MA finishes third in North
By BARRY BURLESON
The Marshall Academy Patriots went two-for-three at last weeks North AA Tournament, good enough for a third-place finish and trip to State.
Coach Craig Daileys team, 29-11 on the season, started play in the State AA Tournament at East Rankin Tuesday. Their opponent was Columbia Academy, number two seed from the South.
The Patriots tipped off North Half play at Leake Academy Wednesday, Feb. 8, with an easy 65-32 victory over Simpson.
This was a good first round game to try and get the jitters out and get ready for a third matchup with Indianola, said Dailey, in his first season at MA after nine state crowns at Class A Delta (six girls and three boys). It was good to get all the kids minutes.
Marshall jumped ahead 26-6 after one quarter and had a commanding 47-16 halftime lead.
John David Sanders gunned in 22 points, including six threes. Thomas Rodgers followed with 14. Will Forester and Spenser Autry contributed nine and eight, respectively.
In the semi-finals Friday, MA was pitted against district foe Indianola which it had beaten twice earlier. This time around, the Colonels won what Dailey called an ugly defensive battle 31-28.
Both teams knew each other so well, he said. It didnt leave any room for cheap baskets.
We just couldnt get a shot to fall when we needed it.
The Patriots were up 16-10 after one quarter and then scored just 12 points the rest of the game.
J.D. Sanders and Rodgers had 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Indianolas 69 star, John Harris, scored 19 of his teams 31.
Harris really stepped up big for them and was the difference, Dailey said.
Im proud of the guys. The effort was there. We just couldnt make a play on offense at the right time, but we are still alive and kicking. Nobody has put a ring on yet.
The Patriots were clicking again on all cylinders Saturday night. The winners of the District 1-AA Tournament a week earlier beat East Rankin, which won the District 2-AA Tournament. The final was 66-51.
The boys really bounced back and took it to East Rankin, Dailey said. We are playing very good basketball.
Rodgers poured in 24 points for MA, which was up 24-15 at the half. J.D. Sanders connected for 21, and Will Forester added nine.
Thomas destroyed the inside, and J.D. tore them up from the perimeter, Dailey said. Will bounced back from Friday night with one of his best games.
With a win over Columbia on Tuesday of this week, the Patriots advance to the State Tournament semi-finals Friday at 6 p.m. against the Leake Academy-Prairie View Academy survivor.
The consolation contest and championship matchup are set for Saturday at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., respectively.
We have a good shot at standing at the podium next Saturday, and that is still our goal and dream, Dailey said.
The top four teams from the State Tournament advance to the Mississippi Private School Association Overall Tournament next week at Mississippi College in Clinton.
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