Thursday, February 22, 2007
MA teams going to state
By BARRY BURLESON
Delta was the thorn in Marshall Academy’s side for the second straight Saturday night.
The Raiders, who had beaten the Patriots February 10 for the District 1-AA championship, downed the MA boys again February 17, this time for the North AA Tournament crown.
But this one was much closer than the earlier 14-point setback. It was a nerve-racking, pressure-packed 46-44 loss.
Both teams advance to the Class AA State Tournament this week at Brookhaven.
“I’m extremely proud of my guys,” coach Craig Dailey said. “They played their hearts out. We made some mistakes, but we made them while giving 100 percent, and I can live with that.”
Delta led for over three quarters last Saturday at Grenada. The biggest advantage was six, once in the first quarter and twice in the third.
Two big shots from Liautaud Prophete kept MA close in the third period, one a three and the other a layup. Seth Milliorn’s jumper just before the third-quarter buzzer trimmed the deficit to 28-26.
MA grabbed its first lead, 35-33, with 4:05 to go in the game on a short shot from Jimmy Palmer.
It went back-and-fourth from there. Delta hit two free throws with 35 ticks left to go up 45-41. Then Palmer drilled a three with 27 seconds to go, and the Patriots were down one.
Tyler Sanders came up with a huge steal off full-court pressure at the 18-second mark, but Marshall couldn’t cash in and ended up losing by two.
“A bounce of the ball here or there didn’t go our way - not because of lack of effort,” Dailey said. “The main thing is, it isn’t over. Nobody has won the state championship yet.”
Prophete led the Patriots in scoring with 11. Milliorn added 10, Gene Alexin nine and Palmer eight.
“I though our student section was awesome,” Dailey said. “We had as many fans or more than anyone there.”
The Marshall boys had opened the tournament with a 56-48 victory over Simpson Academy Monday, Feb. 12.
Palmer was the top gun with 16 points. Prophete and Milliorn followed with 13 and 11, respectively. Brent Adams and Sanders scored eight each.
In a do-or-die game Wednesday, Feb. 14, the Patriots eliminated Indianola Academy 60-55 in a battle between two top five teams in Class AA.
“We went into it with our backs against the wall,” Dailey said. “This team has a lot of talent but has to learn to play at a championship level. No doubt we did it on that night. It was probably our best defensive effort of the year.”
It didn’t look good at the start. MA fell behind 7-0 and trailed 17-10 after the first quarter.
The Patriots, led by Milliorn’s hot had, trimmed the deficit by one, to 29-23 at the halftime recess.
Two three-point shots from Prophete and one from Milliorn gave Marshall third-quarter momentum and its first lead at 36-33. But Indianola used a desperation shot at the buzzer to go back up 41-40 after three periods.
But MA kept dialing long distance in the fourth. Prophete and Palmer hit back-to-back threes to put the Patriots up 46-41 at the 7:26 mark.
But again Indianola answered and went back in front 47-46 two minutes later.
Then two more threes, one from Milliorn and another from Palmer, gave the Patriots the lead and the momentum for good.
Milliorn tossed in 20 points. Prophete followed with 18 and Palmer scored 14.
The Marshall boys then advanced to the north half championship game with a 61-42 win Friday night over Canton Academy.
The biggest quarters were the first and fourth when the Patriots outscored the opposition 20-11 and 15-6, respectively.
Milliorn was again the leading point producer with 20. Alexin had 13 and Palmer 11.
Milliorn, Alexin and Palmer were selected to the all-tournament team.
The Patriots (27-11) face Central Private School Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 5:15 p.m. With a win, they meet the Brookhaven Academy-Canton Academy survivor Friday at 7:15 p.m. in the semi-finals. The consolation and championship games are Saturday at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. The top four teams advance to the Overall Tournament next week at Mississippi College in Clinton.
“If we get by that first one, we will likely play Brookhaven at Brookhaven,” Dailey said. “They call themselves the ‘Brookhaven Nation.’ We urge our fans to come show them what Marshall County is about.”
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