Tigers' formula works again
Just like in Wartrace a couple of weeks ago, the Marshall County Tigers played even for a half with Cascade before a third quarter defensive blitz led to a victory on pink out breast cancer awareness night in Lewisburg on Tuesday.
"When we play fast and furious everybody gets up and it becomes like a virus," said senior Kacy Pleas.
"We make sure if we have had a bad first half, we come out and make it a whole different ballgame in the second half."
Second in 12-AA
The Tigers' big third quarter sealed a 66-57 win, clinched second place in the District 12-AA standings, and a spot in the region tournament.
"This will be our first time back in region since my freshman year, so it feels good," said Pleas.
MCHS had some extra motivation too, coming off an upset loss at Spring Hill that ended any hope of finishing in first place.
DeAndre Brown scored to open the game for the Tigers and then an omen of what was to come for Cascade materialized when Curtis Keiler stole the ball and fed Malek Sain for a fast break layup.
Another Champions' turnover led to a Darius McKenzie bucket in the paint and the Tigers were off and running, building a 10-2 lead.
Cascade was able to cut the lead in half moments later on a Hayden Edmondson 3-pointer, but back-to-back buckets in the paint by Pleas sparked the Tigers once again, who would go on to lead 17-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Champions dug in the second quarter, edging its way back into the game by outscoring the Tigers 17-4 o take a 25-24 lead on an Austin Gentry basket with less than a minute to play in the period.
The Tigers answered the call from the guard position as Brown and Sain came up with drives through the Cascade defense to end the first half with a 28-25 lead.
Second half leaders
Brown was the catalyst once again to begin the second half, scoring four points and McKenzie added two more for the Tigers, who took a 34-25 lead, forcing a Cascade timeout with 5:58 remaining in the period.
James Lattimore nailed a 3-pointer out of the stoppage for Cascade, but the Tigers kept up the defensive pressure and stayed hot from the field as six different players scored in the period, including 3-pointers by Keiler and Sain.
The Champions would score just four more points the remainder of the third quarter and trailed 48-32, entering the fourth quarter.
MCHS scored the first four points of the final period, extending their lead to 17 points before Cascade mounted a comeback behind three 3-pointers by Gentry that eventually cut the Tigers' lead to 63-57 with 45 seconds remaining in the game.
Sain, who made six out of eight free throws in the fourth quarter, nailed one charity shot after the Gentry three-pointer.
After a Cascade missed shot at the other end, Brown took a pass over the top and raced in for the clinching lay-up to end the game.
The Tigers (16-8, 7-2) will be looking to keep the momentum going when they host top ranked CPA (24-4, 9-0) tonight for Senior Night.
"We are still going out to beat them and show them that we can be the number one team in this district," said Pleas.
The Tigers have lost three straight to CPA with the average margin of victory for the Lions being 38 points.
"We just have play basketball and stop worrying about it, it's just a name and we have to come out and play basketball like we are not scared," said Pleas.
Marshall Co. 17 11 20 18 -- 66
Cascade 8 17 7 25 -- 57
Marshall Co.: DeAndre Brown 18, Malek Sain 15, Kacy Pleas 12, Darius McKenzie 7, Caleb Field 5, Curtis Keiler 4, Steven Dangerfield 3, Tre Crutcher 2.
Cascade: Austin Gentry 18, James Lattimore 13, Marky Gilmore 8, Seth Gardner 8, Hayden Edmondson 6, Lane Simpson 4.
3-Point goals: Marshall Co. (3): Sain, Field, Dangerfield; Cascade (9): Gentry 4, Edmondson 2, Gardner 2, Lattimore.
Halftime score: Marshall Co. 28, Cascade 25.