MURRAY – A so-so season turned into a solid one before coming to an abrupt, heartbreaking end for the Marshall County Marshals.
Kam Chumbler hit a driving shot with less than 2 seconds to go in overtime to give McCracken County a 43-41 win March 11 over the Marshals, who were trying to get back to the Sweet Sixteen for the third time in four years.
Chumbler’s shot ended that dream and a nine-game winning streak that carried Marshall County from a mediocre 14-10 to Fourth District champions, region finalists and a 23-11 record, third best in the region and much better than most pundits had predicted for coach Gus Gillespie’s 10th Marshall County team.
Junior forward Mason Wooten had a game-high 21 points, closing out an outstanding second half of the season and giving Wooten a 12.8 points-per-game average for the year.
Austin Rentfrow finished his senior season with a 12-point, 20-rebound performance. The 6-7 center equaled a school record with the 20 rebounds, joining Terry Birdsong (1986-87), Dan Hall (1988-89) and Stephen Atkinson (2009-10).
Rentfrow averaged a double-double for the season at 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He also moved into sixth place on the MCHS career scoring list with 1,365 points, moving ahead of Birdsong, who totaled 1,328 for his career, and Travis Spiceland, who had 1,330.
McCracken took the early lead in the extra period, and the Marshals went up 41-40 on a free throw by Wooten with 1:29 left.
Chumbler tied it with a charity shot at 1:19, and the two teams butted at each other until Caleb Stonechipher came up with a steal with about 20 seconds remaining. McCracken brought the ball downcourt and Chumbler drove for the winning basket as time ran out.
Rentfrow got 4 of the Marshals’ first 7 points. His tip-in at 3:59 made it 7-5, but on the next two possessions, he picked up two quick fouls – a block and a charge – and went to the bench with 3:12 left on the clock.
Wooten had two baskets to lift the Marshals to an 11-8 first quarter lead.
The two teams battled on near-equal terms in the second quarter and Marshall County took an 18-16 lead on a basket by Wooten with 7.6 seconds left before halftime.
McCracken took a 1-point lead after three quarters, but Marshall County, with Rentfrow and Wooten providing the punch, opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run and built a 7-point lead at 32-25 with 4:57 left in regulation.
The Mustangs scrapped back into it and forged a 38-38 tie on Jared Burnett’s basket with 12.2 seconds left in regulation.
Marshal had a chance to win it in the final seconds, as Wooten drove to the basket. Burnett tried to draw a charge but there was no whistle, and after the collision between the two players, Wooten’s shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
There were eight lead changes and 11 ties, including three lead changes and two ties in the extra period.
The two schools met twice during the regular season, with McCracken winning 64-56 on its home court Dec. 13 and Marshall winning 57-53 in overtime Jan. 24 at home.
McCracken County, in its first year after the consolidation of Heath, Lone Oak and Reidland high schools, takes a 23-8 record into the Sweet Sixteen and a Thursday matchup with Wayne County on Thursday at noon at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Marshall Co. 11 18 24 38 41
McCracken Co. 8 16 25 38 43
MARSHALL CO.: Landon Taylor, D.J. Pigg 8, Mason Wooten 21, Collin Travis, Austin Rentfrow 12, Drew Warnick
McCRACKEN CO.: Jared Burnett 13, Kam Chumbler 8, Jason Armstrong 6, Caleb Stohecipher 5, Bryce Rodgers 5, Nathan Telfair 4, Sergio Vega 2, Aaron Hayden, Austin Nall
Marshall Co. 50
Marshall County led all the way to advance to the championship game, but Mayfield refused to go quietly, closing to within 4 points at 46-42 with 47.4 seconds left. The Marshals got the final four points to close out the contest.
Austin Rentfrow led the win with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Mason Wooten added 11.
Haley Ballard was tops for Mayfield with 15 points. Marshall Bacon, who had 19 points in an earlier meeting between the two schools during the regular season, missed all 8 of his field goal attempts and did not score.
Marshall County led 15-7 after the first quarter, but Mayfield fought back to trail 23-19 at halftime and cut the lead to 33-31 near the end of the third period. But Rentfrow slammed home a missed shot at the buzzer for a 35-31 lead.
Early in the final period, the Cardinals cut that lead to 35-34. Collin Travis hit two free throws to make it 37-34, and then Drew Warnick sank a pair from the charity stripe and Wooten hit the front end of a bonus chance to push the lead to 40-34.
Rentfrow and Wooten were perfect from the line in the final 1:22, with Rentfrow going 4-for-4 and Wooten 2-for-2.
Marshall Co. 15 23 35 50
Mayfield 7 19 31 42
MARSHALL CO.: Landon Taylor 7, D.J. Pigg 4, Mason Wooten 11,Collin Travis 4, Austin Rentfrow 20, Drew Warnick 4
MAYFIELD: Deante Love 10, Marshall Bacon, Haley Ballard 15, Lane Kennemore 6, Nick Felts 11, Jake Guhy, Kyle Downing