MURRAY – Defense and toughness, both mental and physical, are formidable weapons. Marshall County’s Lady Marshals made good use of both in posting three wins last week.
The third one was especially sweet, a 53-49 win over Fourth District rival Murray. The Lady Tigers knocked Marshall County out of last year’s district tournament, ending their season prior to the regional tourney.
After a 1-1 start to the season in a pair of games during the Hoop Fest, the Lady Marshals now have a four-game winning streak and a 5-1 record
Murray won two of three games against the Lady Marshals last year, including a first-round district tournament game that ended Marshall County’s season.
Coach Joseph Simmons’ team also turned back Massac County of Metropolis, Ill., 52-37 on Monday and Carlisle County 68-40 in the first game of a boys-girls doubleheader Tuesday.
The Lady Marshals are in action this week in the Marshall County Christmas Tournament at Reed Conder Gymnasium.
Play began Monday with three games, including Lyon County versus Covington, Tenn.; Union County versus Apollo; and Pleasure Ridge Park versus Marshall County.
Next week, the Lady Marshals will compete in the Gateway Holiday Tournament, hosted by Montgomery County High School in Mt. Sterling.
Marshall County 52
Massac County 37
DRAFFENVILLE – The Lady Marshals traded the lead with the Lady Patriots in the first six minutes of the game and then clamped down defensively to pull away for the win. Massac went scoreless for a stretch of eight minutes while Marshall roared from a 6-6 tie to a 16-6 lead.
The Lady Marshals used that stretch to extend an 8-6 first-quarter lead to a 25-14 advantage at halftime. The lead never fell below six points the rest of the way, with Marshall finishing with an 11-5 advantage in the fourth quarter. The final margin was the largest gap in the score.
The loss was the fourth of the year for Massac against eight victories.
Taylor Meadows led a balanced scoring attack with 11 points. She was the only one in double figures, but Mariah McKenty and Allie York had nine points apiece and freshman Alyssa Barnard came off the bench to score eight.
Kristina Henley led Massac with 11 points.
Marshall County 68
Carlisle County 40
DRAFFENVILLE – The Lady Marshals used early defensive pressure for the second night in a row to shut down Carlisle County. In addition, they parlayed hot shooting, including a pair of three-point baskets by Taylor Meadows, to take control early.
Marshall went ahead 5-4 with 5 minutes to go on a basket by Alex Brown in the first quarter and held the Lady Comets scoreless until the final 1:17 of the period. The 15-0 spurt helped propel the Lady Marshals to a 206 lead at the first quarter stop and they pulled away for an easy win.
Meadows led the scoring with 20, hitting three of four shots from long distance. Allie York added 12 points and eight rebounds. Alyssa Barnard had her second straight impressive game, scoring eight points and pulling down eight rebounds in a reserve performance.
Point guard Tory Fehrenbacher had eight points and led the team with three assists and four steals.
Carlisle dropped to 4-2, but added a victory later in the week to move into a logjam of teams with 5-2 records in pursuit of the Lady Marshals.
Marshall County 53
MURRAY – The defensive pressure paid off in the late stages of a closely fought game at Murray’s Tiger Gym Friday, as the Lady Marshals fought back from an early deficit to win their district opener.
Marshall County snapped a 36-36 tie by scoring the first six points of the fourth period, then maintained their composure and hit free throws down the stretch to secure a big victory. After falling behind 43-36, Murray never got closer than two points.
The Lady Marshals were good on eight of 10 free throws in the final period and 17 of 21 for the game. The Lady Tigers managed only three of seven from the free-throw line down the stretch and were six of 11 for the game.
“If we don’t make our free throws down the stretch, we don’t win that game,” coach Joseph Simmons said.
Tory Fehrenbacher hit eight of 10 in the fourth quarter and was nine of 11 for the game to lead Marshall County with 13 points. Taylor Meadows added 12, Mariah McKenty 11 and Allie York 10.
Fehrenbacher noted that the Lady Marshals had struggled at the line. They hit only 10 of 27 against Massac County and four of 11 against Carlisle County.
“One practice, all we did was shoot 200 free throws in one day,” she said. “Once they started fouling us and we started hitting those free throws, I think we just relaxed.”
The Lady Marshals took an early lead, but Murray scored the last five points of the first period to go on top 9-8 at the end of the first period.
They held the lead until McKenty nailed a three-pointer at the 2:14 mark of the second period, putting Marshall on top 19-18, but once again the Lady Tigers closed out the period with a scoring spurt that put them ahead 25-19 at halftime.
“Last year, we were behind at halftime and I think we were rattled,” Simmons said, referring to the Lady Marshals’ 52-47 district tournament loss to Murray.
“This year, we got behind and it was because of stuff we had done. We had given up easy baskets and we weren’t attacking them on offense.
“We addressed that at halftime, and I think the girls came out and responded, and the more shots we started making and the more stops we started getting, we just fed off that. That was key.”