Thursday, July 16, 2009
MA teams play well in summer contests
By BARRY BURLESON
Getting a preview of his next year’s basketball teams during the summer months has Craig Dailey filled with optimism.
“The girls and the boys have competed well, and we’re excited about the possibilities,” the Marshall Academy coach said.
The Lady Patriots had good showings in the Southaven and Ole Miss team camps.
Six straight days against bigger schools in Southaven was a test of the team’s mental toughness, he said.
“We held up well,” Dailey said. “It was tough versus the public schools, but we showed a lot of heart and grit.”
The MA girls “played very well” at Ole Miss, he said, going 12-3 in the camp. They lost a close one to New Albany, one of the opponents during the 2009-10 season.
He said the biggest win of the summer came when the Lady Pats beat a good Myrtle team at Myrtle.
Dailey talked about the progress of some of his players.
• Emily Burk (only senior) – “She established herself as the leader and the ‘go-to’ girl.”
• Kelsey Shaw – “She had a great summer. She learned to reach another mental level.”
• Callie Clanton – “When she’s on, she’s unguardable. She developed her all-around game.”
• Lauralee Fant and Megan Isbell – “They filled their ‘stopper’ roles and they’re developing their ability to score.”
• Emma Elgin and Lane Cunningham – “They had their bright moments in both camps. They did a really good job.”
• Brittany Deese – “She has improved from last year.”
• Chelsey Gilliam – “She had a real good game against Myrtle, guarding their big girl.” She missed much of the summer due to an injury.
The Marshall girls are going to the Madison Ridgeland Academy camp this month.
“That camp is always a good barometer for us as far as the season ahead goes,” Dailey said. “We’re back against MPSA (Mississippi Private School Association) competition.”
Last season the Lady Patriots finished as state runners-up in Class 2A.
“I believe we have a good shot at being right back where we were last year (playing for a state title),” he said.
Dailey said the Patriots “had the best summer of boys work since I’ve been at Marshall Academy.”
That included a team camp at Southaven, plus five straight days of competition at Magnolia Heights and Myrtle camps. Games in the Myrtle camp were actually played at West Union.
Dailey said the team competed well at Southaven against tough teams. A big win came over Mammoth Springs, Ark.
Unfortunately, point guard Taylor Maurey fracture his ankle, “and he was having a tremendous camp,” Dailey said.
“That forced some of our younger ones into major minutes. And that’s the great thing about the summer; you get to play more people.”
Stepping up, he said, were Matt Rappa, Andy Burleson and Aaron McAlexander.
“They all filled their roles well and this will help us tremendously going into next year,” Dailey said. “This will be the deepest team I’ve ever coached.”
He talked about the summer play of some of his returning varsity Patriots.
• Jordon Brock – “He has really improved on both ends of the court. He is also showing some much-needed ability to lead. That’s something this group has missed.”
• Chase Ferrell – “His game evolves with each outing. He’s the best athlete I’ve ever coached.
• Jake Omedeo – “He enjoyed a steady summer defending in the post against the public schools. He is also stepping up as a leader.”
• Caleb Byrd – “He’s unguardable when he’s hot. He’s also beginning to develop the other parts of his game, and his leadership is huge.”
• Joey Omedeo and Mitch Gholson – “They got some big minutes and showed they can play against some of the best people we will play.”
The Patriots went undefeated at the Magnolia Heights camp, including wins over the host Chiefs, and they earned a big victory in the Myrtle camp over Pine Grove.
“The potential of this group is limitless,” Dailey said. “Offensively, it’s the best I’ve coached – the most skilled group. We have to develop defensively and all the way around, and if so, we have a good shot at making a run in the playoffs next season.”
He complimented younger players McAlexander and Dakota Dailey for their contributions on the B-team.
“I’m proud of them,” he said.
Dailey also had praises for his junior high squad which went undefeated in a team camp at Myrtle against the likes of Myrtle, Hickory Flat, Tupelo, New Albany, Strayhorn and Ingomar. The junior high Patriots won the championship by winning a double overtime thriller versus Class 6A Tupelo. He said McAlexander hit the game-winning shot.
“Aaron, Dakota and Dustin Allen had a tremendous camp,” he said. “Also, several young players stepped up big-time – Drew Brigance, Thomas Faulkenbery, Kevin Harris and Tobe West.
“Beating Tupelo was a great win. This is a good group of guys.
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