MURRAY – Marshall County completed a sweep of First Region basketball titles with a 58-52 win over Paducah Tilghman in the boys’ championship game Tuesday night at the CFSB Center.
The Lady Marshals won the girls’ title Sunday afternoon, 60-50 over Murray.
The boys’ game was a rematch of last year’s final, when the Marshals staged a second-half rally to defeat Tilghman 62-56.
Chase Buchanan led the Marshals with 13 points, followed by Chase Clark and Chase York with 12 apiece.
Cody Schultz took game scoring honors for Tilghman with 22, including five-of-nine shooting from long range. J.D. Harmon added 15.
Tilghman never led in the game. The Blue Tornado tied the game at 6-6 on back-to-back three-point shots by Michael Smith and Schultz in the first quarter, but J.D. Harmon misfired on two free-throw attempts at the 4:21 mark that would have put Tilghman in front.
Instead, Marshall got baskets from York and Clark and led 10-8 at the first quarter stop after Harmon got his first basket for Tilghman.
The made threes, the missed free throws and the resolute Marshall County defense and dominant rebounding summarized the game in a nutshell.
Tilghman out-shot the Marshals, especially from outside the arc, where they hit eight of 19 for 42 percent. Overall, they were good on 20 of 47 shots for 42.6 percent.
The shots were contested ones that went down or three-pointers that were launched from extreme long range, such as one from nearly 30 feet that reserve guard Olajuwon Harmon nailed.
The Marshals clamped down in the second period, giving up no three-pointers, but J.D. Harmon battled for seven points inside the paint. Still, Marshall County built a 26-17 halftime lead.
The advantage grew to as much as 13 points in the third quarter, at 38-25 on an offensive rebound and putback by York.
It was reminiscent of last year’s game, when it was Tilghman that built a double-digits lead after halftime – and, like Marshall did last year, Tilghman staged a rally, trimming the gap to six at 43-37 after three quarters.
Then, Schultz’s third three-pointer of the game cut the lead to 43-40 with 7:29 left on the clock.
But Marshall put down the rally with a 6-0 surge, getting two free throws from Buchanan, a three-pointer by Peter Northcutt and one of two free throws by Buchanan that pushed the advantage to 49-40 at the 4:49 mark.
The Marshals, a 68 percent team from the free-throw line, struggled down the stretch, hitting only five of 10 in the last 1:16. But that was more than enough to hold the lead. One of two free throws by Austin Rentfrow at the 17-second mark made it 58-49, and Schultz’s final three-pointer made it a six-point margin of victory.
The Marshals won 62-56 last year and then defeated Bell County 55-33 in the first round of the state tournament before falling to Bullitt East 71-62 in the quarterfinals.
This year’s opponent is Scott County. The 11th Region champions are 31-4.
The Marshals’ 32-2 record has clinched the school record for most victories and fewest losses in a season. The region title is the sixth.
It’s the first time Marshall County has won consecutive region championships since the three-peat teams of 1987-88-89, and the first time both the girls and boys have gone to state since 1989.