Tigerettes down Lady Rebels, advance to region title game
The Marshall County Tigerettes punched a ticket to the Region 6-AA Tournament title game Thursday night as they built a huge lead then held on for a 47-38 semifinal win over Stewart County Tuesday night at East Hickman High School.
“We got through it,” MCHS coach David Steely said. “This time of year there is not but 32 teams left going in to tonight and most teams will make a run on you.”
The Tigerettes had nice balance on offense as Kelsey Keiler led the way with 13 points and a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the free throw line.
Dionna Crutcher was also in double figures with 10 points, Demariae Ingram and Hannah Davis added nine points apiece, and Karlye Wiser and Sydney Tidwell banged home one 3-pointer apiece.
“We could have played a little better, but we responded well,” Steely said. “We made some baskets, settled down and did some good things and finished it off at the free throw line.”
On defense, the Tigerettes held the Lady Rebels to 10 first half points, including a goose egg in the second period.
Marshall County struggled to get some offense moving as Stewart County took a 10-9 lead to the second period.
Davis tied the game with one free throw before Ingram drove to the dish and was fouled.
Ingram nailed one free throw to give the Tigerettes a lead they would never surrender.
After a Stewart County turnover, Ingram found Davis on a nice fast break basket and with 1:52 remaining in the second period, Keiler nailed two free throws to make it a 15-10 contest.
Marshall County inflicted some serious late first half damage when Keiler converted a three-point play before a Stewart County turnover led to a Tidwell 3-pointer from the corner and the half ended on an Ingram drive to bucket that gave the Tigerettes a 23-10 lead at the intermission.
Holli Shepard hit a 3-pointer to start the second half for Stewart County before Keiler and Wiser dropped a pair of bombs for the Tigerettes.
Back-to-back Lady Rebel turnovers led to a Keiler field goal and a Crutcher 3-pointer as Marshall County built a seemingly comfortable 31-13 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Lady Rebels knew their season would be over if the runaway train was not slowed down and they stormed back via a 16-3 run for the remainder of third quarter and trailed by just five points at 34-29, entering the fourth period.
“We had a bad spurt, missed some shots and took some shots we shouldn’t have,” Steely said about the Stewart County comeback. “I’ve seen them play on five or six films and they just play hard and relentless and I knew their adjustment was going to be more physical, play harder, and get after us more.”
Britni Rowlett scored for the Lady Rebels to start the fourth quarter, cutting the Marshall County lead to three points and they got the ball back on a Marshall County turnover, but were unable to convert after a three-second call on offense.
Davis took a pass from Keiler and converted in the low post, but Kyanne Crockarell matched the basket for Stewart County.
Crutcher made one free throw after coming up with a tough rebound to make it a four-point game and after a Stewart County missed field goal, Ingram came up huge when she drove to the dish and converted a three-point play to give Marshall County some breathing room at 40-33 with 3:33 left in the contest.
“Overall we ended up settling back down and you make a couple and that lead goes back to six or eight and you look up there and we are up six with four minutes and you say ok let’s go, we can do this,” Steely said. “We finally figured out once it got down to two or three minutes that we really didn’t have to shoot and we could pull it out, hold it and run the clock and get to the free throw line and we did a good job with that.”
Shepard threw in runner off the glass to make it a five-point game before the Tigerettes did indeed seal the deal from the free throw line as they made 7-of-8 down the stretch with Keiler going 4-for-4, Crutcher 2-for-2, and Ingram 1-for-2.
The Tigerettes (24-7) will play in their second consecutive region championship game when they take on Creekwood (24-6), who pulled off a big 50-46 win over the defending region champion Nolensville Lady Knights (23-7).
“I’m just proud, this puts us back in the region finals and back in the sub-state, but we want to be region champs this year and we are going to try to get that Thursday night.” Steely said. “Nolensville’s a great team, they just met another great team tonight.”
“Creekwood shot the ball real well, you can see they have a couple of shooters and another little guard that’s really good with the ball, so it’s gonna be a tough game and we will have to be ready and hopefully we can play some tough defense on them too.”
Both of Thursday night’s championship game participants also earned a berth in a state sectional game on Saturday night with the Region 6-AA champion hosting the Region 5-AA runnerup, while the 6-AA runnerup goes on the road to the 5-AA winner.
“That home sub-state game is huge, just getting to play at home again, but it means you get the other region’s number two team instead of the number one team and that’s a big deal too.”
“And you’re region champs so it’s always nice to win a tournament and I think we have a good chance, we just have to go out and do it.”
Cheatham County (26-3) and East Nashville (27-3) continue their rivalry tonight at Greenbrier High School as they meet for the third time in four years for the Region 5-AA championship.
The Lady Cubs have won two region titles in a row and beat the Tigerettes 57-39 in a state sectional game at Ashland City last year.
Stewart County 10 0 19 9-38
Marshall County 9 14 11 13-47
Stewart County (38): Holi Shepard 9, Carissa Dill 9, Kyanne Crockarell 6, Britni Rowlett, Makenzie Smith 3, Tori Hale 3, Kaitlin Bramlett 2.
3-Point Goals (7): Dill 3, Shepard 2, Smith, Hale.
Free Throws (): Shepard 1-for-4, Crockarell 0-for-1.
Marshall County (47): Kelsey Keiler 13, Dionna Crutcher 10, Demariae Ingram 9, Hannah Davis 9, Karlye Wiser 3, Sydney Tidwell 3.
3-Points Goals (4): Crutcher 2, Wiser, Tidwell.
Free Throws (17-for-22): Keiler 7-for-7, Crutcher 4-for-6, Ingram 3-for-5, Davis 3-for-4.
Halftime Score: Marshall County 23, Stewart County 10.