The Macon County Tigers won the Region 4AA Championship this past week enroute to the sweet sixteen.
The Tigers are currently riding a 17 game win streak, including 5 straight games in the post-season.
The Tigers faced Central Magnet in the 2nd round of region play at Tennessee Tech on Tuesday Feb 28th. For some strange reason, Macon simply doesn’t match-up well with Magnet this season but managed to win the previous three games. Fans were nervous as Macon trailed 2-8 early, but the Tigers went on a 10-0 run to close the quarter leading 18-8. Magnet clawed their way back into the game, aided by three Tiger turnovers within about 30 seconds at the end of the 2nd period, to trail Macon 29-31 at the break.
Macon would surge again and lead 40-35 midway thru the 3rd and carry a 46-45 lead going into the final quarter. Magnet hit a shot on their third chance in one possession to take the lead 47-46 with 5:20 to go. Then the Tigers came alive. Leading 54-52 and coming out of a Magnet timeout, Macon called a fly route on the in-bounds play from Carlisle to Ashburn for a made basket that set the tone for the final 2 minutes. Seniors Ashburn and Carter make 8 of the last 10 points from the free throw line down the stretch to send the Tigers into the sub-state with a 66-61 victory over Central Magnet.
Scoring for the Tigers was: Michael Ashburn 20, Heston King 14, Riley Phillips 11, Kendrick Carter 9, Seth Carlisle 6, and Cameron Welch 6. Dalton March and Cole Carnahan played but did not score.
Next the Tigers faced a Livingston Team that upset Upperman in two overtimes on the 28th. They are also a team that had the Tigers down by 18 in the 4th quarter last month, before Macon could steal away a victory in overtime. Macon was not shooting well and only converted one of their first seven possessions into points. Livingston Led 11-10 after the first period and Macon came back to tie the game 21-21 at the break. The Tigers shot an abysmal 9 of 28 from the field and only 2 of 15 from behind the three point line.
The Wildcats seemed to be making a conscious effort to get to the foul line. Livingston led 34-31 at the end of the third quarter and had made 10 of 15 free throws, as opposed to Macon’s 1 of 3 from the charity stripe. With the three point lead it seemed that Livingston wanted to spread the floor and run some clock. However two three point baskets, on successive possessions, by Ashburn and Welch were huge in tying the game with 1:19 to go in the game. Livingston then spread the floor again but pressure by Welch forced a Wildcat turnover and gave the Tigers a shot to win with 0:34 to go. After Coach Welch drew the play up in the huddle, Carlisle hits a runner down the lane with 8 seconds remaining to give the Tigers the lead. Livingston would get one final chance but would miss the shot and Macon gets a Region 4AA championship by a final score of 45-43. It wasn’t pretty but it still counts.
Scoring was: Phillips 13, Carlisle 12, Ashburn 7, Carter 5, Carnahan 3, Welch 3, and King 2. Marsh played but did not score. Riley Phillips, Kendrick Carter, Michael Ashburn, and Heston King were named to the All-Region team and Seth Carlisle was named the tournament MVP.
The trip to the sub-state is the first since the MCHS Tigers did so back in 1999. With the win Macon will host the sub-state game Monday night Mar 6th at Nera White Gymnasium. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm.