LEWISBURG — The Marshall County Tigers (3-2) welcomed the Glencliff Colts for the nightcap, non-district matchup on Friday night.
The Colts defeated the Tigers 64-61 defeated the Tigers back on November 15 but in the return matchup at Dottie Kelso Memorial Gymnasium, Marshall County turned the tables on the Colts and won by the same score in overtime in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
The Tigers earned a hard-fought victory on a night when the basketball court at halftime of the boys game was named ‘Steely Court’ in honor of long time Marshall County assistant coach Don Steely.
It was an emotional evening for the Steely family as former players and Marshall County alumni paid tribute to the Steelys for their decades long support of the basketball program at Marshall County.
The Tigers and Colts played up tempo, hustling and dramatic free-throw shooting that usually is apparent in late season tournament action rather than early December, the home team thrilled the Tiger faithful with their never-say-die attitude.
“It is exciting to coach these guys even though I don’t have a whole lot of hair left, I like it when guys step up and guys come off the bench to make shots. We wanted to push the action, attack the rim and Jabari Howard did, as well as Jamahl (Gentry) and Jayden (Hart) both stepping up,” Marshall County coach Lavon King said.
The Tigers were led in scoring by Jamahl Gentry and Jayden Hart with 21 points each.
Howard also chipped in eight points.
Glencliff was led by D’Azjon Dowell with 15 points.
The Tigers gained the tip-off but missed on successive shots at the basket before Glencliff found a rebound and Terron Stricklin buried a three-pointer and after another Tigers misfire, Dowell scored on a 12-foot jumper to push the Colt lead to 5-0.
The Tigers responded with Jayden Hart scoring back-back offensive rebound baskets to make the score 5-4.
Dowell drew a foul on a drive to the basket and made both free throws to push the Colts lead to 7-4.
The Tigers fought back with Hart again making a basket and being fouled in the process but was unable to complete the three-point play and the Colts still led, 7-6.
Dowell was still the man for the Colts as he made one of two free throws and on a putback, scored a basket to push the Glencliff lead to 10-6.
Gentry then buried a three-pointer from deep in the far corner and on the next trip downcourt, proceeded to sink another three-pointer and the Tigers had their first lead, 12-10.
Thomason sank a free throw so that when the horn sounded, the first quarter ended with MCHS leading 16-15.
With the play by both teams getting heated and whistles for fouls being numerous with less than 90 seconds gone in the second quarter, both teams were in the one-and-one bonus free throw shooting.
Gentry was feeling the moment and scored nine points in the quarter including another deep three-pointer and a layup that came off high on the backboard to slide gracefully though the net.
After Glencliff’s Lazaros Odwar drilled a three-pointer, Hart continued his fine night for the Tigers as he dropped in a basket and a free-throw.
With 2:03 left until halftime the score was knotted at 25-25.
Glencliff’s Toby Amosa hit a free throw at the 1:30 mark pushed the Colts into the lead 26-25 but Gentry answered high off the backboard with a layup that brought the Tigers back into the lead, 27-26.
Jayce Harney sank a free-throw for the Tigers with 38.8 seconds until halftime, but Thomason and Hart traded baskets and at the half, the score was tied at 32-32.
The third quarter was more of the same, up-tempo, fast hands, leaping attacks at the rim and contested basketballs by both teams that excited the crowd as subtle changes by both coaches slowed the scoring, but did not slow the action.
Gentry and Hart continued their assault with two and three points respectively in the quarter, but Jabari Howard joined in as he buried a three-pointer and a short jumper for five points in the quarter as Marshall County enjoyed a one-point lead, 45-44 when the third quarter ended.
The fourth quarter saw the action approach frantic as both teams fought hard and with 4:53 left in regulation the score was tied again at 50-50.
At 4:19 left in regulation Glencliff’s Damion McBride was fouled and the Colts began one-and-one free throws by McBride sinking both to put the visitors to the lead 52-50.
Howard then sank a free throw at the 3:02 mark that made the it a one-point lead for Glencliff.
With 36 seconds left in regulation Gentry was fouled, made the first to tie the game at 54-54 but missed the second.
The Tigers, however, gained the rebound and a time out was called by King.
The Tigers hoped to gain a last-second shot, but instead turned the ball over and Thomason, going the other way, was fouled going to the basket and went to the charity stripe with four seconds left to shoot two free throws and a chance to put the Colts in the lead.
Both of Thomason’s shots bounced off the iron and after the second miss, Gentry grabbed the rebound and shuffling the ball to Howard, but his three-quarter court shot was wide as the buzzer sounded with the score tied 54.
In the overtime Hart and Amosa swapped baskets to maintain the tie at 56.
The action being hot and heavy saw Vaughn be the first casualty when he fouled out at the 2:25 mark in overtime.
Amosa sank two free throws to push Glencliff into the lead 58-56 at the 2:18 mark.
Aja Jones then sank two free throws at the 1:19 mark to tie the game at 58-58 then with 58.8 seconds left in overtime, proceeded to make two more from the charity stripe to push the Tiger lead 60-58.
Terron Stricklin struck from behind the three-point line and buried a shot with 33.4 seconds left to put the Colts in front, 61-60.
Marshall County took ball with less than 30 seconds left and with the crowd howling, Gentry was fouled driving to the basket, stepped to the line and sank both free throws to put the Tigers ahead 62-61.
Thomason was again fouled and again stepped to the line, again missing both free throws.
Jones then grabbed the rebound and Howard drove the lane, the ball rolled into the basket with seven seconds left, for the final score.
Glencliff 15 17 12 10 7 — 61
Marshall Co. 16 16 13 9 10 — 64
Glencliff: D’Azjon Dowell 15, Eric Thomason 11, Toby Amosa 11, Damion McBride 9, Terron Stricklin 8, Shamar Lawrence 4, Lazaros Odwar 3.
Marshall Co.: Jamahl Gentry 21, Jayden Hart 21, Jabare Howard 8, Aja Jones 4, Monta Vaughn 4, Jayce Harney 3, Jayden Randolph 2, Kentarius Morris 1.
3-Point Goals: Marshall Co. (6): Gentry 5, Howard; Glencliff (3): Stricklin 2, Odwar.
Halftime Score: MCHS 32, Glencliff 32.