Tigers take down Cascade in D12AA semifinal
After taking care of business in a big way against Spring Hill on Friday night in Lewisburg the MCHS Tigers were back on the court the very next night taking on Cascade with a third straight district championship on the line.
The two squads split the regular season matchups, but Saturday night was all Tigers (17-10) as the blue and white led by at least 10 points for the majority of the second half before the Champions (21-7) trimmed the lead in the final minute in the 59-54 win.
"I'm proud we got the victory," MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer said. "Those guys willed themselves to win. Didn't make free throws, we were 9-for-22. We'll be shooting a lot of free throws tomorrow. Guys got to focus on what's going on because if we do that then it's not that close ballgame."
"I'm proud that we're playing for the championship on Tuesday, but we need to make sure everybody in Lewisburg comes out," Bodenhamer continued. "It would be nice for everybody to come out and support these guys. I would love to see the stands covered in blue. Let's do it for the kids."
Caleb Fields led the Tigers with 20 points on three triples and six assists while Tre Crutcher continued his late season tear with 14 points and two assists.
K.J. Johnson finished with 12 points and Jay Howard added seven points and 10 rebounds.
D'Andre Brown chipped in six points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
The Champions were led by Jaden Chumley with 17 points and Hayden Edmonson with 16 points.
"Defense won us this game and just staying focused for the entire game," Fields said. "We've got to make shots at the end. We've got to start hitting our free throws."
"Our plan was to limit number 14 (Edmonson) and number (Seth Gardner) from making shots and if we do that we win," Fields added. "At the end of the game we've got to deny (Edmonson) the ball. In 10 seconds he almost brought them back so we just have to limit him on everything."
The Champions jumped out on the Tigers to start the contest taking an 11-5 lead before a Crutcher layup closed the gap to four points.
Chumley pushed the lead back to seven on a 3-pointer, but Fields answered with his own triple to trim the lead to 14-14.
K.J Johnson knocked down a three and Crutcher followed with another trey and the Champion lead was wiped out as the two squads ended the first quarter in a 20-20 tie.
The Tigers started the second period with a Fields bucket for a two point lead and followed with another Johnson triple to take a 25-20 lead just a minute into the period.
Edmonson scored four straight points to close the deficit, but Fields answered with his second 3-pointer of the game and the Tigers went into halftime with a 30-26 advantage.
The Tigers continued its hot streak in the third quarter, taking a nine-point lead after Fields third triple of the game and took its biggest lead of the night on a Crutcher layup with 1:38 remaining in the period for a 42-30 lead.
The Tigers maintained a 12-point lead for the majority of the fourth period, but just as with any good rivalry, the Champions made one final push starting with a Gardner jumper with 1:50 left to cut the lead to 53-43.
The Tigers left the door open for the comeback making just 9-of-18 from the charity stripe as Cascade knocked down a jumper and nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six with under a minute left in the game.
Late game heroics were too little too late for the Champions on this night and the Tigers survived to play in its third straight championship game, but against a different opponent for the first time.
Giles County (18-10) upset district juggernaut Christ Presbyterian Academy (21-5) earlier in the day, giving the Lions its first loss against a 12AA opponent for the entire four years the Nashville private school has been in the league.
"We're gonna need everybody on Tuesday against Giles because they feel like David versus Goliath and they just knocked off Goliath," Bodenhamer said. "Plus it's Marshall versus Giles. It's gonna be four quarters. We can get 'em if we want to, but we've got to know what to do and how to do it."
The two teams split the regular season matchup with the Bobcats winning by one point in overtime at Pulaski and the Tigers winning an emotional 17-point contest at Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium three weeks ago.
Cascade 20 6 6 22-54
Marshall County 20 10 7 15-59
Cascade (54): Jaden Chumley 17, Hayden Edmonson 16, Seth Gardner 10, Landon Parker 6, Quaz Allen 2, Brandon Heath 2, Chay Chumley 1
3-point goals (6): Edmonson 2, Gardner 2, J. Chumley 2
Marshall County (59): Caleb Fields 20, Tre Crutcher 14, K.J. Johnson 12, Jay Howard 7, D'Andre Brown 6
3-point goals (6): Fields 3, Johnson 2, Crutcher
Halftime score: Marshall County 30, Cascade 26