There was one goal and one speed Paducah Tilghman wanted to play at in its Second District game against McCracken County at Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena.
The Lady Blue Tornado wanted to make sure they remained undefeated in the league and wanted to do it in dominating fashion and they did so by beating the Lady Mustangs 67-44 Friday night to clinch the Second District regular-season title.
With the win, Tilghman (18-8, 6-0 2nd District) goes in the the district tournament as the top seed, while McCracken County (14-13, 3-3 2nd District) earned the second seed. St. Mary will be the third and Community Christian will be fourth.
The Lady Blue Tornado won the first district matchup on Jan. 17 at home 55-31 and also beat McCracken County 68-65 in a non-district game on Dec. 28, 2013, in the Murray Bank Lady Tiger Classic.
"The past couple of games we haven't felt like we played our best," Tilghman coach Roderick Thomas said. "We wanted to make a major effort to play better from start to finish with energy, emotion and passion and I felt like we did all those things in tonight's game."
After the game was tied at 2-all with 6:15 left in the first on a layup by McCracken County's Alex Smith, Tilghman revved up the engine and rolled with a 16-0 run that put it up 18-2 on Joya Smith's bucket with 2:08 left in the period.
The closest the Lady Mustangs would get after that is cutting the lead to 20-9 with 6:34 to go in the second on Jacqueline Roof's 3-pointer.
Tilghman answered with an 11-6 run and thanks to Jalisa Smith's two free throws with no time left on the clock it took a 31-15 lead in at halftime.
"They got off to a great start and we hoped we could get off to a better start than we did," McCracken County coach Jared Burnett said. "You battle your rear end off to cut the lead to 13 in the third and then they go on a 9-0 run. Just when we needed to buckle down, we weren't able to. They're a good team and if you don't play really well they score a lot of points"
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Paducah Tilghman 18 21 50 67
McCracken County 6 15 31 44
Paducah Tilghman - Keyva Gardner 5, Mariah Donelson 9, Whitney Shaw 4, Alex Kohler 20, Karlee Humphrey 13, Joya Smith 10, Jalisa Smith 6, Shapiro, Mayes, Patterson.
Field goals 18/31. 3-pointers 5/13 (Donelson, Kohler, Humphrey). Free throws 16/21. Record 18-7, 6-0 2nd District.
McCracken County - Lexie Baer 6, Alex Smith 16, Maria Lemus 3, Jacqueline Roof 15, Kaylyn Telfair 4, Perry, Weir, Kidd.
Field goals 10. 3-pointers 3 (Lemus, Roof 2). Free throws 15/28.Record 14-13, 3-3 2nd District)
Boys: McCracken County 74, Paducah Tilghman 52 - A battled brewed early between McCracken County and Paducah Tilghman in a game that would have decided if the Mustangs would claim the Second District regular-season championship all by itself or would the Blue Tornado make it a three-way tie and help St. Mary get a share.
But thanks to a second-quarter ending 17-4 run, McCracken County was able to take control of the game and went on to win 74-52 to clinch the district regular-season crown in the program's first year.
"This is a big win," Mustangs coach Burlin Brower said. "Our kids really wanted this. We came in ranked number two in the preseason and this is a big accomplishment for our kids. I know we were looking forward to it and now we've got one more week at the regular season and then we'll get a chance to make a run at this thing."
McCracken County (18-8, 5-1 Second District) will go in the district tournament as the top seed, St. Mary earned the No. 2 seed, Tilghman (13-12, 3-3) will go in as the third seed and Community Christian will be the No. 4 seed.
The Mustangs won the first meeting at Tilghman 66-54 on Jan. 17.
The Blue Tornado cut the margin to 15-14 with 7:47 left in the second quarter on Devon Hart's putback.
But the Mustangs responded with the 17-4 run, starting with Jared Burnett's two free throws with 6:38 to go in the quarter and ending with his traditional three-point play with 38.7 ticks on the clock and made it the 33-18 halftime score.
"We just had another poor second quarter, the same as the first time we played them," Tilghman coach Brad Stieg said. "I was pleased we cut the lead down to three at the end of the first after they got up by seven. We felt like we answered their energy. But we just didn't sustain it in the second quarter for some reason."
Paducah Tilghman 12 18 32 52
McCracken County 15 33 54 74
Paducah Tilghman - Sayveon McEwen 14, Jessie Dunigan 14, Devon Hart 9, Andre Strayhorn 2, Brannon Warfield 2, Mikey Davis 9, Armstrong, Prather, Mayes, Belt.
Field goals 15. 3-pointers 4 (McEwen 2, Dunigan 2). Free throws 10/18. Record 13-12, 3-3 2nd District.
McCracken County - Jared Burnett 17, Kam Chumbler 10, Jarret Mauk 2, Jason Armstrong 4, Nathan Telfair 8, Caleb Stonecipher 11, Sergio Vega 8, Zach Belt 3, Austin Nall 3, Byrce Eodgers 8, Collins, Harris, Hayden, Weir.
Field goals 19. 3-pointers 7 (Burnett, Stonecipher 3, Vega 2, Nall). Free throws 15/25. Record 18-8, 5-1 2nd District
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow him on Twitter @bigdog_jamesd.
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