Thursday, February 15, 2007
Lady Patriots win district gold
By BARRY BURLESON
The Marshall Academy Lady Patriots steamrolled rival Delta in the second half Saturday night and celebrated a District 1-AA championship.
The MA girls, trailing 14-6 after one quarter and still down 21-20 at the break, simply dominated the next 16 minutes. They outscored the Lady Raiders 27-11 the rest of the way for a huge 47-32 victory at Clarksdale.
“I’m extremely proud of the girls,” said coach Craig Dailey, whose team gets a bye in this week’s North AA Tournament at Kirk in Grenada. “We took Sunday and Monday off to enjoy the championship, cheer for the boys (who played Monday) and to scout our next opponent.”
The Lady Patriots, 31-8 on the season, play Wednesday at 4 p.m. versus the Canton-Carroll survivor.
Kim Shaw carried the load in the district title matchup. She poured in 18 points, 14 of those in the second half. She hit six of eight free-throw tries in the second half.
“That’s the Kim I’ve been looking for,” Dailey said. “I’ve told Kim all year she’s as good as I’ve coached. Tonight (Saturday) she proved it. A player like Kim will make you a good coach.”
Traci Rodgers followed with 12 points.
“Traci had a solid game offensively and did a good job of pressuring their point guard,” Dailey said. “Emily (Burk) and Candice (Clarkson) had some big-time shots and huge minutes off the bench.”
Delta’s star player, Bliss Gurley, had 14 points.
“I told Chelsea (Faulkenbery) going into this if she guarded Bliss for 32 minutes we’d be fine,” he said. “She held her to half of her last time total against us. Chelsea is the best defender I’ve ever coached. She’s a defensive force.”
The Marshall girls reached the finals with an easy 61-24 win over Lee (Ark.) Friday night. Rodgers was the top gun with 17 points. Clarkson was close behind with 14. Nine Lady Patriots scored.
The Lady Patriots’ lead was 35-11 at the half.
“The kids came out very focused and built a big lead,” Dailey said, “and then we got mentally ready for the championship game.
“Traci had 15 first-half points to help pretty much put it away. Candice was a force inside. I am so proud of the way Candice has persevered through an extremely tough year with the illness and all. He post presence is going to be huge factor down the stretch.
“The bench all played extremely well.”
Named to the all-district team were Shaw, Rodgers, Faulkenbery and Clarkson.
The Lady Patriots, with a win Wednesday at north half, will most likely face top-ranked and unbeaten Leake Academy Friday at 1 p.m. in the north half semi-finals. The consolation and title contests are Saturday at 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., respectively. The top four teams move on to the State AA Tournament next week at Brookhaven.
“We must shift gears and prepare for the next step in our quest for a state title,” Dailey said. “Leake is 33-0 and supposed to be unstoppable, but our focus is on the winner of Canton and Carroll. Then we will worry about the ‘queens of basketball.’ “
Marshall Academy boys
Coach Dailey said his MA boys “got took to the woodshed” in their championship game matchup with Delta. The Raiders never trailed and handed the Patriots a 68-51 setback.
“They just flat out whipped us,” he said.
The Patriots, 24-10 on the season, still advance to the North AA Tournament at Grenada but in a tougher bracket. They faced Simpson Monday night in round one and with a win meet fellow state top five member Indianola Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. in a putout game.
“We focused on us Sunday night (in practice) and we will try to rite this ship,” he said. “There will be sunshine on the other side of this storm if we have the intestinal fortitude to weather this. Champions bounce back. I believe in this group. They’ve just got to learn to believe. Our backs are against the wall. It’s time to fight.”
Delta came out red hot against MA in the district finals Saturday night at Clarksdale. The Patriots trailed 24-10 after one quarter and 33-21 at the half.
Dailey’s crew fought back in the second half. They cut the deficit to five points, 44-39, after three periods and got to within three a couple of times in the fourth period.
“I’m extremely proud of the guys for battling back,” he said.
Brent Adams was the leading scorer for Marshall. He had 15. Jimmy Palmer scored 10.
“Brent had a good offensive game versus their overplays,” he said.
The loss to Dailey’s former school was a tough one.
“Two weeks ago we lost three of four (junior high and varsity) at Delta,” he said. “Now we won three of four (junior high and varsity district titles) versus them, but this one hurts. We just have to defend a whole lot better and keep people off the boards. All of this is fixable but we’re running out of time.”
The Patriots made it to the finals with a ho-hum 46-28 victory over Lee (Clarksdale) on the Colts’ home court. Liautaud Prophete gunned in 18 points. Seth Milliorn followed with 14.
“We hadn’t played in a week and it showed,” Dailey said. “These games are tough because you can’t help but look ahead. Yo had a solid offensive night. Seth hit some big shots.”
Named to the all-district team were Palmer, Prophete and Milliorn.
With wins Monday and Wednesday at north half, the MA boys advance to the north half semi-finals Friday at 7:15 p.m. The consolation and championship games are set for Saturday at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., respectively. The top four teams move on to the State AA Tournament next week at Brookhaven.
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