By David Green
A sweep of Fourth District rivals Murray and Calloway County last week gives Marshall County top seed in the district basketball tournament, scheduled for Feb. 21 and 23 on the Marshals’ home court.
The Marshals also scored a defeat on the road at St. Mary Saturday, giving the team a 20th victory for the season and a fourth straight win.
The Marshals earned a bye in the district tournament and automatically advance to the First Region tournament the week of Feb. 27 at Murray State’s CFBS Center.
Murray and Calloway County will meet in the play-in game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m., with the winner meeting Marshall County for the championship on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7:30. Both teams will move on to the regional.
THIS WEEK: The Marshals will wrap up the regular season at home against Mayfield tonight and at Christian County on Thursday.
MC 63, Murray 47
MURRAY – Marshall County’s balanced offense prevailed over a 28-point effort by Murray’s Preston English at Murray’s Taylor Gymnasium.
The Marshals effectively shut down everybody except English, with no other Tiger scoring more than five points. Meanwhile, forwards Aaron Reed and Matt French provided the punch inside with 18 and 12 points, respectively, and point guard Dylan Walters added 12 more.
The Marshals broke away from a 30-29 halftime lead with a 20-point outburst in the third period and never looked back.
Reed had two steals that turned into four made free throws, Skyler Smith came off the bench to nail a pair of 3-point shots, and Walters, Houston Harvey, French and Tristen Prange had baskets to fuel the drive.
Shots from behind the arc by Murray’s Hunter Utley and Noah Merriss equaled the output by English, who was much more effectively contained by the Marshal defense in the third quarter.
The Marshals added six more points to open the fourth quarter, and reserves played the rest of the way.
MC 14 30 50 63
Murray 11 29 41 47
MARSHALL CO.: Lucas Nichols 6, Dylan Walters 12, Matt French 12, Aaron Reed 18, Houston Harvey 2, Tyler Powell, Austin Riley, Tristen Prange 2, Matthew Wooten, Skyler Smith 7, Tyler Stokes 4, Bryce Flatt, Garrett Hurley, Dawson Smothers
MURRAY: Will Lovins 1, Jon Hilbrecht 2, Preston English 28, Caleb Rogers 2, Tommy Speed 2, Hunter Utley 3, Will Harris, Chase Merriss, Tommy Waldrop, Noah Merriss 5, Beau Osborne 2, Ravichael Strickland 2
MC 48, Calloway Co. 38
DRAFFENVILLE – Marshall County smacked the Lakers with an 18-0 run to open the game at Conder Gymnasium. But the Lakers fought back with a 12-point run of their own to close the gap to six points.
But only once more – at 37-32 with just under two minutes left in the third period – did the lead shrink to less than a half-dozen the rest of the way.
The active Marshal defense’s only flaw was in defending the perimeter, where Calloway County hit a respectable seven of 17 shots. But the Lakers got only 14 of 36 overall, for 39 percent overall.
Marshall County offset that with 12 steals that pushed the Lakers’ turnover total to 17, compared to 11 for the Marshals, and outrebounded the visitors 31-24.
The Marshals also handcuffed Calloway’s leading scorers. Guard Kamden Price, hitting at a 17.6-point clip, was held to nine, while Payton Johnson, averaging 12.6, got only one point.
Aaron Reed led the winners with 12 points and seven rebounds. Point guard Dylan Walters, who scored eight points, added six rebounds and four steals.
Jeremy Darnall, who hit four of seven from behind the arc, led Calloway with 14 points.
10 17 32 38
MC 18 29 40 48
CALLOWAY CO.: Christian Adams, Kamden Price 9, Jeremy Darnell 14, Garrett Scott, Payton Johnson 1, Cade Butler, Kameron Mohler, Jacob Smith, Logan Eastwood, Will Benson, Jonah Brannon 6, Chandler Steele, Aaron Dawson 6, Isaiah Butler 2, Cole Emerson
MARSHALL CO.: Lucas Nichols 4, Dylan Walters 8, Matt French 8, Aaron Reed 12, Houston Harvey 7, Tyler Powell, Austin Riley, Tristen Prange, Matthew Wooten, Skyler Smith 1, Tyler Stokes 4, Bryce Flatt 4, Grant Wilson, Dawson Smothers
MC 53, St. Mary 28
PADUCAH – The Marshals held St. Mary to 26 percent shooting from the floor and marched to a businesslike 20th victory of the season at the Vikings’ gym Saturday.
The Viking’s most effective scorer was guard John MacCauley, who hit all 12 of his free throws and scored 20 points.
Aaron Reed scored 15 points, hitting six of seven shots from the floor and all three free-throw attempts, and also led the Marshals with six rebounds as St. Mary was outrebounded 28-15.
Forwards Matt French and Houston Harvey complemented Reed’s effort with a combined 15 points and 10 rebounds. French had eight points and six boards, and Harvey had seven and four.
MC 16 23 35 53
St. Mary 6 11 21 28
MARSHALL CO.: Lucas Nichols 4, Dylan Walters 6, Matt French 8, Aaron Reed 15, Houston Harvey 7, Tyler Powell, Austin Riley, Tristen Prange, Matthew Wooten 2, Skyler Smith 5, Bryce Flatt 2, Grant Wilson, Dawson Smothers
ST. MARY: Vincent Duncan 2, John MacCauley 20, Caden Tillet 2, Austin Wetherington, Aaron Higgins, Keaton Elliott, Joey Eggemeyer, Reid Courtney, Cole McCoart, Parker Crump 4, Logan Livesay, Billy Johnson