Tigerettes climbing as confidence grows
After a big win at Cascade on Thursday, the Marshall County Tigerettes made it two wins in a row, beating Nolensville 55-42 Friday night at Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium in Lewisburg to move above the .500 mark for the first time since 2010.
"These were important wins for us," sophomore Demariae Ingram said. "At the end of the year, some people are giving up because the season is almost over, but our coach (David Steely) always tells us to keep going and come out on top."
The Tigerettes (9-8, 3-3) trailed early before turning on the afterburners in securing the victory over the first-year Lady Knights.
"I feel like it was just another game leading up to the next one at Giles County on Tuesday," senior Zachuriya O'Neal said. "Tonight was a good test for us because we really worked on the things we needed to do and we did them the right way, like we were supposed to."
Leah Hollingsworth led the way for Lewisburg, netting a team-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers in the contest.
Nolensville held an 8-6 lead three quarters of the way through the first quarter before a Hollingsworth jump shot tied the game and moments later, Alli Hobbs took an inbounds pass from the MCHS baseline and knocked it down, putting the Tigerettes in front for good.
A missed Nolensville field goal attempt at the other end was followed by a Hollingsworth 3-pointer that gave MCHS a 13-8 lead after the first quarter.
"In that first quarter we were a little bit sloppy because everyone was still a little tired from last night," sophomore Demariae Ingram said. "We knew we had to pick it up and we did."
Kelsey Keiler nailed one free throw to start the second quarter and after an offensive foul on Nolensville, Hannah Davis scored in the low post to give the Tigerettes a 16-8 lead.
With 4:53 left in the first half, an O'Neal pullup jumper in the lane gave MCHS a 10-point lead.
Nolensville's Gracie Beard, who led all scorers in the game with 22 points, scored five points in a row to cut the MCHS lead in half at 20-15.
Hollingsworth came back with a 3-pointer and O'Neal scored twice for the Tigerettes, who went on an 8-2 run to end the first half with a 28-17 lead.
The Lady Knights cut the MCHS lead to seven points twice in the third quarter before Ingram took the ball to the rack on back-to-back possessions, staving off the Nolensville charge.
Baird scored before O'Neal dished to Hollingsworth, who nailed a 3-pointer and followed with a fast break bucket off of a Nolensville turnover, putting the Tigerettes up by double digits for the rest of the ballgame.
"It actually sweet to see her wide open and make that shot because than I know I have done my job," O'Neal said.
Ingram and Alli Hobbs scored to end the third quarter and on the Tigerettes' first possession of the fourth quarter, Ingram scored again to open up a 16-point lead at 45-29.
The two squads played nearly even for the remainder of the game as the Tigerettes took the win and began preparation for a big game at second place Giles County (12-8, 5-1) yesterday and matchup at number eight ranked and District 12AA leading CPA (15-3, 6-0) on Friday night.
"Our confidence is high right now because we had a close game with CPA and a short loss with Giles, so we want to come back and beat them," Ingram said.
O'Neal finished with 11 points, Keiler had eight, Ingram seven, and Hobbs and Davis ended up with four points apiece.
"We have been working on a lot of fundamentals and working on ourselves as a team," O'Neal stated. "Our confidence level is where it's supposed to be, but I think it can get higher. If we do good Tuesday night and take care of business, I feel like that will raise the bar for us."
Nolensville 8 9 12 13-42
Marshall County 13 15 15 12-55
Nolensville (42): Gracie Baird 22, Holly Finnell 9, Parker Leftwich 9, Hailey Hughes 2
3-point goals (3): Baird 2, Finnell
Free throws (3-for-5): Baird 2-for-2, Leftwich 1-for-2, Finnell 0-for-1
Marshall County (55): Leah Hollingsworth 21, Zachuriya O'Neal 11, Kelsey Keiler 8, Demariae Ingram 7, Alli Hobbs 4, Hannah Davis 4
3-point goals (5): Hollingsworth 5
Free throws (8-for-15): Keiler 4-for-8, Davis 2-for-2, Ingram 1-for-3, O'Neal 1-for-2
Halftime score: Marshall County 28, Nolensville 17