Tigerettes take CPA to the limit, fall 55-51
Marshall County has proven time and time again during the season that they can play with the best Class AA has to offer, but going into Thursday night's game against #10 ranked CPA the Tigerettes had yet to win that signature game against high level competition.
The Tigerettes seemed unfazed by the hostile environment at CPA, leading at the end of the first three quarters, but just like the first matchup versus the Lady Lions, Marshall County gave up a fourth quarter lead before falling 55-51.
"They're a good matchup for us," MCHS coach David Steely said. "We didn't do a good job on the big girl (Savannah LeGate) tonight, she had 26 points but we're right there with them. They're a really good team, they've won 16 games now and are ranked in the state."
"We've been right there, neck and neck with them both times, hopefully we'll get another chance at them again."
After scoring just 23 total points in the previous game against Giles County last Tuesday the Tigerettes managed to put up 51, led by Demarie Ingram with 14 points, five rebounds, and two blocks, Kelsey Keiler with 12 points, and Leah Hollingsworth with 12 points on four first half 3-pointers.
"I don't think we need to change anything (in a rematch), but I do know we have to clean up the little mistakes," Hollingsworth stated. "Our game plan against them is obviously effective, so now it's time to be mature, concentrate, and take the next step in order to beat them."
The Lions were led by DI prospect LeGate with 26 points and Libby Long with 10 points.
The Tigerettes (9-10, 3-5) started the game out hot, led by three Hollingsworth triples and eight Ingram points in the first quarter as the blue and white scored just two points less in the first quarter than they scored the entire game against Giles County the previous game and led 21-17.
Legate dropped 12 points in the second period as the Lions took a brief lead, but Hollingsworth knocked down another triple to tie the game at 27-27 with under three minutes remaining in the half.
After the Lady Lions (16-4, 7-1) went up two late in the half, Alli Hobbs broke free for a layup to tie the game at 32-32, heading into the break.
The Lions went out of its zone defense in the second half and focused all of its attention on Hollingsworth after the junior burned CPA for four three's in the first half, but that opened up Keiler, who scored 9-of-her-12 points in the third quarter and the Tigerettes took a three-point lead into the final quarter.
"They do pay a lot more attention to me (when the shots are going in) and it can be frustrating," Hollingsworth, who also added three assists and two rebounds, said. "I keep my composure and remember that shooting the ball isn't the only part of the game. I know that I can give one hundred percent on defense even when I cannot contribute as much on offense."
With the Lions focused on Hollingsworth, Zachuriya O'Neal heated up in the fourth quarter starting with a drive and pull-up jumper for a 45-42 Tigerettes' lead with 6:41 remaining in the game.
Long knocked down a triple to put CPA up for the first time in the second half with 5:40 left on the clock and Carrington Washburn picked off a Tigerette pass and went in untouched for a layup as CPA took its biggest lead of the game at 48-45 at the 5:07 mark.
After LeGate pushed the lead to four points on a free throw with 3:29 remaining, O'Neal knocked down two free throws and a mid-range jumper on the next possession to knot the game at 49.
Legate and Washburn each knocked down two free throws to push the lead back to four at 53-49 with just 1:47 remaining, but Hobbs and Keiler each hit one of two free throws to set up a wild finish.
With 19 seconds remaining, the usually accurate Washburn missed two free throws with the Tigerettes down 53-51, but Libby Long managed to sneak between two Marshall County players and grab an offensive rebound to essentially end the game after knocking down two more free throws.
"CPA is used to winning games and being smart with the ball in the fourth quarter," Hollingsworth explained. "We haven't had to face many close game situations, so we are still a little inexperienced in that area of the game. Once we finish out a close game and continue to be smart, it won't be as much of a problem."
Marshall County 21 11 11 8 -51
CPA 17 15 8 15-54
Marshall County (51): Demarie Ingram 14, Leah Hollingsworth 12, Kelsey Keiler 12, Zachuriya O'Neal 6, Alli Hobbs 5, Hannah Davis 2
3-point goals (5): Hollingsworth 4, Keiler
CPA (55): Savannah LeGate 26, Libby Long 10, Avery Zapp 7, Carrington Washburn 7, Grace Gilbert 3, Addie Russell Omer 2
3-point goals (4): Zapp 2, Long 2
Halftime score: Marshall County 32, CPA 32