Thursday, February 19, 2009
By BARRY BURLESON
A rugged start against juggernaut Leake Academy proved too much for the Marshall Academy Lady Patriots to overcome.
The Lady Pats fell behind 15-1 after one quarter in the Class AA North State championship game Saturday afternoon at Canton but played even with the Lady Rebels the rest of the way. They lost the game 67-53.
“Getting to the championship game was a huge accomplishment,” coach Craig Dailey said. “Leake is just tough. We were real sluggish out of the start, down 14. But we battled back.”
The MA girls trailed 31-14 at the half and were behind by as many as 23 points in the third quarter. But four threes from Traci Rodgers in a two-minute span sliced the deficit. Marshall was down 49-36 after three, thanks to Emily Burk’s steal and layup.
Another Rodgers three got the Lady Patriots within nine, 51-42, at the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter. But that was a close as they’d get.
Rodgers, with Leake defenders in her face, hit seven threes in the game. She finished with 32 pints.
“Traci was unreal,” Coach Dailey said. “It was one of the best individual performances I’ve ever seen.”
Named to the all-tournament team were Rodgers, Regan Murphy and Kelsey Shaw.
The Lady Patriots had no trouble in the first two rounds at North State.
They dominated host Canton Academy 69-35 on Tuesday of last week. They went up 23-6 to open the game and led 43-20 at halftime.
Rodgers blistered the nets with 28 points. Burk added 11 and Shaw nine.
Friday’s semi-final win over Manchester Academy was even easier. The final was 64-27.
Eight Lady Patriots scored. Rodgers led the way with 23. Shaw contributed 12 and Burk nine. MA hit 11 threes in the game.
The lead was 36-12 at the half.
The Marshall girls, second from the north and 31-8 on the season, face Prairie View, third from the south, in round one of the Class AA State Basketball Tournament at Brookhaven Wednesday at 4 p.m. With a win, they will face the Oak Forest-Manchester winner Friday at 1 p.m. and also automotically qualify for next week’s Mississippi Private School Association Overall Tournament.
“Luckily, Leake and Brookhaven are on the other side of the bracket,” Dailey said. “We will face a strong Prairie View team first and all the teams are tough at this point.
“If we can come out on top (at state), nobody will remember last week (the loss to Leake).”
The State Tournament concludes Saturday.
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