Tigers tied for the top after win over Forrest
The Marshall County Tigers got some sweet revenge Friday night, beating Forrest 79-68 at Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium in Lewisburg.
The win over the Rockets put the intra-county rivals in a dead heat atop the District 12-AA standings as both teams have lost to each other and to Murfreesboro Central Magnet, who sit in fourth place.
The Tigers also made it five district wins in a row after going 1-2 in their first two.
The packed house in Lewisburg witnessed another great one-on-one matchup between two of the best shooters in the state in Lewisburg’s KJ Johnson and Forrest’s Ryley McClaran.
Johnson was on fire, pouring in a game-high 35 points, including three 3-pointers and a big 12-for-16 effort from the free throw line.
“It definitely feels good to come in and get the win tonight,” Johnson said. “We went 3-0 this week and we know we just have to take it one game a time.”
Johnson got a lot of help from his supporting cast as Marcus Dodson and Canelius Turner scored 19 points apiece with Dodson owning the inside and Turner owning the outside.
“Marcus and Cornelius really stepped up big tonight and it definitely helped us out in the win tonight,” Johnson said. “We ran a two guard from the top and their other guards were helping in, so we just kept kicking it out.”
Turner had five 3-pointers in the contest and Dodson was a man possessed on the on the low blocks, coming up with offensive rebound after offensive rebound.
McClaran scored 26 points in the game for Forrest, who would not go away as MCHS tried in vain to rout the Rockets. McClaran had a pair of 3-pointers and made all five of his free throw attempts.
Jacob Rich had 13 points and three 3-pointers and Sam Ford was also in double figures with 11 points for Forrest.
The Tigers started like gangbusters, knocking down five 3-pointers in the first quarter to lead 21-10 as Turner hit three bombs and Johnson had a pair.
McClaran heated up to start the second quarter, hitting two 3-pointers at the outset of the period to start a Forrest comeback that cut the MCHS lead in half at 25-20 on a McClaran jumper.
The Tigers took off again, beginning with a Johnson trey to kick off a 14-8 run that put Marshall County in front 39-28 before a Rich 3-pointer and one McClaran free throw salvaged the first half for the Rockets, who trailed 39-34.
At the outset of the second half, Ford hit two short jumpers sandwiched around a Dodson bucket in the low post to make it a 41-38 contest, but no matter what the Rockets did, the MCHS duo of Johnson and Dodson held them at bay, combining for 15 out of the 17 points scored by the Tigers in the third quarter.
The Rockets did not fold the tent as they scratched and clawed their way back in the game, cutting the MCHS lead to 63-60 on a Cameron Curtis rebound and put-back with just over four minutes to play in the contest.
After the Curtis basket, Jaleel Howard came up with the backbreaking play of the game when he nailed a long 3-pointer and was fouled.
Howard converted the rare four-point play and Lewisburg went on to lead by seven points until Forrest made their last comeback attempt when McClaran hit two free throws and after a Tiger turnover, Ford nailed a deep 3-pointer to make it a 67-65 contest with 2:20 remaining in the game.
From there, Marshall County put the Rockets away with a game-ending 12-3 run for the 11-point win and secure the first place tie.
Forrest 10 24 14 20-68
Marshall County 21 18 17 23-79
Forrest (68): Ryley McClaran 26, Jacob Rich 13, Sam Ford 11, Ty Hengesbach 7, Spencer McCown 5, Cameron Curtis 5, Mitchell Everette 1.
Free Throws (9-for-10): McClaran 5-for-5, Ford 2-for-2, McCown 1-for-1, Everette 1-for-2.
3-Point Goals (8): Rich 3, McClaran 2, Hengesbach, Curtis, Ford.
Marshall County (79): KJ Johnson 35, Canelius Turner 19, Marcus Dodson 19, Andrew Gold 2, Jaleel Howard 2, Taylor Clark 2.
Free Throws (19-for-29): Johnson 12-for-16, Turner 4-for-5, Dodson 3-for-8.
3-point Goals (8): Turner 5, Johnson 3.
Halftime Score: Marshall County 39, Forrest 34.