Thursday, February 25, 2010
Pats end season 25-9
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy’s season-ending loss to Canton Saturday night in the Class AA State Tournament defined heartbreaker.
The Panthers’ Taylor Pierce nailed two free throws with just half a second left on the clock to stun the Patriots 66-65.
MA finishes with a 25-9 record, a District 1-AA championship and a North Half crown.
“Our two seniors – Caleb Byrd and Jake Omedeo – have three district titles and two North State championships,” said coach Craig Dailey. “It’s a great building block for where our program is headed.”
The Patriots had rallied from as much as an 11-point deficit in the first half versus Canton and 10 points down in the second half.
Marshall tied the game at 63 with 31 seconds left on Jordan Brock’s steal and lay-up. Then with 11 seconds left teammate Taylor Maurey stole the ball, drove toward the goal and a Panther was called for an intentional foul as he grabbed Maurey from behind. Maurey sank both free throws for the Pats’ first lead of the game, 65-63.
In a wild and crazy finish over the last eight and a half seconds, MA missed a pair of free throws, while Canton hit three of four, including the two with less than a second to go.
The Patriots were just 12 of 26 (46 percent) from the charity stripe in the game played at Indianola.
Scoring in double figures for Marshall were Maurey with 17, Caleb Byrd with 16 and Chase Ferrell with 10. Jake Omedeo added eight.
The Pats trailed 19-9 after one quarter, 33-25 at the half and 51-43 following three periods.
Byrd and Omedeo combined for four threes, two each, in the fourth quarter to spark the “never-say-die” effort.
“Caleb (Byrd) had a huge game – a tremendous finish for a senior,” Coach Dailey said. “Taylor (Maurey) got us back in it in the second half. Chase (Ferrell) played steady throughout.”
With the win, Canton advanced to face Class AAA champion Madison Ridgeland Academy on Tuesday of this past week in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall Basketball Tournament.
The Patriots ran into a buzz saw Saturday night in the state semi-finals, five-time defending state champion Brookhaven, and lost 84-57.
“They whipped us out of the gate,” Dailey said. “The guys gutted their way back into the game and just didn’t have enough left to finish.”
Marshall fell behind 5-0 early but cut it to 10-8 at the 5:21 mark of the first period on Brock’s drive the length of the court and bucket.
MA trailed 24-16 at the end of the opening quarter.
The Cougars, cashing in fastbreaks and second-chance shots, stretched its margin in the second quarter. A beyond-half-court shot at the buzzer gave them a 44-24 advantage.
The Patriots did not quit. Back-to-back baskets from Chase Ferrell cut it to 53-42 with 33 seconds to go in the third period. The score was 57-44 at the end of the quarter.
MA got to within 11 at the 3:34 mark of the fourth on Jordan Wyke’s four-point play (a three and a free throw) but it was all Cougars from there as they won by 27 points.
Top scorers for Marshall were Wyke and Ferrell with 14 each, Omedeo with 12 and Brock with 10.
“Chase gave me everything he had – as always,” Dailey said. “Jordo hit some big shots. Jake came alive in the second half to help us compete better.”
Brookhaven went on to beat Bowling Green Saturday night for their sixth straight state title.
“That’s new territory for an MAIS school,” Dailey said. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of five (at Delta) and that was hard enough. They (Brookhaven Cougars) are the bar we have to reach. We just have to go back to work.”
One Patriot, Ferrell, was named to the Class AA All-Tournament Team.
He again praised his two seniors – Byrd and Omedeo.
“Caleb and Jake have worked extremely hard for me and have improved tremendously over our time together,” Dailey said. “I couldn’t ask for more from two young men.
“Beyond the basketball, these are two of the best young men off the court I’ve ever had. I’m extremely proud to have had them in my program.”
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