Thursday, February 7, 2008
MA brings home first-place trophies
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy celebrated two basketball championships Saturday in the Delta.
The junior high Lady Patriots and Patriots won District 1-AA crowns, the girls shocking top-seeded Kirk Academy and the undefeated boys rallying to beat host Indianola Academy in the title game.
Coach Craig Dailey’s Lady Patriots kicked off the clean sweep with stifling defense and a 30-24 upset of the Lady Raiders.
“What a game,” he said. “I am so proud of these young ladies and what they’ve accomplished. They truly believed.”
The game was knotted at 4 after one quarter. Megan Isbell’s short jump shot put MA up 8-4 at the 3:20 mark of the second quarter. Kirk battled back to tie and late in the half Emma Elgin drilled a three and two free throws to put the Lady Pats up 13-8.
Kelsey Shaw’s drive and basket boosted Marshall’s advantage to 20-14 after three periods.
During crunch time in the fourth, Callie Clanton scored off an in-bounds play and later Sarah Poteet drilled two free throws. The lead was 24-17. Hitting more key free throws down the stretch were Elgin and Clanton.
Top scorers were Elgin with eight points, Clanton and Shaw with seven each and Isbell with six. Poteet scored two.
“Callie and Kelsey did an excellent job of staying under control versus their press,” Coach Dailey said. “Megan played tremendous defense on the Kirk star and hit three huge shots. Sarah’s two free throws down the stretch were clutch. Lauralee Fant’s defense was even better than normal. Emma Elgin’s big three turned the tide; she was fearless.”
The Lady Patriots finished 20-7 on the season.
“My five freshmen were exceptional all year and showed the heart and belief in each other that it takes to be a champion,” Coach Dailey said. “Moments like these make coaching so rewarding. This is a special group of young ladies.”
The Marshall Academy junior high boys capped a 20-0 season with a 37-32 win over the Colonels in the championship contest.
It wasn’t easy. They were down 27-14 at the half but then amazingly outscored Indianola 23-5 in the second half.
“A perfect season, that’s not easy; just ask the New England Patriots,” Coach Dailey said. “We had our worst half of basketball of the year and then responded after halftime.
“I’ve stressed defense with this group from day one and their second half defensive effort won the championship. That was heart and guts in the second half.”
MA grabbed the lead for good early in the fourth quarter when Chad Mitchell scored, was fouled and hit the free throw. The Patriots had stormed back to lead 30-28.
Several players, including Matt Dalton, Jordan Brock and Taylor Maurey, then hit key shots down the stretch to secure the win.
Leading point producers were Dalton with 11, Mitchell with 10 and Maurey with nine. Others contributing were Chase Ferrell with four and Jordan Brock and Kasey Shaw with two each.
“Chad, Matt, and Taylor had solid offensive nights to overcome our shooting woes,” Dailey aid. “Chase contributed some big-time defensive play of the bench.”
The coach is excited about the future for these Patriots.
“This group of young men played a big part in me coming to MA,” Dailey said. “They have a chance to get several banners and a shot at Overall. It’s going to be a fun run with them.”
The second-seeded Lady Patriots, who received a first-round bye, reached the title matchup with a 31-25 win over Carroll Academy in the district tournament semi-finals Friday.
They built a 10-0 lead after one quarter and were up 17-8 at the half. The advantage was sliced to 23-21 after three quarters. Clanton produced some big buckets in the final period and and finished with a game-high 17 points.
“Callie had a huge game and that, along with our tremendous defensive first and fourth quarters, saved the day,” Coach Dailey said.
Others adding points were Elgin with five, Shaw with 4, Poteet with three and Isbell with two.
“We beat Carroll all year, but this wasn’t the same team. They played with a lot more fire.
“I’m proud of the way the girls gutted it out.”
The MA junior high boys, also recipients of a first-round bye, routed Lee (Marianna, Ark.) 53-33 in the semi-finals Friday afternoon.
They outscored Lee 22-13 in the second quarter and built a 32-20 halftime lead. The Patriots coasted from there.
Jordan Brock’s 14 points led the way. Dalton added 12. Others contributing points were Mitchell and Shaw with eight each, John Tomlinson and Maurey with four each, Matt Rappa with two and Aaron McAlexander with one.
“Jordan and Matt (Dalton) had a huge first half with 10 points each,” Coach Dailey said. “Chad and Kasey hit some big shots.
“Holding Lee (Marianna) to four points in the third quarter pretty much sealed the game. Hank Owens’ defense on their star helped us set a defensive tone.”
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