Big fourth quarter sends Macks Creek past Tuscumbia

ELDON, Mo. — When it was winning time, the Macks Creek Pirates stepped up and did just that.

Facing a 36-32 deficit heading into the final quarter of the Class 1 District 6 Tournament, the Pirates came up with an almost perfect quarter to pull out a 57-49 victory against the Tuscumbia Lions.

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Tony Hawley reports

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That’s not an exaggeration — Macks Creek went 8-of-8 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the period to claim the title.

And nobody was more perfect than Matt Hicks, who outscored the Lions by himself, 14-13. He racked up those points by going 5-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 from the line.

“Hicks killed us,” Tuscumbia coach Bill Blanton said. “He rebounded at (the defensive) end, and he drove at (the offensive) end. He’s a quality player.”

It was part of a many-pronged attack for the Pirates. Austin Mitchell had a seven-point second quarter and Cody Eidson had a 10-point third quarter as Macks Creek had several players come up big.

“They’re tough inside plus they’re good shooters outside. I don’t think they get enough credit for that,” Blanton said.

The Lions led for long stretches of the game against the state’s eighth-ranked team. After a slugfest of a first quarter ended in a tie at 4, Tuscumbia got two huge 3-pointers from Nick Grimwood in the second quarter to take a 17-15 lead into the locker room.

It could have been a bigger lead for the Lions if not for so many empty trips on the offensive end. Tuscumbia had 10 turnovers in the half, double what Macks Creek did.

“They’ve never been in this situation, it was new territory for them,” Blanton said.

The Lions took their biggest lead of the game at 23-17 on a 3-pointer by Wyatt Ahart not long after halftime. However, Macks Creek came back with a 9-2 run, the last two coming on a thunderous dunk by Eidson, to take back the lead.

But the Lions came back to take a 36-32 lead into the decisive fourth quarter.

Tuscumbia still held a 46-44 lead after an Ahart layup with 3:42 left, but then came a decisive exchange. After two free throws for Macks Creek, Tuscumbia missed a 3. The Pirates then hit a 3, and after a turnover by the Lions, a jumper in the paint by Hicks gave Macks Creek a five-point cushion.

“The middle of the fourth quarter, they were better,” Blanton said. “They were a championship team right when they needed to be.

“Our defense played so well until they took the lead and then I don’t know what happened.”

Ahart pumped in a game-high 24 points for the Lions, who end the season with a record of 15-12.

Hicks had 18 points to lead Macks Creek (22-5), while Eidson had 14 and Alec Kinder added 10.

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