Thursday, November 27, 2008
MA snatches wins in neighboring state
By BARRY BURLESON
Friday’s long road trip to Arkansas proved to be well worth the ride for the Marshall Academy Lady Patriots and Patriots.
The MA girls trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter and rallied to beat Marvell. The MA boys turned a two-point halftime lead into a 29-point win.
Traci Rodgers nailed a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to give the Lady Patriots their first lead. Emily Burk added two free throws with seven ticks to go, and Marshall shocked the Lady Eagles 41-38.
“Wow, what a game,” coach Craig Dailey said. “That was worth the price of admission and the gas money to Arkansas. I’m proud of these girls. We have a shot at some special things this year.”
He called a timeout as the Lady Patriots were battling back and told them he was tired of moral-victory comebacks (like versus Oak Hill earlier).
“The girls stepped up and made the plays, and that’s what championship teams do; they find a way to win,” he said.
The Lady Patriots trailed 12-5 after one quarter and 20-15 at the half. They tied it at 26 in the third as Emily Burk lit up the scoreboard with Rodgers in foul trouble, but they were down 31-26 at period’s end. Marvell went up 37-27 with just 3:15 to go in the game.
The Lady Eagles tried some stall tactics, but they back-fired, thanks to MA’s pressure defense and Rodgers’ hot hand. She scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter.
“Traci’s go-ahead three was what stars do, but the difference was the scrap and hustle of the whole group to give her that final shot,” Dailey said. “We have her three shots at the game-winner.
“Emily (who finished with a team-best 18 points) exploded in the second half. She has to find this scoring with Traci in the game. If she does, we are going to be extremely tough to guard.
“Callie (Clanton) hit two huge threes as we struggled in the first half. The impact of Molly (West) and Regan (Murphy) on the game gets lost in a normal box score, but in mine it doesn’t. Megan (Isbell) and Kelsey (Shaw) had huge minutes as well.”
The Patriots struggled early at Marvell, but the second half was a different story. They won going away – 69-40.
MA was down 13-11 after one quarter and led 27-25 at the break.
“They (the Eagles) hit us in the mouth in the first half and competed,” Dailey said. “The boys got some halftime inspiration and got rolling in the second half.”
The Patriots went ahead 39-35 midway through the third quarter and the Eagles did not score again for about eight minutes. Marshall’s lead was 57-35 with 4:58 to go in the game.
Caleb Byrd fired in 19 points, 14 coming in the second half. Jake Omedeo followed closely with 18, 12 of those in the second quarter. Taylor Maurey contributed 14.
“Caleb had a big offensive night,” Dailey said. “When he is clicking offensively, we are a different team. Jake, at times, was unguardable. He was an animal on the offensive boards with 11 for the game. Taylor had a very solid game battling threw an illness.
“Joey (Omedeo), Chad (Mitchell) and Mitch (Gholson) all gave us huge first-half minutes to weather some early foul trouble.”
The win came over Dailey’s good friend, coach Cliff McCain.
“Coach McCain is family,” he said. “In this business, true friends are hard to find, and he is one. Plus, he is one heck of a coach.”
Tournament first round
Marshall Academy teams opened play in the West Memphis Christian Tournament on Thursday of last week.
The Lady Patriots had no trouble with the host school – winning 66-43. The lead was 21-8 after one quarter.
Rodgers was on fire. She scored 27, including five threes. Twenty-six of her points came in the first half. Shaw scored 15. Burk and Clanton scored nine each.
“Traci had a great first half, and we cruised in the second half,” Dailey said. “Kelsey had a big night offensively. Kelsey is a huge key to how good we can be. She is capable of those numbers each night. Emily and Callie had solid games.
“West Memphis girls are extremely young and battle hard.”
The Patriots overcame a 17-point deficit and cut it to two before falling 52-47 to the Memphis Home School Hawks.
MA had beaten the Knights by six points back on November 8.
“After beating them at our place, they came out extremely intense,” Dailey said. “We dug a hole and fought out.”
The Patriots sliced the deficit to two with 1:00 left, “but we didn’t make the plays we had to make to win,” he said.
Chase Ferrell led the offense with 14 points. Jake Omedeo scored 13, all in the fourth quarter, including three threes.
“Chase (a freshman) is playing over his years,” Dailey said, “but he must if we’re going to make a run. Jake had a huge defensive night hold their best player to 11 after he scored 35 at our place, and Jake’s four-quarter points gave us a shot. He just has to look to score for 32 minutes.”
The tournament continued Saturday afternoon (after an early press deadline for this week).
MA teams played Wheeler Monday night. Next Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Lady Patriots (7-3) and Patriots (3-4) open district play at home versus Lee (Ark.).
“Our girls are really coming together,” Dailey said. “Beating Marvell at Marvell and overcoming what we overcame has the ability to teach us what it takes to make a state run.
“Our boys are just improving each night out, and I’m excited about what we are capable of. The clock is ticking to district. We just have to keep improving.”
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