Tigerettes come up big versus Nolensville
Although the Tigerettes lost the chance at a first place district finish with a pair of close four-point losses versus Nolensville (18-6, 7-2) and Forrest (17-7, 7-2) last week, Marshall County looked at Tuesday night’s game as a statement game heading into the District 12-AA Tournament next week at Giles County.
And a statement was definitely made via a 38-32 win over the first place and number one-seed Lady Knights.
The loss was only the second district loss of the season for the Lady Knights, while five of Marshall County's (17-6, 5-4) six losses have been by 14 total points.
"They are the number one team in the district and beat Forrest both times so I think (Nolensville) will finish first in the district," MCHS David Steely said. "So this is just a huge win for us. Last week when we played Nolensville and Forrest ahead both games with a minute or two left to go, we didn't finish either night."
"Huge tonight that it was our night to finish out the ballgame," Steely added. "I kept telling them last week that sometimes you have to go through these (losses) to learn how to grow up and how to finish. Really, really proud of the team overall. The team did a lot of good things defensively to hold them to 30 points."
The Tigerettes have held 12 of its opponents to 32 points or less on the year, a testament to the focus on defense for the resurgent Marshall County girl's squad.
Kelsey Keiler had perhaps her finest game of the season with 21 points and Demarie Ingram added 10 points.
Hannah Davis added four points and eight rebounds and despite being held to just three-points, Leah Hollingsworth added three assists and three rebounds.
The Lady Knights were led by Grace Baird with 13 points and seven from Parker Leftwich.
"Coming into the game we knew we had to play hard because last week against (Nolensville) we didn't have Hannah and it was kind of a struggle, but we still stayed in the game," Ingram pointed out. "This week we had her back so we knew we had an added advantage and the chance to stay up at the end."
The first quarter was a scoring bout between Keiler (six points) and Baird (seven points) and the two squads headed into the second quarter locked in an 11-10 battle with the Lady Knights holding the slight lead.
Keiler added another five points in the second quarter but Hollingsworth added a huge triple to give the Tigerettes a 20-18 halftime edge.
The third quarter again belonged to Keiler as the sophomore combo guard led the Tigerettes in scoring for the third straight quarter with all the team's eight points and Marshall County went into the final period with a slight 28-25 lead.
At the 6:32 mark in the fourth quarter, Keiler went strong to the hoop for a layup to give Marshall County its biggest lead at 30-25, but Sydney Mickulin added two free throws the next possession to cut the lead back to one possession at 30-27.
The Lady Knights evened the game at 30-30 before Steely called a timeout to calm the Tigerettes down.
"That was a timeout that I was screaming about cutting out and rebounding the entire time because they were struggling to score," Steely recalled. "So if we could hold them to one shot per possession than I liked our chances."
The rest of the quarter belonged to Ingram as the junior scored six straight points to lead the Tigerettes to victory and break a two-game streak of giving up a late lead for a loss.
The Tigerettes play fifth-place Giles County (9-13, 3-6) in tonight’s senior night matchup and a win will lock up third place in the district and a home game on Monday night.
"One thing we need to do is focus on beating Giles," Ingram explained. "Then we've just got to keep practicing hard and know what we have to do going into the next game."
Marshall County 10 10 8 10-38
Nolensville 11 7 7 7-32
Marshall County (38): Kelsey Keiler 21, Demarie Ingram 10, Hannah Davis 4, Leah Hollingsworth 3.
3-Point goals (2): Hollingsworth, Keiler.
Nolensville (32): Grace Baird 13, Parker Leftwich 7, Sydney Mickulin 5, Zoe Diller 3, Addie Keen 2, Caymin Ladd 2.
3-Point goals (1): Leftwich.
Halftime Score: Marshall County 20, Nolensville 18.