Red Hawks fly past Tigers in Region semis
The Marshall County Tigers' playoff run came to a screeching halt on Thursday night, as the high flying Creek Wood Red Hawks (30-0) defeated MCHS 93-64 in the semifinals of the Region 6-AA tournament in Charlotte.
Creek Wood brought the hammer down early against Marshall County (18-11) and forged a 49-28 lead in the first half before outscoring MCHS 44-36 over the final two quarters to claim the 29-point victory.
Despite the disappointing end to their season, the Tigers made definite strides during the 2014-15 campaign, as they registered seven victories over Class AAA teams, advanced past the opening round of the District 12-AA tournament for the first time in three years, and recorded their first Region tourney win since 2011.
"We progressed really well this year. We'll have a lot of starters back and I plan to watch them in the State Tournament," said Marshall County senior guard Chris Walker, who finished with two points. "This is just the start. Next year they'll know how to handle the situation better."
Having averaged an impressive 87.5 points per game this season, the Red Hawks put on another offensive clinic on Thursday and shot a blistering 55 percent (31-of-56) from the field while knocking down 9-of-19 three-point attempts and registering 19 assists.
"Creek Wood is the best offensive team we've played this year. They get the ball out and shoot it well. They do what they do well," said Marshall County coach Arnett Bodenhamer.
Red Hawks fill it up
Junior guard Ross Cummings led four Red Hawk players in double figures by pouring in a game high 24 points. Isaac Edmonson followed Cummings with 16 points, while Easton Aldridge and Coulter Dotson notched 14 and 12 points respectively.
Although they were able to drive the ball into the paint throughout the contest, the Tigers had trouble finishing once they got to the rim and shot just 34 percent (22-of-65) from the floor overall, which included a 5-of-21 effort from beyond the arc. Marshall County did outrebound Creek Wood 35-33 and held a 13-1 edge on the offensive glass, but was hampered by 16 turnovers.
Malek Sain paced the Tigers with 17 points and seven rebounds. D'Andre Brown tallied 13 points as well, while Caleb Fields added 10 points and four assists. Senior forward Kacy Pleas chipped in three points for Marshall County in his final game.
"I'm so proud of our two seniors Kacy and Chris. I would have liked to have seen them win their last game, but they did everything I asked of them. They're great kids and make coaching easy," said Bodenhamer.
The Red Hawks seized control of the game right from the start and soared out to a 24-11 lead late in the first quarter.
Sain keeps it close
After McKenzie scored on a layup to whittle the deficit to 24-13, Cummings hit two free throws with :03 left in the first period before Sain banked in a desperation heave from half court at the buzzer to narrow the gap to 26-16.
Marshall County, however, didn't carry any momentum into the second quarter, as Creek Wood opened the stanza with a 15-0 run to stretch their lead to 41-15.
The Tigers tried to chip away at the deficit and outscored the Red Hawks 12-8 over the final 4:32 of the first half on the strength of five points from Curtis Keiler and four points from Brown to make it 49-28 at the break.
Marshall County then started the second half with a 7-2 spurt, highlighted by a Sain three, to cut the deficit to 51-35, but Creek Wood quickly counter-punched and reeled off 11 straight points to open up a 62-35 advantage midway through the third period.
Fight to the end
MCHS outscored the Red Hawks 12-2 over the next three minutes behind four points from Sain and a Keevon Maxwell trey to close the gap to 64-47 before Creek Wood responded with an 11-1 run to push their lead to 75-48 early in the fourth period.
After Brown tallied four straight points on a reverse layup and two free throws to trim the deficit to 75-52, the Red Hawks outscored the Tigers 18-12 the rest of the way to cruise to their 30th win of the season.
Marshall County: 16 12 20 16 = 64
Creek Wood: 26 23 25 19 = 93
Marshall County: Malek Sain 17, D'Andre Brown 13, Caleb Fields 10, Darius McKenzie 7, Curtis Keiler 5, Tre Crutcher 4, Keevon Maxwell 3, Kacy Pleas 3, Chris Walker 2.
Creek Wood: Ross Cummings 24, Isaac Edmonson 16, Easton Aldridge 14, Coulter Dotson 12, Ross Plunkett 9, Tyler Turpin 9, Gabe Cummings 7, Clay Ruf 2.
Three-point field goals: Marshall County (5): Malek Sain 3, Keiler 1, Maxwell 1; Creek Wood (9) Dotson 3, Plunkett 2, Cummings 2, Turpin 1, Edmonson 1.
Halftime score: Creek Wood 49, Marshall County 28.