Tigerettes drop fourth straight
The MCHS Tigerettes faced a tall task to open up the 2016-17 district schedule with a trip to Pulaski to face longtime rival Giles County (6-4, 1-0), who came into Friday's game on a three game winning streak.
The last time Marshall County (3-5, 0-1) came to Giles County the Tigerettes were embarrassed in a 62-point loss in which the blue and white scored just 11 total points during a one-win season.
Those days are long gone and despite a 52-39 loss the Tigerettes were down just five points at intermission and within striking distance until late into the fourth quarter.
"This was a single digit game and I know last year we came down here and lost by 60 points," MCHS coach David Steely said. "But we can't be satisfied with this anymore. Just a few mistakes, turnovers we've got to eliminate and it'll be down to the wire with us having a shot to win."
The Tigerettes have now lost four in a row, but have been in every game until late in the fourth quarter in three out of those four losses.
"I have no clue why we have not been able to close these games out," Alli Hobbs, who added six points and led the Tigerettes with eight rebounds, said. "We will do really well in the first quarter, stay close in the second, and then in the third or fourth I really don't know what happens."
Despite the loss the Tigerettes once again excelled on the defensive end, holding the Bobcats to its fourth lowest scoring output of the year just a week after holding metro Nashville standout Pearl Cohn to its second lowest scoring total of the season.
"There is a huge emphasis on defense," coach Steely stated. "All of my teams have been that way and this one is no exception."
Junior shooting guard Leah Hollingsworth was the star of the night with 21 points, all from long distance, on 7-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Zachuriya O'Neal added eight points and seven rebounds.
"I've just been going in the gym anytime I can, staying after practice," Hollingsworth, who also added four rebounds and two assists, said. "I've been going into the gym on Sundays and getting a lot of shots in because that's really my role on this team so I know I need to work on that."
The extra gym work paid off early as Hollingsworth knocked down two first quarter triples to help the Tigerettes take an 11-8 lead into the second quarter.
After an early Bobcat spurt in the second quarter to retake the lead at 17-13, Hollingsworth broke the Giles County press to feed freshman Hannah Davis for the bucket and O'Neal drained two free throws to tie the game back up at 17-17 with 1:35 left in the half.
Taylor McNairy grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a back breaking 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the home team a 22-17 lead heading into the break.
Hollingsworth got hot from beyond the arc again in the third period with three more triples to take back the lead, but Giles County scored three layups in a row to end the third quarter with a 35-29 edge.
Hollingsworth drained two more 3-pointers in fourth quarter, but the Tigerettes got little else in the scoring column as the Bobcats finally ran away with the lead on the heels of a 17-point fourth quarter to win 52-39 in a hard fought contest.
The Tigerettes step out of district play on Tuesday night and have a good chance to pick up win number four on the year against one-win Columbia Central at Columbia.
Friday will bring a chance to take down perennial district champion Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) before the Lions head to D-II next season.
Marshall County 11 6 12 10 39
Giles County 8 14 13 17 52
Marshall County (39): Leah Hollingsworth 21, Zachuriya O'Neal 8, Alli Hobbs 6, Demarie Ingram 2, Hannah Davis 2
3-point goals (7): Hollingsworth 7
Giles County (52): Erin Freeman 23, Taylor McNairy 13, Mary Katlyn Bruce 6, Jayla White 4, Bianca Malone 3, Alexis Rose 2, Jensen Harper 1
3-point goals (7): Freeman 3, Bruce 2, McNairy, White
Halftime score: Giles County 22, Marshall County 17