MCHS takes big showdown win

Friday, December 16, 2016
Tiger guard Caleb Fields was instrumental in leading an unlikely fourth quarter comeback versus Manassas. Tribune file photos by Anthony S. Puca

Despite losing a grueling one-point overtime loss at bitter rival Giles County Friday night, the Marshall County Tigers were back in action Saturday afternoon against an even tougher opponent in the Manassas Tigers out of Memphis in the Showdown in the South at Whites Creek High School in north Nashville.

The Showdown in the South pits a high-quality team from Middle Tennessee against a traditional power from West Tennessee over four games across Saturday afternoon.

"We started this six years ago because I had a few of my coaching friends that are in Nashville and we just wanted to get together and have an event," third-year Whites Creek coach Carlton Battle, said. "I'm good friends with coach Bodenhamer and he told me as long as I have the event he'd be willing to come and play."

"What we do--I look at match-ups," Battle continued. "I look at players in the area that are pretty good and I believe that Caleb (Fields) is a good guard and I wanted to make sure he came and the Memphis teams we usually select have really good players and so we just look at it as matchups."

"And teams that normally wouldn't get to play each other, teams that I expect to make the postseason can use this to give them a kind of postseason feel in early season play."

The day started off with Whites Creek beating Memphis Fairley 69-54 before Marshall County (4-3) needed a late run to win 77-68 against a Manassas (3-4) team coming off a region berth in 2015-16 and just three seasons removed from a 2A state tournament appearance.

"What I saw out there was resiliency, toughness," MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer said. "What I'm used to seeing. You can never count us out of a ballgame. To play as hard as we played, I told them we played hard last night but we played dumb. We come back out here and we fought through a lot of stuff to get this win."

Quavion Harris provided quality minutes inside for the Tigers off the bench.

"The guys just believed in themselves," Bodenhamer added. "Our motto last year was 'Believe' and that never gets old. I'm proud of the way they fought today."

The Tigers were down by as many as eight with just over two minutes left in the game but finished with a flurry to take home the unlikely nine point win.

"This game gave us some playoff experience like we had at the glass house at MTSU last year," Donathan Tears, who added 12 points and six rebounds, said. "This was great playoff experience because we lost to a Memphis team last year (in the state tournament) and now we are playing one in the regular season so that will give us a view of what it could be like when we make it back to MTSU."

The Tigers finished with four players in double figures, led by D'Andre Brown with 15 points, five rebounds, and two assists.

K.J. Johnson added 14 points, including nine in the fourth period, to go along with six assists, and Caleb Fields chipped in with 12 points, five assists, five rebounds, and three steals.

Manassas jumped out to a 17-13 lead after one quarter, but the Tigers exploded for 23 second quarter points including four triples from Fields, Maxwell, Johnson, and Keshun Gentry to take a 36-35 lead into the half.

Manassas regained control of the contest in the third quarter, led by seven Devarian Williams's points, but Marshall County remained within striking distance, down just four points heading into the final frame.

Gentry nailed a triple to open up the fourth quarter to cut the lead to one point, but Marshall County could not seem to overtake Manassas as the final period wore on and the Tigers looked to head back out west with a signature win.

Trailing by eight with just under three minutes left in the quarter the blue and white awoke and just over a minute later a Johnson 3-pointer tied the game at 68 with 1:56 remaining.

On the next possession Tre Crutcher scored a layup off a rebound and with 1:28 left in the contest Johnson hammered the nail in the coffin with a backbreaking 3-pointer for a 73-68 lead.

"I think we came together as a team in the fourth quarter," Johnson said. "We started getting fast break points and started picking up the tempo and getting easy baskets. That's what helped us close out the win."

Tears hit three free throws down the stretch and Marshall County picked itself back up with a huge win over a potential 2A state tournament caliber team from Memphis.

"It feels really good and it sends a message back to Memphis," Gentry said. "We started pushing the ball, making layups, and making shots. Everybody was playing their role. It's gonna be a great ride home."

Marshall County 13 23 13 28 77

Manassas 17 18 18 15 68

Marshall County (77): D'Andre Brown 15, K.J. Johnson 14, Caleb Fields 12, Donathan Tears 12, Keshun Gentry 9, Jay Howard 8, Tre Crutcher 4, Keevon Maxwell 3

3-poit goals (8): Johnson 4, Gentry 2, Fields, Maxwell

Manassas (68): DeAndre Davis 15, Devaria Williams 13, Benjamin Perkins 12, Kamaron Towns 9, Tadarius Nichols 9, Jalen Robinson 4, Wendell Rogers 3, Quez Hampton 2, Najee Benney 2

3-point goals (1): Rogers

Halftime score: Marshall County 36, Manassas 35

Showdown in the South results

Whites Creek 69, Fairley 54

Marshall Co. 77, Manassas 68

Memphis Kirby 58, Maplewood 38

Germantown Houston 67, Cane Ridge 63