Westview ends Tigerettes’ magical ride
The Marshall County Tigerettes could not sustain their postseason magic in Friday’s TSSAA Class 2A BlueCross Basketball Championship semifinal, suffering a tough, season-ending 46-37 loss to Westview at the Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center on the campus of MTSU in Murfreesboro.
“They are one of the elite programs in Tennessee and I think we are getting to that point,” MCHS coach David Steely said. “We were ahead at the half, we were right in the game in the state semifinals, so I’m proud of the girls.”
The Tigerettes finished the season with a 27-8 record, while Westview (31-6) had its 18-game winning streak snapped via a 43-40 loss to Cheatham County (31-3) in the Class 2A title game on Saturday.
The Cheatham County win marked the first state title for the Lady Cubs from Ashland City.
The Tigerettes have won state titles in 1972, 76, 1980, 2008, and posted a runner-up finish in 2007. Westview’s only state title came in 1996.
It was a game of twists and turns versus Westview as Avery Leyhue hit a 3-pointer to start the game before Dionna Crutcher matched the long bomb for the Tigerettes.
Crutcher’s 3-pointer was the only one Marshall County made in the contest as they went on to miss their next 11 attempts from beyond the arc.
Westview went 7-for-17 from 3-point land with Alexis Callins nailing three long bombs as she led all scorers in the game with 14 points.
Kelsey Keiler had a productive offensive game, leading the Tigerettes in the scoring column with 13 points and shooting a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line, while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Marshall County’s only first quarter lead came with 1:31 left in the period on a Hannah Davis bucket off a Keiler assist to make it 12-11 before Callins drilled a 3-pointer to seesaw the Lady Chargers back in front.
The second quarter belonged to the Tigerettes as Demariae Ingram, Crutcher, and Keiler all scored in succession to give Marshall County an 18-14 lead.
Zanasha Gadlen hit a 3-pointer for Westview with five minutes left in the first half, but Keiler scored the next four points on a layup and two free throws to give the Tigerettes a five-point lead.
One Sydney Tidwell free throw also put MCHS up by five points later in the period before Westview cut the lead to three points at 26-23 at the intermission.
Westview’s post player Raegan Johnson, who was held to a single made free throw in the first half, went to work in the paint in the third quarter as she scored eight out of her 12 points in the game in the stanza.
“They did run a nice set there to start the second half and they ran it again later that we had not seen on film to get her the ball and it worked for them,” Steely said. “She is a big girl and she is hard to stop, we were doing all we could, but they do also have some shooters out there.”
“They did come out in the third quarter with a definite effort of coming inside and getting her some easy ones and I wish we could go back and replay those few minutes, but we had our chances, we were there the start of the fourth quarter when it was a four-point game and it was still anybody’s game.”
Meanwhile, the Tigerettes went ice cold from the field, making just 2-of-8 field goal attempts and zero out of three from 3-point range.
The low offensive output put the Tigerettes behind by four points at 34-30, entering the fourth period.
Johnson kept working in the paint as she scored four straight to start the fourth period with the Tigerettes playing catch-up as Westview held Lewisburg scoreless for the first four minutes and led 38-30.
“It comes down to that last quarter, it was a four-point game and somebody is gonna make a few more plays or a shot or two and we just needed a stop or two or a basket or two and we would have been right there, it just didn’t happen tonight,” Steely said. “We have been on a nice run where it has happened several times, but it just didn’t happen tonight.”
A Keiler three-point play the old-fashioned way made if a five-point game with 2:30 left in the contest and an Ingram bucket with a minute to go kept the Tigerettes within striking distance at 42-37 before Westview ended the game with a four-of-five performance from the free throw line to claim the spot in the title game.
“After going to the sub-state last year we all thought if we kept playing the right way we had a chance to go to the state tournament,” Steely said. “We came over here and won a game, got to the semifinals, went toe-to-toe with Westview, who is an elite team and here all the time, so it’s where we want to be.”
“It makes it hurt that much worse, but that’s part of it and it’s supposed to mean that much to you when you have invested four years, three years, or whatever year you are, you plan your whole life around it.”
All four of Marshall County’s state championships have come in leap years and that bodes well for the Tigerettes as 2020 is a leap year as well.
“I have always told them since day one three years ago you win with good people and I think I have a lot of good girls, good people, that are willing to do what it takes to win and we have established now sub-state, state semifinals and that’s where we want to stay as a program,” Steely said.
Four out the five starters return for Marshall County with Ingram the lone graduating starter, along with reserve Kimberlyn Greer.
“I’m really proud to be a Tigerette, seeing everybody progress throughout the years and everyone getting better, it was just great to be a part of,” Ingram said.
Westview 14 9 11 12-46
Marshall County 12 14 4 7-37
Westview (46): Alexis Callins 14, Raegan Johnson 12, Zanasha Gadlen 8, Avery Leyhue 7, Tiara Yancey 5.
3-Point Goals (7-for-17): Callins 3, Gadlen 2, Leyhue 2.
Free Throws (11-for-14): Yancey 3-for-4, Callins 3-for-3, Gadlen 2-for-3, Johnson 2-for-2, Leyhue 1-for-2.
Rebounds (24): Johnson 9, Leyhue 4, Yancey 3, Blaine McDonald 3, Callins 2, Gadlen 1, Brace Hamrick 1.
Assists (9): Gadlen 3, Leyhue 3, Callins, Yancey, McDonald.
Marshall County (39): Kelsey Keiler 13, Demariae Ingram 9, Dionna Crutcher 7, Hannah Davis 7, Sydney Tidwell 1.
3-Point Goals (1-for-12): Crutcher 1-for-6, Karlye Wiser 0-for-3, Keiler 0-for-2, Tidwell 0-for-1.
Free Throws (12-for-15): Keiler 9-for-9, Ingram 1-for-2, Davis 1-for-2, Tidwell 1-for-2.
Rebounds (21): Ingram 8, Keiler 7, Crutcher 2, Wiser, Davis.
Assists (5): Keiler 3, Wiser, Crutcher.
Halftime Score: Marshall County 26, Westview 23.