Tigers falter late in FRA semifinal

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Jaleel Howard had five points in Marshall County’s loss to Alcoa.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After stealing a Thursday night first-round win versus FRA, the Marshall County Tigers got the tables turned on them on Friday when Alcoa swiped a 73-70 victory over Lewisburg.

The Tigers led by six points with 1:44 remaining in the contest when they turned the ball over four straight times to give it away.

“That was a tough one right there,” MCHS coach Lavon King said. “I thought we had some opportunities to close out the deal and we made some costly turnovers down the stretch.”

Alcoa jumped on the Tigers early, leading by nine points in the first quarter as Marshall County was having trouble turning on the jets after the big 74-71 win over FRA on Thursday.

The Tornadoes scored first in the second quarter to go up by nine points at 20-11 before the Tigers woke up big time, going on a 20-4 run to lead 31-24 at the half.

KJ Johnson, who scored 46 points the night before had 10 points in the second quarter and a game-high 29, including three 3-pointers.

Jaleel Howard netted all five of his points in the game in the second period as Marshall County ended the first half with a 12-0 run, including a beautiful over the top pass from Johnson to Howard at the buzzer.

It was the Tigers’ turn to lead by nine points at the outset of the second half, but the Tornadoes came all the way back with to lead 53-52 on a Garrett Rogers steal and score with 10 seconds left in the period.

Keshun Gentry takes the rock strong to the hole after stealing the ball in the Tigers’ tough 73-70 loss to Alcoa Friday night.

Undaunted, the Tigers got a huge bucket in the low post by Taylor Clark with 1.4 seconds left and MCHS took a one-point, 54-53 lead to the final period.

The teams battled back and forth until the Tigers began to put some daylight between the score sheet.

Leading 63-61 with three and half minutes to go, the Tigers scored six straight points on two Johnson baskets and feed by Johnson to Marcus Dodson in the low post to make it 69-61.

“KJ grew up today,” King said. “I thought he did a good job as far as distributing and we had some other kids that stepped up and made some big plays too.”

“It is one of things where you have 46 one night and it’s hard to come back and have another big performance like that, but he is putting in a lot of minutes and may be getting a little fatigued.”

The turnover bug crept in and the Tornadoes took advantage, tying the game at 69 on a Michael Ayl basket with one minute to go in the game.

Johnson followed with one free throw to inch the Tigers back in front before one charity shot by Alcoa’s Jaylen Carter tied the game at 70.

A questionable offensive foul call on Dodson in the low post was followed by a long 3-pointer by Donte Harris and the Tornadoes took the comeback win.

The Tigers lost 93-77 to Pearl-Cohn on Saturday in a consolation game.

Marshall County (12-5) will be back in action when they host Community (6-7) on January 9 in the first District 12-AA contest for both teams.

MCHS 11 20 23 16-70

Alcoa 18 6 29 20-73

MCHS (70): KJ Johnson 29, Marcus Dodson 13, Keshun Gentry 12, Canelius Turner 7, Jaleel Howard 5, Andrew Gold 2, Taylor Clark 2

3-point goals (4): Johnson 3, Turner

Free Throws (12-for-21): Johnson 6-for-9, Dodson 3-for-7, Turner 2-for-3, Howard 1-for-1, Clark 0-for-1

Alcoa (73): Donta Harris 21, Nick Roberts 17, Mehki Carter 9, Garrett Rogers 8, Jaylon Carter 7, Michael Ayl 5, Nate Marsh 4, Kobe Robinson 2

3-point goals (12): Harris 4, M. Carter 3, Roberts 2, Rogers, Ayl

Free Throws (7-for-12): Harris 3-for-4, Marsh 2-for-2, Rogers 1-for-2, J. Carter 1-for-2, Tristan Blankenship 0-for-2

Halftime Score: MCHS 31, Alcoa 24