By Mark Darnell
The Macon County Tigerettes will travel to the Glass House and play in the Girls AA State Tournament for a third season in a row. It is the first time in school history that a basketball team has accomplished that feat.
As the winners of Region 4AA Macon would host a sectional game against the runner-up of 3AA in Meigs County. The Associated Press had Meigs #1 and Macon #2 in their latest girl’s high school ranking setting up this titan showdown.
Macon jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never kept their foot off the gas. The Tigerettes would make an 8-0 run to end the first period and lead 19-9. Both teams would play hard but Macon would outscore Meigs in the second quarter to take a 37-26 lead at the half.
Macon would shoot 16 of 30 (53%) from the field and 4 of 5 (80%) three pointers in the opening half while Meigs went 10 of 20 (50%) and 1 of 8 (12%) respectively. MCHS sophomore point guard Jalynn Gregory lead all players with six big assists at the break.
“We just made one adjustment at the half and that seemed to turn the whole thing they were doing around,” MCHS Coach Larry White remarked. “We had a total team effort tonight but with the game being called tight, we got in foul trouble for the first time all year.”
The Tigerettes came out with the same intensity and focus in the third quarter that they have all season. As Macon has been a second-half team all season, scoring almost 30% of their total points in the 3rd period alone, Gregory closed out the period with a big four point play that gave the Tigerettes a 54-35 advantage.
The raucous student section, affectionately called “The Macon Mob” along with a large blue fan base could smell blood in the water.
The Lady Tigers from Meigs County never gave up but the physicality and athleticism of Macon was too much to overcome. Both teams finish strong in the final eight minutes and the Macon County Tigerettes win before a rowdy fan-base by a final score of 69-50.
The coaches and players do an exceptional job in preparation for every team they face. Junior guard Jamie Ashburn, who Coach White says is the “Silent Assassin who says a little but does a bunch”, remarked, “We knew we would need to focus on their best player and they only had mediocre spot shooters. If we could do that we had a chance.” Gregory added, “We knew they had dribble-drive players and few spot-up shooters so we knew what we had to stop.” Sophomore guard Abby Shoulders also said, “I knew that their PG liked to go to her right a lot, so we needed to take away her drives to the paint and keep her on the perimeter.”
When players are able to digest scouting reports from coaches and implement that into their game play, they are hard to beat. The preparation they put into each and every game is second-to-none. Macon County’s record is 30-5 and 17-0 at home.
Scoring in the game for Macon was: Keeley Carter 24 points (10 rebounds), Jalynn Gregory 17 points (7 assists), McKaylee Mix 11, Marah King 8, Abby Shoulders 6, and Jamie Ashburn 3. Taylor Ward, Briea Crouch, Emily Ashburn, Myle Crowder, and Graci Scott all played but did not score.
The Tigerettes finished the game shooting 56% (26 of 46) and 25% (2 of 8) behind the arc compared to Meigs 40% (16/40) and 12% (2/16) respectively. Macon also had more steals (9 to 7), rebounds (31 to 20), and fewer turnovers (12 to 13) than Meigs County.
“We just wanted to get to the state and win the first game. However, I can’t tell you that this team hasn’t had the goal of a gold ball and rings all year long. We have done a great job of playing one game at a time, but we have one thing on our mind,” White added.
The Tigerettes have a great chance to go deep in this state tournament of eight teams. They drew the Wednesday Mar 6th game at Murphy Center in Murfreesboro against Region 8 winner Covington. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 am.