Thursday, January 5, 2006

Patriots place third at Brookhaven

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

Marshall Academy took its basketball show on a long road trip last week to see how the school stacks up against some of the state’s best.

The Patriots and Lady Patriots competed in the prestigious Brookhaven Academy Holiday Invitational Tournament. The MA boys went 2-1, with two of their three games being against much larger schools, and brought home third place. The girls went 0-2, with one of those being an overtime setback to the defending state champions.

Patriots

Coach Craig Dailey’s crew tipped off the holiday tournament Wednesday in fine fashion.

The Patriots got 25 points from Thomas Rodgers in a 53-32 shellacking of Hillcrest, ranked fifth in AAA. The Patriots are third in the state in AA.

“Thomas (Rodgers) just absolutely destroyed Hillcrest’s 1-3-1 trap,” Dailey said.

“Anytime you beat one of the 3A Jackson schools, you have to feel good about yourself.”

Defense was a big key.

“This was a championship level defensive effort,” Dailey said.

John Greer and Will Forester had eight points each.

The Patriots bolted out of the starting gate, going up 14-3 after one quarter. They led 24-17 at the half and outscored Hillcrest 29-15 in the second half.

On day two of the tournament, Marshall gave Parklane, the number four team in AAA, a serious run for its money before falling 54-43.

Parklane’s 6’9” post player, Tyler Cunningham, was the difference. He scored 22 points.

“He just absolutely tore us up inside,” Dailey said. “He is the best post player we’ve played.”

The Patriots fought hard. They were down by two points at the half and one following three periods.

“We played them dead even for three quarters and then fell apart in the fourth,” Dailey said.

John David Sanders’ 15-point effort led MA. Greer added 10.

“We went to Brookhaven for competition, and we got it against Parklane, but that’s what will make us better.

“You can’t be the best if you’re afraid to play the best, and we won’t run scared.”

Marshall wrapped up the trek to south Mississippi with an impressive 57-41 victory over Copiah Friday afternoon.

The Patriots used some balanced scoring in this consolation game victory. They got 16 points from Greer, 14 from J.D. Sanders and nine each from Rodgers and Forester.

The Patriots led 32-22 at the halftime recess.

“John (Greer) played his best game of the year,” Coach Dailey said, “and really seemed to have decided to take his game to a new level.

“John David (Sanders) ended a tough shooting week by breaking loose for four threes.”

He said Tyler Sanders and Brent Adams also played their “best games of the year.”

MA improved to 16-4 on the year. Host Brookhaven, ranked number one in AAA, won the tournament by beating Parklane in the finals.

“It was a very positive week for us, and I believe we came a lot closer to where we must be by February,” Dailey said.

“Brookhaven showed they are number one in AA for now, but the number one team in February will determine who hangs the banner.”

Lady Patriots

Coach Keith Taylor’s squad fell to Central Private, 74-46, in round one of the holiday tournament on Wednesday afternoon.

The Lady Patriots trailed 22-9 after one period. They were down 45-23 at the half and scored just six points in the third quarter.

Kim Shaw and Lindsay Taylor were the top guns, scoring 19 and 17 points, respectively. Shaw also pulled down a team-best nine rebounds, while Taylor had five boards. Jessica Taylor also had five rebounds, and she blocked five shots.

The MA girls were five of 24 from beyond the three-point line and committed 28 turnovers.

They bounced back strong the next day, almost shocking the host Brookhaven girls, the defending AA state champs. The Lady Patriots lost 66-64 in overtime.

Marshall was leading 55-54, and Brookhaven hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds to go to take the lead, 57-55. MA’s Allie Kriss drove the basket, was fouled and scored the game-tying lay-up with 10 ticks remaining. Her free throw try rolled around the rim and fell off, sending the game to OT.

“If Allie (Kriss) would not have hit the big shot, we would have never went to overtime,” Coach Taylor said.

In the extra period, Shaw, Kriss and Taylor all fouled out.

“We were down by as many as seven in the overtime and came back and lost by two,” he said.

The game was nip-and-tuck throughout. The Lady Patriots led 14-12 after one period. The contest was deadlocked at 30 at the half, and MA was up 43-30 after three quarters.

“It was the best game we’ve played all year,” Coach Taylor said. “It was a real physical game, and I was proud of our girls for stepping it up another notch.

“Everybody contributed. We played together as a team. We wanted to play good and prepare ourselves for district. We’re a young team; hopefully we grew up some.”

Shaw turned in a sparkling performance with 29 points and 16 rebounds. She was followed by L. Taylor with 18 points and eight rebounds and Chelsea Faulkenbery with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Marshall, 16-11 on the season, shot 73.3 percent from the free-throw line (11 of 15).

Schedule

The Patriots and Lady Patriots were scheduled to go to Delta Academy on Monday of this week.

Then they will play in the Magnolia Heights Memorial Classic at Senatobia.

The Lady Patriots will face Delta (ranked third in Academy A) on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 6:30 p.m. With a win, they will meet Marvell (ranked number one in A) on Friday, Jan. 6, at 4 p.m. in the semi-finals.

In the other side of the girls’ bracket are Magnolia Heights (ranked fourth in AAA), Tunica Institute of Learning and DeSoto.

The Patriots will go up against DeSoto on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 7:45 p.m. in the opening round. With a win, they will meet Delta (ranked third in Academy A) Friday, Jan. 6, at 5:15 p.m.

In the other side of the boys’ bracket are Magnolia Heights, TIL and Marvell.

Consolation games and championship contests are Saturday, Jan. 7, starting at 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Marshall Academy teams return to district action when they host Carroll Academy.


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