Tigers crush Lawrence County

Friday, December 14, 2018
KJ Johnson (3) heads to the rim after stealing the ball from Lawrence County’s Hayes McNutt (14).
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Marshall County Tigers completed the sweep of the season series over Lawrence County, crushing the Wildcats 78-42 Tuesday night at the Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium in Lewisburg.

“If we play like this every night, we will be a tough out,” MCHS coach Lavon King said. “Right now one of the biggest things I thought that we needed to improve on was rebounding and getting something out of our post play.”

“It’s a slow and gradual process, but we were are starting to get some dividends from our post play.”

There were four Tigers in double figures in the scoring column as 2017-2018 Class 2A Mr. Basketball KJ Johnson led the way with 19 points, while freshman Devonte Davis and sophomore Bryson Hughes had 15 points apiece, and junior Canelius Turner netted 11.

“That was one of the bright spots I liked about tonight, we had four players in double figures, so that was huge,” King said. “That lets KJ relax a little bit and not feel like everything is on his shoulders.”

Keshun Gentry ended up with eight points, Dagon Stacey and Marcellus Campbell had four points apiece, and Malik Thomison rounded out the scoring with a deuce.

Gentry opened up the game with a drive to the hoop for a basket before Johnson scored four straight on a steal and score and drive to the dish.

The Wildcats came up with six consecutive points to tie the game with the equalizer coming via a Spencer Tidwell bucket.

The Tigers took off again as they put together a 9-0 run that included a Johnson 3-pointer and a rebound and put-back by Thomison that made it 15-6 and force a Lawrence County timeout with 1:38 remaining in the first quarter.

The pendulum swung again in favor of the Wildcats, who put together a 9-2 run to get within two points at 17-15 before Johnson drained a long bomb at the buzzer for a 20-15 Marshall County lead.

Marshall County’s Canelius Turner (5) puts up a floater for two of his 11 points in the contest.

Davis opened up the scoring in period number two to give the Tigers a seven-point lead and midway through the second quarter, MCHS still led by seven at 26-19 when they went on a huge 9-0 run sparked by Turner, who started the burst with a 3-pointer and ended it on a rebound and put-back to make it a 35-19 contest.

“Canelius had a nice night, he shot the ball well, helped bring the ball down the floor, and defended well,” King said. “We just have to become consistent.”

The only saving grace for the Wildcats was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Staggs that made it a 12-point game at the intermission.

Bryson Hughes (35) had four 3-pointers in the Tigers’ big 78-42 win over Lawrence County Tuesday night at Lewisburg.

The tide turned for good in the third quarter that belonged mostly to Hughes, who nailed four 3-pointers in the period as the Tigers outscored Lawrence County 24-10 in the stanza to take an insurmountable 26-point, 59-33 lead to the fourth quarter.

If Hughes owned the third, Davis owned the fourth quarter with 13 points as he was everywhere, putting the ball in the basket any which way he could via drives to the hoops, floaters, rebounds and put-backs, and his lone 3-pointer in the game as MCHS won the period 19-9 to take the win.

“Devonte played really well, he is still learning about where he is supposed to be,” King said. “But he got a lot of rebounds and I think he finished with 14 or 15 points, so that was huge.”

The Tigers (3-7) hosted Fairview (8-1) on Thursday and travel to Columbia Central (5-4) on Monday where they hope to avenge an 80-74 loss to the Lions on November 26 at Lewisburg.

“As far as a grade, I would still say we are about a C, my expectations are pretty high,” King said. “Turnovers and rebounds and shooting percentages and stuff, that’s pretty big for me, so when I go back and look at the stats, I may change that grade a little bit, so maybe a C+.”

Lawrence County 15 8 10 9-42

Marshall County 20 15 24 19-78

Lawrence County (42): Tanner Staggs 14, Elijah Reynolds 7, Grayson Brewer 6, Kaden Vaughn 5, Spencer Tidwell 2, JD Bedford 2, Gabe Coleman 2, Alex Carr 2, Gavin Busby 2.

Three-point goals (2): Staggs 1, Vaughn 1.

Free Throws (4-for-14): Vaughn 2-for-2, Staggs 1-for-4, Reynolds 1-for-4, Brewer 0-for-2, Ty Cob 0-for-2.

Marshall County (78): KJ Johnson 19, Devonte Davis 15, Bryson Hughes 15, Canelius Turner 11, Keshun Gentry 8, Dagon Stacey 4, Marcellus Campbell 4, Malik Thomison 2.

Three-point goals (9): Hughes 4, Johnson 2, Turner 2, Davis 1.

Free Throws (7-for-14): Johnson 3-for-4, Davis 2-for-2, Turner 1-for-3, Hughes 1-for-2, Campbell 0-for-1, Gentry 0-for-2.

Halftime Score: Marshall County 35, Lawrence County 23.

Next Game: Thursday, December 13 vs. Fairview, 7:30 p.m.