Thursday, December 29, 2005

Junior teams rolling

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

Marshall Academy junior high boys and girls basketball teams are in the midst of some happy holidays after rolling to a combined record of 29-2 in the season’s first half.

The junior high Patriots stand 12-1 overall and 4-0 in the district. Their lone loss was an 80-76 double overtime thriller to West Memphis Christian.

“The junior boys have really evolved into a solid basketball team,” said coach Craig Dailey. “They’re making strides toward a district championship.

“We are beginning to couple our athletic ability with some basketball skills, and I feel the more we play the better we’ll be.”

Dailey talked about the development of some of the junior high boys.

“Justin McMullen is an excellent junior high shooter, and he is learning to be a scorer as well as a more complete basketball player,” he said.

“Spenser Autry is just a pleasure to coach and could develop into the best post player I’ve ever coached.

“Taylor Dempsey and Tyler Childers are tremendous athletes and as they’ve picked up more and more basketball skills, they are developing into solid players.

“Caleb Byrd has the potential to be a tremendous point guard.

“Chad Mitchell, John Tomlinson and Hunter Bolden have contributed as well.”

Dailey said the toughest part of the district slate awaits when January rolls around, “plus we have a tough non-district schedule with the undefeated Delta junior boys waiting on us January 2.”

“It should be an exciting junior high run, hopefully concluding with a chance to win a district championship on our home floor in January (28-31),” he said.

The junior high Lady Patriots stand 17-1 overall and 3-1 in the district. Their only loss was a 42-38 setback to Bayou Academy.

“The Bayou game was definitely one we felt we let get away from us, but not being at 100 percent in that game gives us a lot of confidence going into our rematch,” Dailey said.

“We will get another shot at Bayou in the second half of the season (January 14), along with non-conference foes such as Delta and Magnolia Heights.”

He also talked about the development of some of the junior high girls.

“Traci Rodgers has been a tremendous leader and has the ability to go down as one of the best I’ve had in my program,” Dailey said.

“Hannah Cook and Regan Murphy have played their roles on our team to a ‘T’ and have begun to evolve into very good basketball players.

“Emily Burk and Shelby Taylor have consistently contributed as our second and third scorers and both show unlimited possibilities for the future.

“Kim Cunningham and Molly West really stepped up during Shelby’s illness and their improvement only solidifies our chances for a shot at a district title.”

Dailey said the junior high Lady Patriots play a “tough, exciting, in-your-face” game.

The slate after the holidays includes – January 2, Delta, away; January 10, Carroll, home; January 14, Bayou, away; January 17, North Delta, home; January 19, Kirk, away; January 20, Lee, home; January 21, Indianola, away; January 24, Magnolia Heights, away; January 25, Lee, away; January 26, Carroll, away; and January 28-31, District Tournament, home.


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