Tigerettes’ magical season ends at Cheatham County

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Marshall County senior Alli Hobbs runs out for the last time in a Tigerette uniform at Cheatham County Saturday night.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigerettes’ rejuvenation was a great sight to see this season as the four-time state champions posted a solid 22-9 record and advanced to a TSSAA state sectional game for the first time in a decade.

Although the Tigerettes lost 57-39 at Cheatham County Saturday night, Marshall County exceeded expectations this season and are well on the way of returning to past glories.

“After the game I told them I love them and I’m proud of them,” Marshall County coach David Steely said. “I told them we lost by nine each half, they didn’t come in here and run us out of the gym, I know it was eighteen at the end, but they didn’t run us out of the gym in the first half.”

“We belong in this environment and I expect to get back to this environment.”

Senior Leah Hollingsworth finished her stellar Tigerettes’ career with 13 points and three 3-pointers.

Three-sport Tigerette standout senior Leah Hollingsworth scored a team-high 13 points in her last game of her stellar basketball career, including three 3-pointers.

Kelsey Keiler added nine points, Demariae Ingram and Claire Woods had six points apiece, and Hannah Davis netted five.

Steely talked about his three graduating seniors in Hollingsworth, Hobbs, and Kiara Esparza.

“I can’t say enough about my seniors Kiara, Leah, and Alli,” Steely said. “I tell them all the time as a team---you win with good people and my seniors are good people and they are great leaders.”

“Leah is one of the best shooters ever at this school and a really good player, and Ali goes out in style with her as a girl that took her role and did her very best and became a solid high school basketball player within her role by being coachable and working hard.”

“That’s what you build a basketball program around and then you add in in a few more special people---they’re just all winners.”

The Lady Cubs had three players in double figures with Abbi Douglas leading the way with 14 points, while Emmy Nelson had 13 and Eryn Nelson scored 11.

Jordan Bumpas scored eight and Rachel Pullen and Ali Douglas had five markers apiece.

Kelsey Keiler drives to the basket for two points in the second quarter, pulling the Tigerettes to within three points at 16-13.

Cheatham County came out on fire inside the Pat Head Summitt Memorial Gymnasium at Ashland City, pouncing on the Tigerettes with 10 straight points to start the game and held MCHS scoreless until Claire Woods nailed a 3-pointer for Marshall County at the 3:50 mark of the first quarter.

Turnovers hurt Marshall County the entire game and Emmy Nelson made it 12-3 with a swipe and score, but the Tigerettes did not give in as the went on a 6-0 run to end the period, trailing by just three points in the loud, boisterous environment.

Another Emmy Nelson steal and score kicked off the second quarter as the Lady Cubs led by as many as six points before Marshall County came back again, eventually slicing the deficit to two points on a Hollingsworth 3-pointer late in the period to make it 24-22.

Just like at the end of the first quarter, Cheatham County finished the first half with a 7-0 run and led 31-22 at the intermission.

Freshman Claire Woods (13) bangs home a fourth quarter 3-pointer for Marshall County.

“We made a good response there after we adjusted to their press and it went 10-0 and we came back, got it to two or three and played the rest of the half until they made a 4-0 run the last minute or so of the first half,” Steely said. “That doesn’t sound like much, but when it goes from five to nine in this environment, it is a big deal.”

The Region 5-AA regular season and tournament champs increased its lead to as many as 14 points in the third quarter before settling for an 11-point, 41-30 lead entering the final eight minutes.

Marshall County held the Lady Cubs scoreless the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, but could only manage one point during the defensive stand and from then on it was all Cheatham County.

The Marshall County cheerleaders kept the Tigerettes’ fans going at Ashland City Saturday night.

“This is part of the process, it really is,” Steely said. “This is the environment we wanted to be in, we had to see this and feel their pressure, and we have to get used to this because this is a team we will have to beat next year.”

“I love my team, I’m proud of them and we are going to get back to work here pretty soon and get ready to go again.”

The Lady Cubs (28-1) open up the Class AA State Tournament at Middle Tennessee State University on Thursday with a quarterfinal game versus Macon County (28-6).

Region 6-AA is not represented at the state tournament as region tournament champs Nolensville lost 48-43 to East Nashville at home on Saturday.

East Nashville (28-8) opens up state tournament play on Thursday in a titanic battle against the number-one ranked and undefeated Upperman Lady Bees (34-0).

Marshall County 9 13 8 9-39

Cheatham County 12 19 10 16-57

Marshall County (39): Leah Hollingsworth 13, Kelsey Keiler 9, Demariae Ingram 6, Claire Woods 6, Hannah Davis 5.

Free Throws (8-for-17): Keiler 5-for-8, Ingram 2-for-4, Davis 1-for-2, Alli Hobbs 0-for-2, Hollingsworth 0-for-1.

3-Point goals (5): Hollingsworth 3, Woods 2.

Cheatham County (57): Abbi Douglas 14, Emmy Nelson 13, Eryn Nelson 11, Jordan Bumpas 8, Rachel Pullen 5, Ali Douglas 5.

Free Throws (11-for-16): Emmy Nelson 7-for-9, Abbi Douglas 2-for-2, Erin Nelson 1-for-3, Ali Douglas 1-for-2.

Halftime Score: Cheatham County 31, Marshall County 22.