MURRAY– Tory Fehrenbacher poured in 23 points to lead Marshall County to a 60-50 victory over Fourth District rival Murray Sunday afternoon, lifting the Lady Marshals to the school’s 20th First Region tournament championship and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
Fehrenbacher, one of two seniors on coach Joseph Simmons’ team, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
She was a freshman the last time the Lady Marshals won the region title, in 2009. She leads the team back to Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, where the Lady Marshals will play Second Region champion Hopkinsville at noon Thursday.
A three-point basket by Fehrenbacher put the Lady Marshals on top 9-7 with 1:21 remaining in a back-and-forth first quarter, and Marshall County never trailed again. They built a lead of as much as 12 points in the final period.
Murray, stung by a 61-60 overtime loss to the Lady Marshals in the Fourth District tournament championship game Feb. 23, saw its hopes for revenge dashed by the Lady Marshal defense.
Murray managed only 33 percent shooting from the floor, including three of 18 (16.7 percent) from outside the three-point line.
The Lady Marshals, meanwhile, showed patience and poise on offense and shot at a 44 percent clip for the game, including four of 10 (40 percent) from long range.
They also made good on 18 of 20 free throws, a 90 percent figure.
The Lady Marshals completed a sweep of four games against Murray, this one by a greater margin than the other three combined. The Lady Tigers fell 53-49 in December on their home court and dropped a 41-39 decision at Marshall County in February.
Marshall County advanced to the championship with a 52-28 win over Lone Oak in the semifinals, delayed by threatening weather from Friday to Saturday. Murray scored a decisive 77-59 win over Paducah Tilghman, rated the top team in the region, in the other semifinal game.
Taylor Meadows added 15 points for Marshall County and Mariah McKenty scored 10.
Allie York had six points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds as the Lady Marshals won the boards 32-25.
Leading scorers Janssen Starks and Haley Armstrong scored 13 points apiece for Murray, but struggled against the Lady Marshal defense. Each hit only three field goals, Starks on 13 attempts including one of eight from long range and Armstrong on 10 tries, including one of three from three-point range.
Shelby Crouch fared better percentage-wise, scoring 11 points on three-of six shooting from the floor and five-of-five from the free-throw line. Crouch also led Murray with seven rebounds.
Marshall County takes a 27-8 record into state tournament play. Murray ends its season with a 25-9 mark.
MONDAY: Boys semifinal games are on tap, with a tip-off of 6 p.m. for the first game and 7:30 for the second.
In the first game, 30-2 Marshall County meets Fulton City, 17-12, the champions of the First District and winners in the first round over Lone Oak, 58-45. The Fourth District champion Marshals dispatched Graves County 59-36 in the first round. The two teams did not play during the regular season.
Fulton City has won nine of its last 11 games, while Marshall County is on an eight-game winning streak.
The second game features a contest between two Paducah schools, Second District champion Tilghman and Third District champ St. Mary. The Vikings, 21-10, lost 55-53 at Tilghman in the one meeting between the two teams Feb. 3. They have won seven of nine games since then.
Tilghman, 17-13, has won eight of its last nine.
St. Mary defeated Carlisle County 71-49 and Tilghman came from behind to beat Calloway County 78-71 Thursday night.
The championship game is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday.