Steely returns to guide Tigerettes
The Marshall County Tigerettes are 3-1, yes you heard it right, 3-1.
Lewisburg had not started off with that record since the 2009 season and the two wins is double what they won all of last year.
The storied program that holds four state titles with the last coming in 2007-2008 had fallen on hard times, suffering six seasons without a winning record.
David Steely, the coach of the 2007-2008 Class AA title team couldn't take it anymore and has returned to the bench with his father Donald by his side with hopes of guiding the program back to prominence.
"I'm enjoying it a whole lot," David Steely said. "Sometimes we don't always win, but I love the day to day being in the gym and I love getting to know the players and working with them."
Donald Steely led squads won state championships in 1976 and 1980 and the program's winningest all-time coach, Fred Shelton captured the schools initial title, coaching the Tigerettes to their only undefeated season (32-0) in 1972.
"I love that more than anything, mommy and daddy have been super involved and it's just really nice having daddy on the bench," Steely said. "It's always a good feeling that I can talk to him during the game."
The Tigerettes came out on fire to start the this season, just like days of old, handing David Steely a big 74-34 win over Fayetteville City last week in a Hall of Champions game at Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium in Lewisburg.
"I love being at Dottie Kelso," Steely said. "That's my gym, I started coaching in that gym as a high school coach and I have been there since the school opened, it's like home being there."
"I can remember last year, looking over and thinking, wow I miss sitting over there, so it is good sitting over there and being the coach again."
Junior Leah Hollingsworth poured in 21 points for Marshall County, including four 3-pointers and freshman Hannah Davis and junior Ali Hobbs were both in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
On Monday, the Tigerettes came back down to earth a little, losing 56-27 to a Wilson Central squad that went 33-1 last season and lost in the Class AAA state quarterfinals to Memphis Central.
Lewisburg bounced back on Wednesday, beating Creek Wood 49-39 at the Forrest Thanksgiving Tournament at Chapel Hill.
"That was a big win for us today, it was a quality win over a quality team," Steely said. "It's kind of a turning point for us to get over a hump there, so we are fired up and ready to go."
After trailing by six points after the first quarter, MCHS came back to take a 29-25 halftime lead.
Creek Wood closed the gap, but the Tigerettes came up big late and held on down the stretch, even though Steely wasn't happy with the way they finished.
Late in the fourth quarter when the Tigerettes had a comfortable lead, they took some shots that didn't need to be attempted, giving the Lady Red Hawks an opening they never took advantage of.
"I got a little too excited there," a smiling Steely said. "If you think about it, they were never in that situation last year, so we just have to learn to finish and win, so for a group of girls who haven't done it a lot to go ahead and finish was huge."
MCHS came up with a balanced scoring as Hollingsworth scored 11 points, Kelsey Keiler and Davis had nine apiece, Zachuriya O'Neal added eight and Hobbs and Demariae Ingram had six points each.
"We talked about being balanced before the game, our post players stepped up and were a presence today and it makes it a lot better when we can get some easy ones," Steely said. "Our guards have been doing most of the scoring, so our posts have to step and we did that today, so if can keep doing that, we will be a lot better."
The Tigerettes came up with another solid win on Saturday, beating Mt. Pleasant 37-21.
Alyssa Lemay scored on the first possession of the game for Mt. Pleasant before Demariae Ingram converted a three-point play for the Tigerettes, who took a 9-3 after the first quarter.
Ingram scored on a rebound and put-back to start the second period and Zachuriya O'Neal came up with a three-point play after a drive to the hoop.
Freshman Hannah Davis scored on a put-back in the low post and after a Mt. Pleasant missed shot, Kelsey Keiler drained the Tigerettes only 3-pointer of the game, making it an 18-3 contest.
Mt. Pleasant hung in the game with a 5-2 run to end the first half with MCHS leading 20-8.
Kati Woodson hit two free throws for Mt. Pleasant to begin the second half, but they would not score again in the period, while the Tigerettes scored six to take a 26-10 lead to the fourth quarter.
Two Lemay 3-pointers cut the Marshall County lead to 28-16 early in the period before O'Neal and Ingram took over the game with their speed on several drives to the hoop as the two combined for nine points in the period that ended with a tough rebound and put-back by Ali Hobbs to secure the 16-point win for the Tigerettes.
O'Neal led the Tigerettes in the scoring column with 13 points.
Hobbs, Ingram and Davis all finished with six points and Leah Hollingsworth and Keiler netted three points apiece.
"I love Tigerette basketball and I told them from day one, my goal is to walk up the ramp at the Murphy Center again as a coach," Steely said. "We are not there right now, but we are getting better all the time."
MCHS vs. Creek Wood
Wednesday, November 23
Marshall County 13 16 6 14-49
Creek Wood 19 6 7 7-39
Creek Wood-Raegan Hohl 14, Elayna Gass 9, Lydia Edmondson 7, Julie Nunnemaker 4, Taylor Moore 3, Madison Hayes 2
Three-point goals-Hohl 3, Gass, Moore
Free throws-Nunnemaker 2-for-2, Hohl 1-for-1, Edmondson 1-for-2, Moore 1-for-3
Marshall County-Leah Hollingsworth 11, Kelsey Keiler 9, Hannah Davis 9, Zachuriya O'Neal 8, Demariae Ingram 6, Ali Hobbs 6
Three-point goals-Hollingsworth 2
Free throws-Hollingsworth 3-for-3, O'Neal 2-for-2, Hobbs 2-for-5, Keiler 1-for-2, Davis 1-for-8, Ingram 0-for-3
MCHS vs. Mt. Pleasant
Saturday, November 26
Marshall County 7 13 6 11-37
Mt. Pleasant 3 5 2 11-21
Marshall County-Zachuriya O'Neal 13, Ali Hobbs 6, Demariae Ingram 6, Hannah Davis 6, Leah Hollingsworth 3, Kelsey Keiler 3
Free throws-O'Neal 7-for-9, Hollingsworth 3-for-4, Hobbs 2-for-2, Ingram 2-for-6, Davis 0-for-1
Mt. Pleasant-Alyssa Lemay 13, Kati Woodson 5, Alexia Angus 3
Three-point goals-Lemay 2, Angus
Free throws-Woodson 3-for-5, Lemay 2-for-3, Sara Bytwerk 0-for-2