DRAFFENVILLE – Marshall County, which opened the season with a 10-game winning streak, won three games last week to stretch a new streak to four in a row, but not without a serious scare.
Unheralded Lone Oak fought to the last second on its Robinson Gymnasium home court before falling 50-48 Tuesday.
The Marshals regained stride and won easily in a pair of Fourth District games Friday and Saturday over Calloway County and Community Christian.
They will take a 14-1 record and top-20 statewide ranking (12th according to MaxPreps.com, 17th in the first Litkenhous Ratings of the season) into a matchup with Paducah Tilghman tonight in Tornado Alley, the nickname for the Blue Tornado’s Otis Dinning Gymnasium.
Tilghman is 6-6, but is always a dangerous opponent. Marshall County won two of three games in the rivalry last year, losing at Tilghman but winning at home and in the First Region championship game at Murray State University’s CFSB Center to earn a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
On Friday, the Marshals are back home against Graves County, which defeated Tilghman 65-61 Saturday night at Paducah. Tonight’s game and Friday’s contest will be the nightcaps of girls-boys doubleheaders, both starting at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Crittenden County’s Rockets will visit Reed Conder Gymnasium for a game that has been recently added to the Marshals’ schedule to make up for a game earlier this year against Fulton County that was canceled.
Marshall County 50
Lone Oak 48
LONE OAK – After jumping out to a 9-0 lead, Marshall County had to fight for a hotly contested win.
Marshall County’s Austin Rentfrow intercepted an inbounds pass with 3.4 seconds left on the clock and the Marshals clinging to a 49-48 lead.
Chase York hit the second of two free throws to make it a two-point lead, giving Lone Oak one last desperation try with 0.6 showing.
Clark had a layup and a pair of free throws to stake Marshall to a 48-45 at the 49.5-second mark.
But Kam Chumbler nailed his fifth three-point shot of the night to tie it at 48 and set up the frantic conclusion.
Clark led the Marshals with 26 points Cole Nelson added 11, while Chumbler led Lone Oak with 19.
The loss left the Oakers at 7-8 overall.
Marshall County 72
Calloway County 42
MURRAY – Marshall County, showing no residual effects of the lackluster performance and close call three nights earlier at Lone Oak, roared to an easy win at Calloway County’s Jeffrey Gymnasium Friday.
The Marshals responded to coach Gus Gillespie’s criticism of one-on-one play, evidenced by only three assists at Lone Oak, by recording 20 assists on 29 field goals against Calloway.
The assists included highlight-reel plays such as a between-the-legs bounce pass from Cole Nelson to Chase York and a nifty behind-the-back bullet from Peter Northcutt to Dalton McCoy.
The defensive effort was noteworthy as well, with Calloway handcuffed to an icy 12.5 percent shooting on two of 16 attempts in the first half. The Marshals also pilfered 14 steals, with Chase Clark responsible for four of them.
The Marshals led all the way, running away from a 3-2 advantage to an 18-7 lead after the first eight minutes and never looking back at the Lakers, who slipped to 5-8 with the loss.
Clark led the Marshals with 17 points, followed by Rentfrow with 12 and York with 10. Nelson led the team with five assists.
Skylar Hunter and Jay Green paced the Lakers with 16 and 10 points.
Marshall County 81
Comm. Christian 46
DRAFFENVILLE – A second straight Fourth District victory came at the expense of Community Christian Saturday at Reed Conder Gymnasium, as the Marshals’ loose, relaxed style carried over from Friday night’s win over Calloway County.
Marshall County raced out to a 26-16 lead on a three-point shot by Peter Northcutt, a basket inside by Cole Nelson and a steal and layup by Chase Buchanan as the second period unfolded.
The Warriors cut the lead to as little as four points before MC pulled out to a 10-point halftime lead at 42-32, and only once was the lead smaller than double figures the rest of the way.
Nelson had a season-high 26 points to lead the Marshals, followed by Northcutt with 18 on seven-of-nine shooting, including three of four from three-point range. Chase Clark and Chase York added 11 points apiece.
Austin Rentfrow pulled down 16 rebounds, including 11 on the defensive boards.