White, but Brown came out of nowhere and swatted Nason's shot out of bounds with :09 remaining.
The Tigers then escaped with the win when White missed a turnaround jumper in the lane as time expired.