Tigers can't get over CPA dominance
One of the only accomplishments this senior Marshall County High School basketball class has not managed in its career is the gratification of beating Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) in the past four years.
After the emotional high of blowing out Giles County on a special night last Tuesday, the Tigers came out flat at CPA on Friday night, going into halftime down 20 points before a perfect second half set Marshall County up with a chance to beat the Lions.
However, the game tying shot rimmed out and the Lions once again took home another contest against its region rival 67-64.
"There is no doubt that we can beat CPA, it's just a mental thing," senior Donathan Tears, who finished with 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists, said. "We've got to get mentally stronger when we play CPA."
The Tigers (12-10, 4-4) were led by Tre Crutcher, who went unconscious from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, hitting five triples in the final frame for a total of six in the game for 18 points, four rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
Marshall County also picked up 18 points from sophomore sharpshooter K.J. Johnson, who knocked down four trifectas and added four assists.
Caleb Fields had 14 points and led the team with seven rebounds.
"I came into this game with the mindset to beat CPA," Crutcher noted. "We haven't beat them since I've been here so that's pretty much my goal."
"You know, the whole thing with D'Andre and his family so I'm playing for them, the Brown family, so I'm trying to perfect my craft in order to get us these wins and get us to the state championship," Crutcher added.
The Tigers looked like a shell of the team that beat district rival Giles County by 17 points on Tuesday night in the first half against CPA.
The game started out well for the Tigers as two Tears' layups gave MCHS the early 4-0 lead and after two Clay Washburn layups tied the game, Johnson knocked down a triple off an inbounds play for a 7-4 edge.
Washburn scored four more points as the Lions took their first lead of the game at 8-7, but Crutcher answered with his first of many threes for a 10-8 Tiger advantage.
The Lions really broke things open when Drew Scott knocked down a 3-pointer and drove in for a layup to push the CPA lead to 17-12, but Fields nailed a triple to bring it down to 17-15 with 1:41 left in the opening period.
The Lions outscored the Tigers 7-0 to end the quarter, punctuated by a Dean Cooper layup at the buzzer for a 24-15 lead.
The Lions (15-4, 8-0) started the second quarter with a bang as Washburn snatched an ally-oop out of the air and dunked it home with two hands to rev up the CPA crowd and extend the lead to double figures at 26-15.
The onslaught continued as the Lions outscored the Tigers 20-9 in the quarter led by six points from McNeil Stout and five each from Scott and Michael Mayernik to cruise into halftime with a 44-24 lead.
"I raised my voice at them (during halftime) a little bit, but I've gotten into them worse," MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer said. "Just do what you're supposed to do, do your job. Pick up on the defensive end, make shots, hit the open man, and you'll be fine."
K.J. Johnson helped the Tigers slowly chip away at the 20-point lead as the sophomore knocked down back-to-back triples to cut the lead down to 48-34 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
Johnson scored his 9th and 10th points of the quarter on two free throws with five seconds remaining left in the period to cut the lead to 56-43.
CPA started the fourth period with a Washburn 3-pointer to extend the lead back to 59-43, but Crutcher knocked down two 3-pointers and a Johnson layup trimmed the lead down to 59-51 with 5:13 left in the game.
Crutcher continued to shoot lights out with another three and two Fields free throws finally cut the lead down to a one possession game at 59-56 with 2:03 left.
Bryce McCormick answered with a three-point play for his only points of the game to push the lead to 62-56 with 1:41 remaining, but Fields knocked down two free throws and Crutcher nailed another triple to make it a one-point game at 62-61 with 53 seconds remaining.
After two James Deaton free throws, Keshun Gentry took an open look to tie the game, but the shot was an inch off and despite another Crutcher 3-pointer, the Tigers lost an important district game 67-64.
"I'm not happy with the outcome, but I'm proud of the way they fought," Bodenhamer said. "It was just about doing your job and they came out in the second half and played well."
Marshall County 15 9 19 21-64
CPA 24 20 12 11-67
Marshall County (64): Tre Crutcher 18, K.J. Johnson 18, Caleb Fields 14, Donathan Tears 10, Keshun Gentry 2, Jay Howard 2
3-point goals (11): Crutcher 6, Johnson 4, Fields
CPA (67): Clay Washburn 17, Michael Mayernick 13, McNeil Stout 11, Drew Scott 11, James Deaton 7, Dean Cooper 4, Bryce McCormick 3
3-point goals (7): Stout 3, Scott 2, Deaton, Washburn
Halftime score: CPA 44, Marshall County 24