Thursday, February 5, 2009
MA girls second in district
By BARRY BURLESON
The district championship game Saturday evening epitomized the Marshall junior high Lady Patriots’ successful season, according to head coach David Austin.
“Against the odds, with things looking bleak, they rallied around each other and battled back within a heartbeat of winning the championship,” he said. “They may not have taken the blue (first-place) trophy but they showed championship character and championship heart.”
A Lady Patriots’ rally in the fourth quarter fell just short and they lost 39-38 to Indianola Academy at Carrollton. They finished the season with an 18-8 overall record.
The MA girls trailed the Lady Colonels 16-9 after one quarter and were down 18-15 at the half. They were behind 30-21 following three periods and that deficit increased to 12 points early in the fourth quarter. But Marshall didn’t die. They outscored Indianola 15-4 in the final six minutes and almost pulled off the shocker.
Lane Cunningham led the offense with 11 points. Emma Elgin and Elizabeth Skelton scored nine each. Chelsey Gilliam and Lori Simpson added five and four, respectively.
“The junior high girls were in the same boat as the boys,” Austin said in summarizing the season. “Having to replace all five starters with relatively untested players is never easy. We had a lot to learn from the start but they were hungry to learn and improve. They were a very coachable and enjoyable group to work with. They came to practice every day ready to work hard and get better.
“They came so far from that first game against Memphis Home School. They showed tremendous heart and guts all year. To mount as many late comebacks as they did can only speak to their character as well. They are a special group of young women.”
The Lady Patriots reached the district tourney championship battle with an amazing 41-28 win over Lee (Clarksdale) in the semi-finals. They trailed 19-6 late in the second quarter but remarkably outscored the Fillies 19-0 the rest of that period and through the third. They were up 25-19 heading into the fourth and stretched the margin.
Gilliam and Simpson scored 12 each. Elgin followed with nine.
The Marshall junior high girls coasted in round one of the tournament - 40-13 over host Carroll Academy. Elgin and Gilliam tossed in 11 points each. Cunningham added eight.
Leading up to the district tournament, the Lady Patriots went 6-3 to close out the regular season.
MA started the post-holiday portion of its schedule with a 37-28 win over Lee (Ark.) They were up 23-10 at the half. Elgin and Cunningham were the top scorers with 12 each. Gilliam contributed nine.
Next they turned back Carroll Academy 26-23. Simpson led the offense with 10 points.
The Lady Patriots dropped a 39-31 decision at home to Lee (Clarksdale). Elgin scored 16 and Cunningham eight.
They rebounded to knock off big school Magnolia Heights 45-26. The lead was 24-11 at halftime. Cunningham lit up the scoreboard with 18 points. Elgin followed with eight.
MA visited Indianola and bounced back from a 19-10 halftime deficit before losing 32-31. Gilliam had a 13-point night and Elgin scored 10.
Elgin’s 22-point performance led the way in a 43-23 rout of Kirk Academy. Gilliam contributed 11.
Next the Marshall junior high girls defeated Memphis Home School 55-43. Elgin blistered the nets with 28 points. Cunningham added 12 and Gilliam nine.
MA then avenged an earlier loss to Lee by beating the Fillies 34-32 in Clarksdale. Elgin scored 15 and Cunningham eight.
The Lady Patriots concluded the regular season with a 41-38 home loss to Indianola Academy. Elgin led the MA point producers with 15. Skelton scored nine.
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