55Marshall County33Bell County

Sweet Sixteen: Marshall County's suffocating defense stifles Bell County

marshall county converts 18 points off turnovers

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMarch 18, 2011 

There was little drama Thursday in determining the final team that would go on to the Elite Eight of the KHSAA/PNC Boys Sweet Sixteen.

Marshall County took control early en route to a 55-33 spanking of Bell County to bring the opening round to a close.

The Marshals (28-6), champs of the 1st Region, will meet Bullitt East in the last of Friday's quarterfinals, at 8 p.m.

"You don't have much time to enjoy this one with that one in front of you," said Gus Gillespie, coach of the Marshals. "They're a talented team. ... We'll have to go back, get some rest and try to come up with some sort of a plan to try to slow those guys down."

Blake Clark, a 5-foot-10 senior, led Marshall County with 15 points and three rebounds. Stephen Atkinson, a 6-5 senior, added 13 points and four boards.

Bell County (22-7), the 13th Region champion, was making its first trip as a consolidated school.

The Bobcats got 14 hard-earned points from Ben Madon, a 6-4 senior. Kyle Lee, averaging 13.1, was held to three.

Marshall's defense gave Bell fits all night.

Witness Bell's 10-for-39 (25.6 percent) shooting.

Marshall shot 16-for-33 (48.5 percent) and put the choke-hold on by canning 20 of 23 free throws.

"Defensively, that was an outstanding effort," Gillespie said. "I felt like we had to take Madon out and the Lee kid. ... Defensively, we executed what we'd worked on.

"The first quarter, we were tight offensively. Finally we were able to relax, knock a few shots down and get it out to double digits. And we really didn't relax after that defensively."

Marshall led 10-7 through a quarter and extended the margin to 15, 25-10, before Bell scored the last four points of the half.

The big difference was turnovers. Marshall committed seven, Bell 10 — but the Marshals converted 18 points off errors while the Bobcats got none.

Marshall scored the first five points of the second half to lead by 16. The Marshals led 41-24 through three quarters.

Bell came as close as 13 early in the fourth quarter, but a 10-0 run finished the Cats and pushed Marshall's lead to 51-28.

"Marshall County did a really good job taking away what we do good. ... We're limited in scoring in certain areas, and the kids that usually put up a lot of points for us, they did a really good job of cutting that off tonight," said Lewis Morris, coach of the Bobcats. "They played really good defense. Their kids are fundamentally sound."

Madon, who came in averaging 16.9 points, shot 3-for-8 from the field.

"They had it clogged up. They did a good job of denying me the ball," Madon said. "That was one of the best defenses I've ever (faced). They were rotating two or three or four in, just on top of me, and they were face-guarding me.

"That whole time I was coming down the court, that coach was hollering 'don't let him get the ball,' and they did a really good job of keeping it out of my hands."

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