Thursday, February 21, 2008
Pats win North
By BARRY BURLESON
The Marshall Academy Patriots had little trouble capturing the North State basketball championship.
Their closest margin of victory in the tournament last week at Indianola was 13 points, that coming after a 19-point halftime lead over Canton. They blasted Kirk by 23 points in the title game Saturday night.
“North State champs in third year,” said a happy coach Craig Dailey, whose first season at MA was 2005-06. “We are on track to where I felt we could be. We have a good shot at a ring. We just have to defend and make the plays.”
They moved on to the State Tournament at Grenada, where they met another top five team, Brookhaven, in a put-out game Tuesday night.
The Marshall Lady Patriots finished third in the North and also advanced to the State Tournament. They met Prairie View in Tuesday’s first round.
Patriots vs. Tri-County
The Marshall boys outscored Tri-County 32-17 in the second half and rolled to the 63-40 victory in round one on Tuesday of last week.
Leading scorers were Gene Alexin with 17, Tyler Sanders with 12 and Nick Tate with 10. Caleb Byrd and Brent Adams added nine and seven, respectively.
“There was some big build-up with us facing their 6’6” player in a put-out game,” Dailey said. “The boys responded well. Brent destroyed their star, holding him to three points. it was a tremendous defensive and offensive game for Brent. Gene ate them up. Tyler had a great offensive and defensive night. Nick and Caleb rounded out a very balanced offensive attack.”
Patriots vs. Canton
Dailey’s said his team “came out blowing and going and just held on after that.” They build a 16-2 lead in the first quarter and were up 39-20 at the half. But Canton didn’t quit, outscoring MA 19-9 in the third. The final Friday night was 64-51.
“They were a lot better than our defense made them look in the first quarter,” he said. “We just have to maintain that intensity. We have to learn to keep ourselves up and not coast.”
Alexin lit up the scoreboard with 22. Tate and Sanders added 16 and 15, respectively.
“Gene, Nick and Tyler whipped them on offense, and we ended up needing it all.”
Named to the all-tournament team were Alexin, Tate, Sanders and Adams.
Patriots vs. Kirk
Kirk stunned Leake in the semi-finals, and next up was Marshall. The Patriots squelched the Raiders’ momentum early on and eased to the 66-43 win and was awarded the first-place trophy.
The score was 15-5 after one quarter and 34-19 at the half.
Alexin continued his scoring show in the tournament. He tossed in 24. Tate followed with 18.
“Gene was unguardable,” Coach Dailey said. “They just have no matchup for him. Nick had a very solid game, especially since he wasn’t shooting well. Hunter (Bolden) contributed some huge baskets and was a warrior on the defensive end. Tyler and Brent really contributed on defense.”
The MA boys improved to 24-7 on the season.
Lady Patriots vs. Winston
Winston was no match for the Lady Patriots in round one of the State Tournament. Marshall dominated from the opening tip and won 51-28.
“Winston is just down this year,” Dailey said. “That was a good put-out game draw for us.”
Top point producers for MA were Traci Rodgers with 17, Callie Clanton with 11 and Emily Burk and Kelsey Shaw with nine each.
“Traci got her points and got out,” Dailey said. “Callie had a big night and her offensive production is really helping us. Emily had a solid game offensively. Kelsey showed that our future in girls is very bright. The program is definitely headed in the right direction.”
Lady Patriots vs. Indianola
The host team, Indianola, avenged a District Tournament loss to Marshall, 47-31.
“They just hit us in the mouth and we didn’t respond quick enough,” Dailey said about the state semi-final setback.
The Lady Colonels were up 29-12 at the halftime break.
“IA came out red hot,” he said. “But my girls showed a lot of heart and guts to battle back in the second half, cutting it to seven at one point. They could have folded with Leake (top ranked and unbeaten) staring the winner in the face, but they didn’t.”
Rodgers was the only Patriot player in double digits with 10. Hannah Cook scored eight.
Lady Patriots vs. Lee
Burk’s one free throw and Clanton’s three-point shot provided the points MA needed in overtime as they knocked off Lee (Clarksdale) 47-46 for third place.
Burk’s bucket tied the game at 43 with about a minute left in regulation. The Lady Patriots then outscored the Lee girls 4-3 in the extra period.
It was nip-and-tuck throughout. MA trailed 21-19 at the half.
Rodgers poured in a game-high 22 points. Burk and Clanton added nine and eight, respectively.
“Traci whipped them again,” Dailey said. “Emily and Callie hit some huge shots. Regan (Murphy) had a huge defense game versus Corley (Kim). Jessica (Taylor) won the game in the second half with her defense of Luckett (Amy).”
The Lady Patriots improved to 24-16 on the season.
Named to the all-tournament team were Rodgers and Murphy.
With wins Tuesday, the Patriots and Lady Patriots would advance to the state semi-finals on Friday at Kirk Academy. The consolation and championship games are set for Saturday. The schedule is included on page 1 of the sports section.
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