By David Green
MURRAY – There aren’t many First Region teams that have turned Marshall County into the underdog in recent years.
Paducah Tilghman is one team that has, thanks largely to super-talented Chelsey Shumpert, who had never lost to a Lady Marshals team.
Until Monday night, when the Lady Tornado was shut down by a focused, determined effort that lifted Marshall County to a 64-47 victory and a return to the First Region championship game.
The opponent, same as last year, will be Fourth District rival Murray, which came from behind to beat Graves County 60-48.
Marshall County had lost home-and-home games to Tilghman this year by 13 and 12 points, with Shumpert having some of her best performances of the year.
She had another high-scoring game Monday night, hitting for a game-high 28 points.
But she had to take 23 shots to get the points, and she did not have sufficient help. Only four other players scored, none of them reaching double figures.
Marshall County got 20 points from senior Taylor Meadows and big help from many players, especially two sophomores.
Guard Bailey Greer hit 14 of 16 free throws, including 12 of 14 in the final eight minutes of play. She finished with 17 points.
Forward-center Alyssa Barnard was perfect on six shots from the floor and three free throws to add 15 more points, and had a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Marshall County took the lead on baskets inside the paint by Alex Brown and Barnard to go up 4-0 and never trailed.
Tilghman saw a 14-7 first-quarter deficit extend to 25-15 at halftime, came roaring back in the third period to close to within two points on two occasions and trailed 40-37 after 24 minutes, but stalled in the final period.
Marshall County’s defense held the Tornado to 32 percent shooting.
The Lady Marshals take a 25-9 record against Murray, which needed double overtime to win the district title 70-69.
Tilghman finishes 25-7.
Pad. Tilghman 7 15 37 47
Marshall County 14 25 40 64
TILGHMAN: Alex Kohler 9, Chelsey Shumpert 28, Karlee Humphrey 3, Joya Smith 2, Meko Buchanan 5, Mariah Donelson, Jalisa Smith, Whitney Shaw
MARSHALL CO.: Bailey Greer 17, Taylor Meadows 20, Mariah McKenty 6, Toni Fehrenbacher 2, Alex Brown 4, Melissa Ross, Rachael Reed, Alyssa Barnard 15