MURRAY – Marshall County’s Lady Marshals advanced to the First Region girls basketball tournament championship with victories over Ballard Memorial Friday and Paducah Tilghman Sunday.
The semifinal victory came by a 59-53 score over a Tilghman team that finished the season 23-8, third-best record in the region but runner-up in the Second District tournament to McCracken County.
Sunday afternoon’s defeat was the third this year at the hands of Marshall County, which won 52-44 Jan. 14 at Paducah and 41-40 Jan. 31 at home. The Lady Marshals won the Fourth District championship with a 44-24 win over Murray, their opponent in Monday night’s region finale.
The Lady Marshals improved to a region-best 28-5 with the two region tournament victories.
They had to overcome a high-voltage start by the Lady Tornado, which led by as much as 6 points in the first quarter and held a 14-9 edge after that period.
But Marshall County outscored Tilghman 15-7 in the second period and took a 24-21 lead into intermission.
The Lady Marshals gained the lead for the first time on a 9-0 spurt that started with a basket and two free throws by point guard Bailey Greer. Then guard Michaela Manley took over, getting a steal and layup and then another basket plus a free throw. That made it 22-19 with 2:20 to go before halftime.
Tilghman’s Alex Kohler got a basket to cut the lead to 22-21, but Toni Fehrenbacher got her second bucket of the quarter for the 3-point halftime lead.
The Lady Marshals had another run, this one 8-0, early in the third period to go up by 9 points at 32-23 with 4:38 on the clock. But Tilghman answered with an 11-0 spurt to take a 34-32 lead with 2:50 to go in the period.
Manley got another basket to tie it at 34-all and after several scoreless possessions, Barnard scored to put Marshall County up 36-34 after three quarters. The Lady Tornado fought fiercely, but never regained the lead.
Marshall County drew away to as much as a 10-point cushion, at 55-45 with a minute to go, and survived shaky free-throw shooting down the stretch (4-of-8) in the final 50 seconds to win it.
Manley led the winners with 15 points. Barnard had 14 and Greer 12.
Pad. Tilghman 14 21 34 53
Marshall Co. 9 24 36 59
PADUCAH TILGHMAN: Mariah Donelson 3, Alex Kohler 20, Karlee Humphrey 12, Joya Smith 4, Jalisa Smith 11, Keyva Gardner, Lily Shapiro, Whitney Shaw3
MARSHALL CO.: Bailey Greer 12, Allie York 9, Toni Fehrenbacher 6, Michaela Manley 15, Alyssa Barnard 14, Nikki Fehrenbacher, Melissa Ross, Lexee Miller, Briley English 1, Josey Powell, Amanda Bailey, Hannah Langhi 2
Marshall Co. 57
Ballard Mem. 26
Marshall County fell behind Ballard Memorial 6-2 in the first 3-1/2 minutes of the game, but finished the quarter with a 14-0 run and kept stretching the lead for a businesslike first-round victory.
The Lady Marshals were led by senior forward Allie York with 15 points, junior point guard Bailey Greer with 12 and junior center-forward Alyssa Barnard with 11.
Abbi Denton had 14 points for the Lady Bombers, who finish with a 14-14 record. The two teams opened the season with a game at Ballard’s Green Palace, won by Marshall County 80-67.
York had 8 of her game-high points in the first quarter, including a pair of 3-point field goals. A basket and free throw by Barnard at the 3:01 mark broke a 6-6 tie and put Marshall County ahead to stay 9-6.
In the second period, Melissa Ross and York nailed 3-pointers and Greer scored four straight baskets to run the advantage to 34-9 with 1:40 left before intermission. Marshall County led 38-12 at the break.
The Lady Marshals finished the third period with a basket by Michaela Manley and a 3-pointer by Nikki Fehrenbacher to give Marshall County its biggest lead of the game at 55-20.
Amanda Bailey hit two free throws to give Marshall County its only points in a low-scoring final quarter.
The Lady Marshals managed only 37 percent field-goal accuracy, but 23 offensive rebounds led to 17 second-chance points. And the defense limited the Lady Bombers to only 20 percent shooting.
Ballard Mem. 6 12 20 26
Marshall Co. 16 38 55 57
BALLARD MEM.: Shelby Rollings, Abbi Denton 14, MacKenzie Blackford 1, Hailey Houston 5, Leah Shelley 3, Meghan Walker, ErinYoung 1, MacKenzie Pegram, Ashleigh Tyson, Kayto Buchanan, Jade Newton 2
MARSHALL CO: Bailey Greer 12, Allie York 15, Toni Fehrenbacher 2,Michaela Manley 5, Alyssa Barnard 11, Hannah English, Nikki Fehrenbacher 3, Paige Henson, Melissa Ross 3, Lexee Miller, Briley English, Josey Powell, Amanda Bailey 4, Miyah Davis, Hannah Langhi 2