Thursday, January 15, 2009
MA teams unbeaten in district
By BARRY BURLESON
It was a successful 6-0 week – all games in district – for the Marshall Academy Patriots and Lady Patriots.
And the biggest of the wins came Friday night at home when the fourth-ranked MA boys knocked off rival Lee (Clarksdale) 55-45.
“That gave us an undefeated record through the first half of district competition,” said coach Craig Dailey, whose squad improved to 14-9 overall. “It puts us in the driver’s seat for the number one seed (in the district tournament).”
The Pats were up 29-20 at the half but let the Colts climb back in it. A Lee three at the 5:51 mark of the fourth sliced the MA lead to 40-39.
But a couple of Caleb Byrd buckets, huge rebounds by John Tomlinson and Jake Omedeo off their teammates’ missed free throws and then some clutch free throws from Byrd, Taylor Maurey and Chase Ferrell nailed down the 10-point win.
“Caleb is filling his scoring roll well and has really improved on the defensive end,” Dailey said. “Lee has some very good athletes with good size, which can give my midgets some trouble. My kids played with tremendous heart in the biggest game of the season to date.
“Taylor is establishing himself as a major offensive source. Chase and Jake had some huge baskets and did a great job on their big man (Alabama football commitment Anthony Steen), and John absolutely stuck their star (Douglas Smith), holding him to three points, scoreless through three quarters.”
Byrd finished with 24 points, including four threes. Maurey was close behind with 18.
“My guys are getting better each night out,” Dailey said. “I’m really proud of their evolution as men and as players.
“I also want to thank our student section for their outstanding support. It was a great atmosphere.”
The MA boys turned it up a notch in the second half Tuesday of last week in Marianna, Ark., and beat the Lee Cougars 54-35.
The Patriots led 19-16 at the half but outscored Lee 35-17 in the second half.
“Sometimes our youth shows up and the first half as one of those times,” Dailey said. “We wore them down in the second half, and that’s always been a tough place to play.
“Caleb, Jordan (Brock) and Taylor all had solid offensive games. John had his normal defensive effort but added some key baskets as well.”
Byrd and Maurey scored 13 each. Brock contributed 12. Tomlinson had seven points.
The Marshall boys built a 20-point lead over Carroll Thursday night at home and escaped with a 64-61 win.
“That was a very weird second half,” Dailey said. “I probably called the dogs off a little early, and that made it interesting down the stretch. But as Yogi said, ‘A win’s a win.’
“Caleb lit them up. He’s really becoming a very consistent offensive threat. Taylor a great all-around game.”
Byrd scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half. Maurey had 17 points, 13 coming in the first half.
MA led 28-27 at the half, outscored Carroll 26-11 in the third and hung on in the end.
The Marshall girls’ closest game of the three last week was a 16-point win over Carroll. They’re 20-6 overall.
“We’re going into the Indianola Academy game undefeated in district, and the district lead will be determined Friday night,” Dailey said. “They are undefeated in district, too.”
The Lady Patriots recently dropped out the Class AA rankings. The Lady Colonels are fifth.
Traci Rodgers scored all of her game-high 24 points in three quarters and sat out the fourth as MA routed Lee (Arkansas) 61-33 January 6. Callie Clanton was close behind, pouring in 23.
“Traci was Traci,” Dailey said. “Callie had a huge night. She is really finding herself on the offensive end.”
MA led 32-20 at the half.
Carroll Academy put a fight early in the game Thursday night in Holly Springs but the Lady Patriots went on a 41-14 run in the second and third quarters and coasted to the 52-36 win.
“Carroll came out and gave us their best effort,” Dailey said. “The girls responded and put them away.
“Traci found a way to score versus their junk defense. Kelsey (Shaw), Emily (Burk) and Callie combined to make them pay for their defensive concentration on Traci. Regan (Murphy) and Molly (West) gave us some big defensive efforts in the second half, holding their stars in check.”
Rodgers scored 21. Burk followed with nine. Clanton and Shaw had eight each.
The easiest of the wins came Friday night at home. The Marshall Academy girls hit 17 threes in a 75-24 blowout of the rival Lee Lady Colts.
Rodgers blistered the nets for 33 points, including seven threes. Clanton scored 17 with four threes. Burk had 14 with three threes, and Shaw added nine, all coming on threes.
The lead was 37-5 at halftime.
“Traci makes me a very good coach when she’s on like this,” Dailey said. “Callie and Emily lit them up as well, with Kelsey adding three threes. Molly and Regan did a great job of getting us open and defending.”
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