By David Green
Murray has the top record among First Region girls basketball teams, but considering a 67-45 loss at Paducah Tilghman in December in their only meeting against the Lady Tornado, they may not be the region’s best team.
The Lady Tigers are a perfect 7-0 in Fourth District play and have clinched top seed in the district tournament, but their hold on the top spot in the four-team district may be a little tenuous as well.
Marshall County, which fell by 13 points to Murray in an earlier meeting on the Lady Marshals’ home court, took the fight to the Lady Tigers Saturday night before bowing 57-55 Saturday night at Tiger Gym.
The loss completed a 1-1 week for Marshall County, which held off a determined Graves County team on Tuesday and won 56-52. The Lady Marshals are 18-8 overall and are 2-2 in Fourth District play.
The Marshals will fight for the No. 2 seed in the district tournament this week with a pair of league games. Community Christian visits Tuesday night and the Lady Marshals travel to Calloway County Friday. If they win both games, they will close regular-season play second to Murray.
A win against CCA and a loss to Calloway would result in a tie and a coin toss for the No. 2 seed.
But the matter is largely academic. Murray has clinched the top seed and will play CCA, 6-14 and 1-6, in the first round of the tournament.
Marshall County has a 65-54 win over the Lady Lakers Jan. 4.
The Lady Marshals are at St. Mary on Saturday night and have one more game after that, Feb. 12 at Ballard Memorial, to finish the regular season.
Marshall Co. 55
Solid shooting and even better defense gave the Lady Marshals an opportunity to avoid a two-game sweep by Murray.
The teams were tied 23-23 at halftime and the Lady Marshals outscored Murray 12-7 in the first four minutes of the third quarter to build a 35-30 lead. But Murray ran off 11 unanswered points to take a 41-35 lead after three periods.
Marshall County’s Taylor Meadows scored nine of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Lady Marshals fought their way back into contention. A basket by Mariah McKenty tied it at 51-51 with 2:06 to play, and a second straight bucket by McKenty gave Marshall County a 53-51 lead.
Murray answered with baskets by Janssen Starks and Hannah Clark.
The Lady Marshals had two good looks at the basket by their top scorers, Taylor and McKenty, but the shots did not go in. Then two free throws by Starks made it 57-53 with only 10.4 seconds to play.
Bailey Greer scored to make it 57-55 with just 3.4 seconds left, and the Marshals fouled Julie Thiede. She missed the front end of the bonus free throw with 2.9 ticks left, but Murray’s Kalai Trice rebounded and the clock ran out.
McKenty added 14 points to the Lady Marshall attack and held the high-scoring Starks to 17 points, roughly half her average of 30-plus per game.
Marshall Co. 8 23 35 55
Murray 8 23 41 57
MARSHALL CO.: Bailey Greer 8, Taylor Meadows 23, Mariah McKenty 14, Toni Fehrenbacher, Alex Brown 6, Amanda Bailey, Rachael Reed, Alyssa Barnard 4
MURRAY: Kalai Trice 14, Macey Turley 2, Janssen Starks 17, Maddie Waldrop 6, Kayleigh House, Julie Thiede 8, Lilly Ramey, Elizabeth Grogan 8, Hannah Clark 2
Marshal Co. 56,
Graves Co. 52
An 18-point lead at the end of the third quarter melted away under a Graves County assault that saw the Lady Eagles outscore the Lady Marshals 19-4 over the final four minutes of the game.
The lead shrank to 54-52 with 15 seconds to go, but the only points after that were free throws by Taylor Meadows and Mariah McKenty, who each hit one of two in the final nine seconds.
Meadows, who earlier in the evening was crowned Homecoming Queen, hit for 24 points. Alex Brown added 12.
Bailey Hawkins led the Lady Eagles with 17.
Graves Co. 13 19 23 52
Marshall Co. 9 28 41 56
GRAVES CO.: Gracie Martin 8, Bethany Cartwright 11, Taylor West 9, Tori Wiggins, Bailey Hawkins 17, Erika Kelley, Emily Whitnell, Carley Clymer, Lindsey Barton 7
MARSHALL CO.: Bailey Greer 6, Taylor Meadows 24, Mariah McKenty 6, Toni Fehrenbacher 4, Alex Brown 12, Ross, Michaela Manley, Amanda Bailey, Rachael Reed 4, Alyssa Barnard