MURRAY – Marshall County’s Marshals and Lady Marshals, both seeded No. 1 in the boys’ and girls’ Fourth District basketball tournament, rolled to convincing victories over fourth-seeded teams from Community Christian Academy of Paducah in the opening session of the tournament Monday night at Murray High School.
Mariah McKenty blistered the Tiger Gym nets for 31 points to lead the Lady Marshals to an 80-52 win over the Lady Warriors in the first game, while a balanced attack lifted the Marshals to an 82-49 win in the nightcap.
Both teams move on to the championship games, with the girls scheduled to play Thursday and the boys Friday.
They will meet the winners of rivalry games between Murray and Calloway County. The Lady Tigers and Lady Lakers clash tonight while the boys’ teams square off Wednesday.
All games are single-session with 6 p.m. tip-off times.
LADY MARSHALS: Coach Joseph Simmons’ team and junior guard-forward McKenty established season highs in points as they rolled to their eighth straight victory.
But CCA did not go without a fight. The Lady Warriors trailed 19-18 after a first quarter that saw four lead changes and two ties.
By that time, McKenty already had 12 points on three long-range jump shots and three of four free throws. The Lady Marshal defense took care of things from that point, limiting CCA to 34 points the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Marshall County continued to bomb the nets. McKenty hit 10 of 16 shots from the floor, including six of 10 three-pointers, and five of six from the line.
Taylor Meadows added 17 and Allie York had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Marshals are 23-8, while CCA closes its season 7-20.
MARSHALS: The Marshals struck quickly and played 32 efficient and effective minutes, scoring the first six points of the game and pulling to a 21-10 margin that continued to grow.
Cole Nelson and Austin Rentfrow led the way with 13 points apiece, Tanner Jessup came off the bench to add 12 points and Chase York had 10 for the Marshals, who improved to 28-2 with a dominant win.
Jessup led an onslaught of 37 points from coach Gus Gillespie’s bench, and 10 different players were credited with at least one of the 24 assists the team compiled. Thirteen players had rebounds as Marshall County won the battle of the boards 29-19.
Defensively, the Marshals had 13 steals to push CCA’s turnover total to 18 and Marshall County got 29 points from the errors.
TONIGHT: Murray and Calloway County are the third- and fourth-best girls’ teams in the First Region, but one of them will miss next week’s region tournament at Murray State University.
The Lady Tigers (22-7) and Lady Lakers (19-11) split in regular-season meetings, each winning on the opponent’s home court. Calloway was the No. 2 seed in the district tournament at 4-2, while Murray was 3-3.
Calloway was the only district team to hand Marshall County a setback, winning 70-59 in overtime over the visiting Lady Marshals Jan. 6.
Admission is $5 per person for each session of the five-night event. Chair seats in MHS’s Tiger Gym will be available to all spectators on a first-come, first-served basis except for sessions when Murray’s Tigers or Lady Tigers are playing. For those games, chair-seat ticket holders will have first-rights access to their seats, but will have to pay the $5 admission charge.
Look for continuing district tournament coverage all week in the online edition of the Trib, with a wrap-up of the week’s activities in the Feb. 28 print edition.