Tigers knock off Cascade, look to rematch with CPA
Marshall County traveled back to Spring Hill on Tuesday night to take on Cascade in the Region 6-AA semi-finals, playing the Champions for the third and final time during this season with the winner taking on CPA in the title game and the loser heading to the house until the next season.
For the second straight game, the Tigers waited until the final minutes to come alive and seize victory from the jaws of defeat by winning 65-62 after trailing by as many as 14 points for the majority of the fourth quarter.
"About five minutes left in the fourth quarter the lights clicked on and you saw what happened," MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer said. "I'm glad it happened and that's why you never say it's too late. I'm so proud of the way these guys fought and believed and put their community on their back."
Malek Sain led the Tigers with 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
After struggling the whole game with his three-point shots (1-for-6), the senior guard nailed a 3-pointer late in the game to give the Tigers their first lead of the contest.
"The whole time after halftime coach kept telling us to believe," Sain said. "That was the key word all week-- believe, believe, believe. We came out here after a slow start in the third, and really picked it up in the fourth. We had to lock up and play defense, so that's what we did and that won us the game."
Caleb Fields added 17 points six rebounds, four steals, and three assists and DeAndre Brown chipped in 12 points and four rebounds.
For the second straight game a seldom used reserve was put into action and the move paid dividends as Donathan Tears scored four points, grabbed three rebounds, and added a steal in the pivotal fourth quarter.
"Coach says we can go really deep (on the bench) if we really need to and guys that come off the bench need to be ready to go when they get their numbers called," Tears said. "Coach called my number, so I went out there and tried to step up so we could get this win."
The Tigers were seemingly sleep-walking through the first three quarters, going just 1-for-12 from the three point range in the first half and trailed by 10 points at the half, and after a Hayden Edmonson three point play with 2:44 left in the third quarter Cascade would take its biggest lead of the game at 47-32.
"We weren't making baskets and we just kept shooting threes (in the first three quarters)," Fields said. "I was thinking, we've gotta come back. If we lose it's over for Malek and all the seniors and we didn't want that to happen."
The Tigers would go on to outscore the Champions 27-10 in the final frame starting with a Sain steal and layup and after a jumper, Sain would grab his own rebound to score on the put-back to start an unlikely comeback.
Marshall County would deploy a suffocating full-court press and the Champions panicked by turning the ball over three straight times leading to a Fields layup, followed by easy lay ins by Sain and Brown.
Sain would barely miss a 3-pointer on the next possession, but Tears fought for the loose ball and scored the put-back to creep within one point of Cascade's lead.
After another Cascade turnover, Sain would put the dagger in the Champions' back, nailing his only three of the game and complete the Tiger comeback with its first lead of the game at 57-56.
The Tigers would finish off the Champions at the free throw line and Marshall County would survive to advance to finals against CPA in front of a stunned Cascade crowd.
The Tigers will now turn its attention to CPA, which has beaten Marshall County three times this season including the district championship last week by 29 points and allowing Marshall County just six points in the second half.
"We gotta play better defense against CPA," Fields added. "We have to start making shots, we have to score. The last time we played them we only scored 26 points, so we need to improve on that."
With the win over Cascade the Tigers are also guaranteed a sectional round spot on Monday for the first time since the 2010-11 season and will play either Maplewood or Whites Creek from Region 5-AA.
Marshall County 11 9 18 27-65
Cascade 16 14 22 10-62
Marshall County-Malek Sain 19, Caleb Fields 17, DeAndre Brown 12, Caleb Keiler 4, Tre Crutcher 4, Donathan Tears 4, JD Chavours 3, Lamarzus Dodson 2.
3-point goals-Sain 1, Chavours 1.
Cascade-Hayden Edmondson 26, Austin Gentry 14, Landon Parker 7, Seth Gardner 4, Lane Simpson 4, Dakota Newcomb 3.
3-point goals-Edmondson 1, Gentry 1.
Halftime score-Cascade 30, Marshall County 20.