MT. STERLING – Marshall County’s Lady Marshals came up four points short in a first-round matchup with eventual Gateway Holiday Tournament champion Boone County, then won one of two remaining games and finished sixth in the eight-team event at Montgomery County High School last week.
Sophomore Allie York scored 53 points in the three games, averaging 17.7 points per game and earning a spot on the all-tournament team. York also pulled down 24 rebounds, including nine in two games, narrowly missing a pair of double-double performances.
The Lady Marshals came from behind and took the lead from Boone County in the second half, but could not hang onto the advantage and suffered their second loss of the season 59-55 on the opening day of the tournament Wednesday.
They bounced back to take a 61-55 victory over South Oldham on Thursday, earning a spot in the fifth-place game against Madison Central. Playing their seventh game in an 11-day period, Marshall County faltered against Madison Central, which opened up a gap late in the game and won 70-52.
Marshall County closed out 2011 with a 10-3 mark and a No. 18 ranking of state teams by MaxPreps.com.
The Lady Marshals return to First Region competition tonight at Lone Oak and face a pair of Fourth District adversaries later in the week, at Calloway County on Friday and at home to Community Christian Saturday.
Lone Oak, of the Second District, is 8-5. Calloway County, the defending Fourth District and First Region champion, is 9-5, 1-0 in the district, while Community Christian is 2-6, 0-2.
The Lady Marshals are 1-0 in district play.
Boone County 59
Marshall County 55
MT. STERLING – Boone County’s Lady Rebels, led by University of Florida-bound 5-11 Sydney Moss, brought a hefty reputation and a six-game winning streak into last week’s Gateway tourney. They found all the opposition they wanted in a scrappy, determined Marshall County team in a second-round game at Montgomery County’s old gym, named the Barn.
Boone County kept threatening to pull away, but never got far enough in front to get comfortable. Time and again, Marshall County fought back to tie or take the lead, but defense dominated the last two minutes, 41 seconds of the game, with Boone getting a basket and a pair of free throws to pull away from a 55-55 tie.
Mariah McKenty scored 19 points to lead the Lady Marshals, her total surpassed only by Moss’ game-high 26. Taylor Meadows added 11 for Marshall County and Alexis Switzer and Kathleen Murphy scored 11 apiece for Boone County.
After falling behind 5-0 at the outset, the Lady Marshals battled back to tie the game with a minute to go in the first period. Meadows had three baskets, one of them from three-point range and one on a breakaway layup after a Boone County miss. The layup forged a tie at 13-13.
Marshall County trailed by four instead of two at the end of the period only because of a buzzer-beating shot by Moss, the basket giving her 10 of Boone County’s points.
In the second period, Boone opened up a seven-point lead at 22-15, only to see the Lady Marshals fight their way back into a 26-26 tie after a steal by McKenty, which led to a breakaway layup by Tory Fehrenbacher.
Shortly afterward, Fehrenbacher stole the ball and was fouled by Boone County’s Elizabeth Switzer. Fehrenbacher hit the first of two free throws for a 27-26 Marshall lead with 41.5 seconds left before intermission, but Boone County took a 29-27 lead on a three-point shot.
The teams battled on near-even terms in the third period, which ended with Marshall County ahead at 43-42 on a basket by Toni Fehrenbacher. Meadows stole the ball and had time for a heave from half-court that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Marshall County took a 54-51 lead midway in the final period on six straight points, two driving baskets by Allie York and another basket off dribble penetration by Meadows.
Boone then got two straight buckets by Moss to go back in front at 55-54. The only point the Lady Marshals could muster over the last four minutes was a free throw, the front end of a bonus chance by McKenty at the 2:41 mark.
Twice in the final 40 seconds, Moss missed the front end of bonus free throw opportunities, but the Lady Marshals could not capitalize.
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak by the Lady Marshals.
Marshall County 61
South Oldham 55
MT. STERLING – Once again going up against a highly regarded player, University of Cincinnati recruit Jasmine Whitfield, the Lady Marshals. For the second time in two days, they fell behind in the early going, and had to fight their way back.
Allie York led the Lady Marshals to victory in the Arena with 23 points, followed by Tory Fehrenbacher and Taylor Meadows with 15 apiece. Whitfield had 25, Mary Dye 12 and Emily Housley 10 for South Oldham.
The Lady Dragons were up 10-2 before Marshall fought back to trail 14-13 at the end of the opening period after a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Fehrenbacher.
The teams traded the lead twice in the second period before South Oldham went ahead 27-21 on an offensive rebound and putback by Whitfield with just over a minute left before halftime. Meadows cut the lead to 27-24 with 54 seconds on the clock and freshman Amanda Bailey made it 27-25 with one of two free throws with 30 seconds to go.
The half ended on two free throws by Whitfield and, after the buzzer, a technical foul against the Marshall County bench. That gave South Oldham a chance to add two points to their lead before the third-period clock started, but Whitfield hit only one of two.
It took almost five minutes for Marshall County to overhaul South Oldham, with York nailing a three-pointer to knot it at 32-32. Then South Oldham’s Maddie Wright and York traded baskets for a 34-34 deadlock at the 2:56 mark.
The teams swapped the lead twice more before Marshall ended the period with another buzzer-beater by Fehrenbacher, this one on a steal and layup that made it 43-42.
South Oldham tied it on a free throw by Mackenzie Beaudrie with 7:40 to go, but Meadows hit a basket, then hit one of two free throws, and Alex Brown had a putback to make it 48-43, and the lead never shrank below three points until South Oldham made it 57-55 on a basket by Housley with 49 seconds to go.
Those were the last points for South Oldham, while Marshall added four straight free throws, two by Fehrenbacher and two by York, for the final margin.
The win got the Lady Marshals back on the winning side of the ledger at 10-2, while South Oldham dropped to 7-3 with its second straight loss.
Madison Central 70
Marshall County 52
MT. STERLING – In contrast to their first two games in this tournament, Marshall County scored first and took an early lead. But the last time they were in front was early in the second period, at 24-21 on a three-point shot by Taylor Meadows.
Madison Central, despite a triple-overtime ordeal in losing to Walton-Verona and a heart-stopping 54-53 win over Bryan Station in its first two games, proved to have the talent and the stamina to pull away over the final 20 minutes of the game.
The Lady Marshals trailed by eight, 32-24, at halftime. The lead hovered around 10 until 1:32 was left on the third-period clock. After that, the lead grew to as much as 19 and never fell below double-figures the rest of the way.
Allie York’s 21 points paced Marshall County. Meadows’ nine points were the most by any other Lady Marshal.
Madison Central got 24 from Larryn Brooks, 12 from Kristen Congleton and 10 from Ashley Hinkle to claim fifth place in the tourney and improve to 8-3.
The Lady Marshals managed only 26 percent, hitting 13 of 50 field goal attempts, and were outrebounded 43-30.