Tigers finish sweep over Bobcats

Friday, January 25, 2019
Canelius Turner finished with 12 points and two 3-pointers in the Tigers’ 69-51 win over Giles County Tuesday night at Lewisburg.
Tribune file photos by Anthony S. Puca

When the Giles County Bobcats come calling to Dottie Kelso Gym for a District 12-AA doubleheader clash you know the excitement builds.

The MCHS band is playing Rock ‘n Roll, the student section is full early, the

Concert Choir sings a stirring Star Spangled Banner, and the Tigerettes start the ball rolling with a win. Now it’s ShowTime!!

The Tigers did not let the crowd down as they rolled to a 69-51 victory and a regular season sweep over their archrivals from Pulaski.

Coach Billy Holt’s Bobcats (3-12, 0-4) are down this year, but where this rivalry is concerned the Bobcats will bring their best.

The Tigers (9-11, 3-1) are coming off a demoralizing loss to District 12-AA leader Nolensville, so another district loss would be serious as the Tigers head toward tournament play.

The first quarter began with Giles County controlling the tip and Dale Garrett canning a 3-pointer.

MCHS answered with a three of its own when Cornelius Turner nailed it, and it is followed by a three from Keshun Gentry, a basket by Malik Thomison, and another three by Andrew Gold.

The Tigers were rolling.

The Tigers led 11-3, but GC battled back with baskets by Garrett and Walker Dunn to close the gap.

KJ Johnson added a free-throw and then a slashing drive to the basket to score and the first quarter was over with MCHS leading 13-10.

Andrew Gold, seen here against Forrest, had two points for the Tigers versus the Bobcats Tuesday night.

The second quarter began with two more Johnson free throws, a three by Turner, and a jumper by Gold.

A technical foul was called on Giles County and as Demariae Ingram did in the girls game, Johnson walked to the line and sank the two technical foul shots and two more for being fouled on the play.

Garrett repaired some of the damage with a three, but Dagon Stacy hit a jumper and MCHS responded.

GC committed its seventh foul and for the rest of the half, MCHS was in the one-and-one.

Both teams heated up, making baskets at both ends with Johnson showing off his passing skills.

“They were focusing on me, so I tried to find my teammates, as long as we can win I will do anything to help us,” Johnson said

K.I. Zeigler scored for Giles County and after Johnson hit two more free throws, Bellafort canned a basket. Johnson hit two more free throws, but Bellefort hit back-to-back threes.

Johnson’s slashing drives were causing Giles County problems as he was fouled again and again he made two free throws and after a Josh Marshall basket, Johnson closed the quarter with a basket.

MCHS led 31-29 at the half.

“It was huge, he sees the floor so well and his teammates were ready for the passes,” MCHS coach Lavon King said about KJ Johnson’s distributing the ball to his teammates,

The Bobcats began the third quarter with an 8-0 run on two baskets by Zeigler, and one each from Bellafort and Dunn.

Giles County took the lead before MCHS battled back aided by a goaltending score, Johnson feeding Thomison for a score, and a Turner jumper.

After a three by Marshall, Johnson raced the length of the court, laying it in and Turner scored a two-pointer on a rebound.

MCHS’s lead with less than a minute left was 10 points, but Giles County answered with a basket and a free throw by J.C. Brown

The quarter ended with MCHS up 53-46.

“KJ had about 10 assists and we stepped it up in the second half,” King said.

Indeed they did as MCHS started the quarter with ball-in and Gentry nailed a three before Johnson stole a pass and scored.

Gold scored and added a free throw before Zeigler scored.

Johnson was at it again as he fed Gold for a basket then off a miss by GC, Johnson had another two-pointer as he glided along the baseline.

Turner hit a basket and at the 2:22 mark, the lead was at 17 for the Tigers.

At this point the Giles County crowd began to head for the exits and Johnson hit two more free throws after a flagrant foul on the Bobcats.

The clock wound down and the final score was, MCHS 69, GC 51.

Giles County 10 19 17 5-51

MCHS 13 18 22 16-69

Giles County (51) Oakorbiaa Bellefort 13, Z. Yarborough 9, K.I. Zeigler 8, Dale Garrett 7, Josh Marshall 5, Walker Dunn 4, J.C. Brown 3, Glen Williams 2.

3-Point Goals (7): Bellefort 3, Zeigler, Garrett, Yarborough, Marshall.

Free Throws (2-3): Brown 1-for-1, Zeigler 1-for-2.

MCHS (69): K J Johnson 25, Cornelius Turner 12 Keshun Gentry 11, Dagon Stacy 4, Malik Thomison 11, Andrew Gold 2.

3-Point Goals (4): Gentry 2, Turner 2.

Free Throws (15-24): Johnson 13-for-16. Thomison 1-for-2, Gentry 1-for-4, Hurt 0-for-2

Halftime Score: MCHS 31, Giles County 29.