After missing out on a regional tournament berth last season, the Lady Marshals are back in the title game against Murray after a 50-44 overtime win over Graves County in Monday’s semi-finals. Splitting games during the regular season, Head Coach Dan Langhi said in post-game comments he thought Monday’s semi-final had the makings of being one of the better regional tournament games in a long time…and the game lived up to Langhi’s prediction.
Sophie Galloway and Taylor Carrico got the Lady Eagles off to a 5-0 start, the Lady Marshals tying it up at 7-7 before an 8-2 run by Graves County finished out the first quarter with a 15-9 lead.
Carson Travis gave the Lady Eagles an eight point lead to start the second quarter before Pea stepped up to hit a 3-point basket to cut the lead down to five, but two straight by the Lady Eagles stretched it out to a nine-point lead at 21-12. The Lady Marshals finished out the second quarter on a 9-2 run to close to within one at 23-21 at halftime.
A basket by Callie Jackson and two from Galloway put the Lady Eagles back up by eight points to open the second half, the Lady Marshals slowly chipping away at the lead on baskets by Langhi, Conner and Pea to close to within 29-28. A basket by Langhi tied the game up at 30 a piece and with free throws becoming a big problem for the Lady Eagles, they barely held on to a 32-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Langhi tied it and Whitnee Miller hit the go-ahead basket that gave the Lady Marshals their first lead of the game at 34-32. Four more ties and it was a 38-38 game with 1:26 to go. With 41.6 on the clock, Marshall County turned the ball over but a miss by Graves County turned into a basket at the other end by Conner and 40-38 lead with 25 seconds to go. Mathis tied it with one last chance by Conner before the buzzer falling off that sent the game into overtime.
The Lady Eagles struck first, tied again by Langhi at 42 a piece. Conner doing her best to open up the floor, set up Pea who hit a huge three from the right corner to put the Lady Marshals up 45-42. Mathis cut the lead to two at the free throw line for the Lady Eagles, Conner putting it back to three with a free throw of her own at the line. Mathis was fouled again, making one of two and it was a 46-44 Marshall lead. The closing seconds saw Pea fouling out, a miss by both teams and a big rebound by Langhi who was fouled and with 15.7 seconds left on the clock, the freshman drained both free throws to put the Lady Marshals up 48-44. Senior Lorin Powell stepped up and dropped in two free throws with 4.9 left for the 50-44 win.
“We both like to get after it…we knew it was going to be physical and there were some really hard plays made, some really athletic plays made and for girls basketball…a lot of people would come watch that game”, Langhi said. “Going into overtime…big shots both ways. We made a couple shots at the end and they struggled at the free throw line at the end. We’ve done that a couple times this year but luckily we were making ours. That was just a great ball game.”
The Lady Marshals shot 84% from the free throw line while the Lady Eagles struggled at 38% and they won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding Graves County 31 to 18.
Langhi said there’s no time to worry about fatigue for Tuesday’s championship game against Murray saying, “that’s part of tournament play.” The Lady Marshals have lost the last two against Murray by a total of three points, Tuesday’s championship being the fourth meeting of the season for the two teams and a repeat of the 4th District title game, with a trip to the KHSAA Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena on the line. Murray advanced with a 42-23 win over Carlisle County.
Marshall: Langhi 18, Conner 10, Pea 9, Powell 6, Jezik 5, Miller 2
Graves: Mathis 14, Galloway 14, Wilson 7, Jackson 4, Carrico 3, Travis 2
Marshall: 2FG 11/30, 3PT 4/18, FT 16/19, AST 11, REB 31, PF 17, TO 22
Graves: 2FG 16/31, 3PT 1/17, FT 9/24, AST 8, REB 18, PF 17, TO 10