By David Green
MURRAY – Graves County ended Marshall County’s reign over the First Region, knocking the Marshals out of the First Region tournament with a 58-44 victory Tuesday night at the CFSB Center.
The Marshals had won the last two region titles and came into this year’s tourney with the best record. But they came in as a district runner-up, after losing to Calloway County last week in the Fourth District tournament championship.
Tuesday night’s game was the fourth in a row in which the team was somehow unable to execute at the level it had done all season long.
“We just struggled,” coach Gus Gillespie said. “We’ve struggled the last two games. After 26 wins and being pretty consistent, its’s hard to put a finger on why you struggle this time of year.”
Senior starters Chase Clark and Noah Steele ended their careers with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Junior Austin Rentfrow added 12 points.
Graves County’s Peyton Puckett matched Clark for game honors with 13. Tyler Starkey and Zach Kimbler had 12 points apiece for the Eagles, which improved to 24-8.
Graves moves on to a semifinal matchup on Friday with Lone Oak (15-17), a 67-33 winner over Fulton City Tuesday night. The other semifinal game will pit Calloway County (22-8) against St. Mary (19-13).
Girls first-round action gets under way tonight and continues Thursday, with all games at Racer Arena on the Murray State campus. The Lady Marshals (23-9) play Carlisle County (13-14) in the first game Thursday, followed by Paducah Tilghman (24-6) against Mayfield (17-13).
Tonight’s games will feature Graves County (16-14) against Lone Oak (23-9) at 6 p.m. and Murray (27-5) versus Hickman County (8-16).