Thursday, February 10, 2005

Marshall teams qualify for North tourney
• School hosting big event this week

The Mississippi Private School Association (MPSA) North AA Basketball Tournament will include two teams representing the host school.

The Marshall Academy Patriots and Lady Patriots earned berths last week with second-place and fourth-place finishes, respectively, in the District Tournament at Indianola. They are hosting the 16-team (eight boys squads and eight girls) North State event this week in Holly Springs. Competition started Tuesday.

The second-seeded varsity Patriots lost 59-49 to top-seeded Clarksdale Lee in the title matchup Saturday night.

Will Forester was the lone Patriot scoring in double figures. He had 10. Tossing in nine each were Robby Autry and John David Sanders. Thomas Rodgers was strong on the boards. He pulled down 15 rebounds.

The Patriots, who saw their record go to 20-11 on the season, were down 14-6 after one quarter, 32-20 at the half and 40-29 after three.

In the semi-finals Friday, Marshall avenged a January 22 loss to Indianola, winning 59-46.

“Indianola had beaten us a couple of weeks earlier on our home court,” said Marshall Head Coach Keith Taylor. “To turn around and beat them on their home floor in the District Tournament meant a lot. We had control of the game. We played tremendous defense. It was one of our best defensive efforts of the season.”

He particularly praised the defense of Thomas Carlisle and Rodgers.

“They did a tremendous job of stopping Indianola’s big man,” Taylor said.

The Patriots featured balanced scoring on offense. Four scored in double digits – Sanders with 14, Autry with 11 and Forester and Boyce Hollingsworth with 10 each. Forester led in rebounds with nine and assists with seven.

They led 31-19 at the half.

Marshall Academy routed Carroll Academy 79-40 in the opening round of the tournament.

Sanders and Carlisle provided the offensive firepower as they tossed in 17 points each. Sanders hit five three-pointers. Forester followed with 10 points, and he dished out seven assists. Steven Gresham was the top rebounder with 10.

The Patriots, the second-place team in District 1, opened North State play Tuesday night against East Rankin, the third-place team from District 2.

With a win, they will play Friday, Feb. 11, at 7:15 p.m. in the semi-finals against the Winston Academy-North Delta School winner.

The Lady Patriots tipped off District Tournament play with a 57-42 victory over Bayou.

Head coach Tommy Gunn’s team led 26-22 at the half and nailed down the win late with some big free throws.

“We were 11 of 16 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to finish the win off,” said assistant coach Christopher Hedglin.

Kim Shaw was the top gun with 17 points. Amy Harris was close behind with 15, and Chelsea Faulkenbery had 10.

The fourth-seeded Marshall girls then met top-seeded and host school Indianola in the semi-finals and lost 65-46.

Indianola took control early, outscoring the Lady Patriots 22-10 in the first quarter.

Harris led the way for Marshall with 12 points. Wynne Boatwright followed with 11.

That loss put the Lady Patriots in the consolation game on Saturday where they dropped a 46-36 decision to Kirk.

Kirk grabbed a 16-8 advantage after one quarter. Marshall outscored Kirk 8-2 in the second quarter and trailed 18-16 at the half. The game was then tied at 26 after three periods.

The fourth quarter was all Kirk. They outscored Marshall 20-10 and earned the 10-point win.

“They made a lot of free throws in the fourth,” Hedglin said.

Leading the Lady Patriots, who went to 22-14 on the season, was Shaw with 14 points.

“I was disappointed with our play in the District, and because of that, we’re a fourth seed,” Gunn said. “We will give it our best shot this week.”

The Marshall girls, fourth-place team from District 1, meets Leake Academy, the top team from District 2, in the North AA Tournament on Wednesday of this week at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re playing a great team,” Gunn said. “We’ve got our hands full.”

With an upset win, they will play Friday, Feb. 11, at 2:15 p.m. against the East Rankin-North Delta School winner.

The semi-finals of the tournament are Friday with two sessions – the girls at 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. and the boys at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. The finals are Saturday, again with two sessions, the girls at 1 p.m. (consolation) and 2:15 p.m. (championship) and the boys at 6 p.m. (consolation) and 7:15 p.m. (championship).

Admission to each session of the tournament is $5 per person. No Marshall Academy student activity cards or Booster Club season passes will be accepted. Only official MPSA passes will be accepted.

The top four teams from the North (girls and boys) advance to the Class AA State Tournament next week at Brookhaven Academy.

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