DRAFFENVILLE - Marshall County and Graves County will no doubt meet again this season, possibly to decide the 1st Region Champions and if your heart is strong enough to take it, will leave fans reeling much like their two meetings this season.
A nearly capacity Reed Conder Gymnasium on Basketball Homecoming witnessed the rivalry at its best as the Marshals avenged their January 11th 42-40 loss at Graves County by beating the Eagles in overtime 55-52.
The extremely physical game resulted in 48 fouls, 24 by each team, and 61 total trips to the free throw line with the Marshals getting the edge shooting 70.3 percent to 61.7 for the Eagles.
The Marshals trailed 6-2 when field goals by Austin Rentfrow and Chase Clark tied the game at 6-6 with 2:35 to go in the first quarter. Graves County's big center Eli Wilson picked up two quick fouls battling Rentfrow under the goal as the quarter ended on an 8-8 tie.
A three from Clark and basket by Landon Taylor put the Marshals up 13-8 early in the second quarter as Rentfrow picked up his second foul of the game. Mason Beale pulled the Eagles back to within two after a three pointer which was duplicated by Mason Wooten at the other end for a 16-11 lead. The three's kept raining as Zach Kimbler dropped one in to cut the Marshall lead to two once again holding on for a three point 24-21 lead at halftime.
Out of the half time break, the Marshals took a seven point lead, cut to four by Jake Williams three pointer for a 30-26 Marshall lead. The battle between Rentfrow and Wilson continued as each picked up their third fouls in the quarter and the Marshals stretched their lead out to nine following free throws by Noah Steele.
The Marshals opened the fourth quarter on a fast break basket by Nathan Solomon with an assist by Steele for an 11 point Marshall lead which grew to a 13 point lead after free throws from Clark. Just a minute and a half into the quarter, Rentfrow picked up his fourth foul and was forced to spend some time on the bench. The Eagles inched their way back to trail the Marshals 43-37 as Rentfrow entered back into the game with 5:56 remaining. A couple of missed Marshall free throws and three pointer by Beale put the Eagles right back into the game, trailing now by just three points. After putting the Marshals back up by five, Rentfrow was called for his fifth foul on an offensive charge with 4:25 to go in the game. Williams fouled out of the game for Graves County sending Taylor to the free throw line hitting both to put the Marshals up by five. Tyler Starkey droped in a three for Graves County cutting the Marshals lead to 49-47 followed by the fifth foul on Beale that sent Taylor to the free throw line again to put the Marshals up by three. With 33 seconds to go, Justin Hayden's three pointer for the Eagles tied the game up at 50-50. With the clock down to 8.9 seconds, Clark put a shot up that was no good as the ball was knocked out of bounds by Graves giving the Marshals one last shot with six tenths of a second remaining. The in-bound pass from Solomon to Steele allowed a shot at the buzzer that missed sending the game into overtime.
A free throw by Taylor and jumper by Clark put the Marshals up 53-50 in the four minute overtime period with Starkey getting a chance to pull the Eagles back to within one from the free throw line but missed both. Steele picked up his fourth foul which sent Justin Hayden to the line hitting both to pull to within one at 53-52 with 1:18 remaining. A foul on Clark sent him to the line where he made the first of two for a two point Marshall lead with 33 seconds on the clock. Solomon was fouled with 10 second to go, making the first of two from the line as the Eagles got one last shot off by Starkey that missed as with Taylor coming up with the rebound as time ran out for a 55-52 thrilling Marshall victory.
Clark led all scorers and also posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The win gave the Marshals their 19th win of the season as they headed into an important district game against Murrray on Saturday. The Marshals and Eagles have only one loss in region play, both coming from each other as they are clearly the two best teams in Region 1.
Marshall: Field Goals 16/40, 3 Pointers 4/9, Free Throws 19/27, Total Rebounds 37, Fouls 24, Asists 7, Turnovers 16, Steals 5
Graves: Field Goals 12/43, 3 Pointers 7/21, Free Throws 21/34, Total Rebounds 32, Fouls 24, Asists 6, Turnovers 14, Steals 6
Marshall: Clark 20, Taylor 9, Steele 9, Rentfrow 7, Wooten 5, Solomon 3, McCoy 2
Graves: Beale 15, Kimbler 11, Williams 6, Starkey 5, Puckett 5, Smith 5, Hayden 5