By David Sharp
Top seeded Knox County raised their overall boys’ record to 14-7 with a hard fought 77-62 victory over Brashear (13-7). The Tigers and Eagles battled in a back and forth first half. Knox County opened things up with a ten point run in a 29 second span during the third quarter.
The Tigers trimmed Knox County’s lead to four points twice in the second half. The Eagles had four players score in double figures, led by Daniel McMahon’s 22 points in the title game. Trae Treasure paced the Tigers with 19 points.
Marion County stopped an impressive Knox County girls’ run of wins with a 43-35 win in the championship semi-finals. Most observers believed the game between second seeded Marion County and third seeded Knox County to be for the girls’ championship.
A gritty North Shelby Lady Raider team had other ideas. Fourth seeded North Shelby improved to 5-14 with a 30-12 championship semi-final game over a suddenly struggling Brashear club.
Amanda Orr led three Lady Raiders in double figures with 14 points each while North Shelby (6-14) stunned the Lady Mustangs (8-11) by a final score of 42-30 in the girls’ championship game.
Novinger (8-10) bested the Putnam County JV by a 69-39 final score to win the girls’ consolation championship. Brashear and Knox County put on a show in the girls’ third place game.
Knox County (10-10) overcame an early Brashear lead and grabbed a 16-7 advantage late in the second quarter. Stephanie Elsea made plays that may have helped the Lady Tigers adjust to the loss of double digit scorer and rebounder Christina Scudder to injury.
The Lady Eagles led 18-16 at the half after Brashear closed the first half on a 9-2 run. Knox County built a 29-22 lead when Stacey Leckbee drained a three ball with 3:42 to play in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers responded with a period ending 8-2 burst for a 31-30 KCHS lead.
Freshmen Abby McKim and Stephanie Elsea hit key outside shots for a 44-40 Brashear lead with a minute to play. Katie Ausmus canned two clutch free throws, pulling Knox County back within a 46-44 deficit with ten seconds remaining in the game.
The Lady Eagles had two chances to send the contest to overtime in the final moments, but Brashear (9-10) held on for the thrilling 46-44 third place game win.
Marion County (10-9) downed North Shelby (8-11) by a 57-40 final winning the boys’ third place award. Macon County edged Novinger (5-14) 60-58 for the boys’ consolation championship.
Putnam County bested Hannibal in a battle of boys’ junior varsity teams by a 52-51 margin in the boys’ seventh place game.
Tournament organizers overcame weather related delays by playing games in the Knox County and Brashear gyms on Thursday night. The February 4-9, 2008 tournament was completed as scheduled.