Thursday, December 31, 2009
MA jr. high squads break with 4-6, 15-0 records
The Marshall Academy junior high Lady Patriots began the 2009-10 season with a lot of question marks.
With four freshmen moving up to high school this year and only two starters returning from last year’s district runner-up team, the Lady Patriots would need to replace their leading ball-handler and scorers.
The junior Lady Pats began regular season play with a 37-23 victory at Lee Academy, in Marianna, Ark. They followed that up with a heart-breaking loss to Marvell Academy, 24-23, on a very late, banked-in, three-point shot. They responded with a 42-40 victory over Tunica Academy.
The MA junior high girls lost to solid MHEA, Oak Hill Academy, and North Delta squads before going into their annual Magnolia Heights game. The Lady Patriots fell to the Lady Chiefs 31-26. The Lady Pats traveled to Oak Hill where the Lady Red Raiders were just too much and came away with the victory again.
The Lady Pats went into the Christmas break with two straight conference games at West Memphis Christian, a 32-31 victory, and at Kirk Academy in Grenada, a 29-25 victory.
Overall the junior Lady Patriots stand at 4-6 with a 2-1 district record.
They have been led in scoring by eighth grader Elizabeth Skelton and ninth grader Madison Parker. Ninth grader Lori Simpson and seventh graders Wesleyann Ray and Katerria Moore have also contributed. Sixth graders Kara Novarese, Hannah Pasco, Shelby Hangey and Kim Caldwell chipped in off the bench.
When asked about his team’s progress, coach David Austin said, “We are young and inexperienced but improving. These ladies have worked very hard to improve individually and as a team. They’ve shown improvement in every facet of their games. The only thing they are really lacking right now is consistency.”
The Marshall Academy junior Patriots came into the 2009-10 season with high hopes and expectations. With a solid core of three starters returning from last year’s district championship team, they expected to pick up right where they left off.
The junior Pats raced out of the gates to a furious 15-0 start. They won 58-35 over Lee Academy, 52-51 over Myrtle, 50-12 over Marvell Academy, 58-26 over Tunica, 63-38 over MHEA, 67-41 over Galena, 48-38 over Oak Hill Academy, 50-19 over North Delta, 53-34 over Magnolia Heights, 45-41 over Oak Hill again, 44-33 over West Memphis Christian, 45-30 over Potts Camp, 58-30 over Kirk Academy, and 50-31 over St. Benedict’s out of Memphis.
The junior Patriots have been led in scoring this year by Aaron McAlexander, John Wesley Ray and Dakota Dailey. They have gotten solid contributions every game from Dustin Allen, Vince Hoyt and Zack Pritchett. Also making timely contributions are eighth graders Drew Brigance, Jacob Driggers and Josh Mask, and seventh graders Tobe West, Kevin Harris, Kyle Simpson and Thomas Faulkenbery.
When asked about his team’s progress, Coach Austin said, “This group of young men is very talented offensively, averaging 50 points a game. They must improve defensively, both individually and as a team, but they are working very hard and improving every day. They are a fun group to work with and be around.
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