Thursday, February 14, 2008
Marshall takes district crowns
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy added two more district championships to its trophy case this week.
The varsity Patriots and Lady Patriots brought home the first-place trophies Saturday, just one week after junior high teams did the same.
“I came to Marshall to build a championship caliber program,” said coach Craig Dailey, in his third season at the school. “Four straight ‘blues’ (the color of the trophies) are big, but the bigger ‘blues’ are harder to get and a lot closer to our rings. We have to get back to work this week.”
MA teams opened North AA Tournament play Tuesday of this week at Indianola. The boys faced Tri-County and the girls battled Winston. With wins, they advance to the Friday semi-finals and also wrap up spots in next week’s State Tournament.
MA simply blistered the nets in the District 1-AA title matchup versus Kirk Saturday night in Grenada – particularly Caleb Byrd.
“Caleb was absolutely on fire with 16 first quarter points,” Coach Dailey said.
And 12 of those came on four threes.
The Patriots, the district’s top seed, were up 29-12 after the first and cruised to the 67-48 victory over the Raiders.
Byrd was the top gun with 24 points, 18 of those coming from beyond the three line. Nick Tate followed with 20. Gene Alexin contributed eight.
“We had some junior high kids play good minutes, and I think that may work to make us deeper,” he said. “Coach Austin’s done a good job with that group (at Kirk). He is a former assistant, and I’m proud
It was easy, too, in the semi-finals for the Marshall boys. They routed Carroll 69-44 on Friday.
The lead was 19-3 following one period and 33-14 at the half.
Tate and Tyler Sanders led the way with 14 each. Brent Adams added nine and Jake Omedeo eight. Ten Patriots scored.
“The boys responded to our tough practices during the 11 days off by coming out scorching,” Coach Dailey said. “As hot as we were, the three (first-quarter points) on the other side made me feel the best.
“Nick and Tyler paced us. Brent and Gene had solid games on both ends of the floor.”
The Patriots improved to 21-7 overall with their two tournament wins. Named to the all-tournament team were Tate, Alexin, Sanders and Byrd.
“Going undefeated through district was big, but now we are back to square one with a one and done versus a very good team (Tri-County),” he said. “They will all be tough from here on out.”
The third-seeded MA girls completed their outstanding district tournament run with a 51-46 championship win over Lee (Clarksdale) Saturday evening at Grenada.
“This team has achieved so much,” Coach Dailey said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. This program is definitely headed in the right direction.”
MA trailed 9-8 after one quarter. But Callie Clanton, up from the junior high, nailed a three at the 6:34 mark of the second quarter and the Lady Pats never trailed again. They were up 24-13 at the half.
Traci Rodgers gunned in a game-high 25 points for Marshall. Clanton had 10 and Emily Burk eight.
“Traci showed why she is the conference MVP,” he said. “She is as good as I’ve had and that’s pretty high praise. She makes me a good coach.
“Callie was fearless. They had no idea who she was. Emily really stepped up with Traci in foul trouble.
“Regan (Murphy), Hannah (Cook), Molly (West) and Jessica (Taylor) were exceptional in their roles.”
The Lady Patriots reached the championship game by shocking Indianola 43-41 in the semi-finals Friday. They led 23-13 at the half and had to hang on in the end.
Rodgers again led the offense despite getting in foul trouble and eventually fouling out of the game. She lit up the scoreboard with 26. Burk added eight points.
“Traci had a huge offensive game,” Dailey said. “Losing her at the two and a half minute mark and still pulling it out was huge. This team has really found themselves.”
He praised the defensive efforts of Murphy, Cook and West, and he said Clanton hit a “huge three.”
“It was a great game,” Dailey said. “The girls have put themselves in a position to make a deep run (in the playoffs).”
In the opening round Thursday, the Lady Patriots survived. They eliminated Lee (Marianna, Ark.) 48-32.
“We didn’t play very well, but at this points, it’s survive and advance,” Dailey said. “Put-out games versus teams you’ve beaten a lot can be tough.
“Traci struggled through a tough shooting night. Emily hit some big shots.”
Rodgers finished with 23 points and Burk tossed in nine.
With the three tournament wins, the MA girls improved to 22-15 on the season.
Named to the all-tournament team were Cook, Murphy, Burk and Rodgers.
The North AA Tournament bracket is included on page 2 of the sports section. The top four teams (boys and girls) will advance to next week’s State Tournament at Kirk Academy in Grenada.
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