Thursday, December 1, 2011
Patriots shock 6A Southaven
By BARRY BURLESON
Tiny Marshall Academy went toe-to-toe with the big boys prior to the Thanksgiving break and came away with one huge win.
Coach Craig Dailey’s private school Patriots, playing in the Southaven Shootout, beat one 6A public school by 11 points and lost to another by 20 after being down by just one at the half.
The Patriots shocked the host Chargers 68-57 Tuesday, Nov. 22.
“It ranks right up there with one of our program’s biggest regular season wins,” he said. “It goes a long way to show where we are as a program. The kids learned so much the night before (a loss to DeSoto Central) and then used that knowledge to beat an equally-athletic team a few hours later. That shows maturity, heart and internal character that leads to championships.”
MA trailed Southaven by four early but Dakota Dailey and Brad Bennett hit back-to-back threes to knot the game at 10. Then Chase Ferrell went the length of the floor for a lay-up to put the Pats up 16-14 after one period.
In the second quarter, Bennett, Andy Burleson and Kevin Fitzpatrick all drained long-range bombs, and Peyton Lewis earned a three-pointer the old-fashioned way – the hoop plus one free throw. Another Bennett three closed the half and the Patriots were in command at 47-34.
Marshall stretched the lead to 17 points after three periods before Southaven cut it to eight with 1:34 to go in the game. Lewis and Burleson hit free throws in the closing 38 seconds to seal the victory.
“It was a tremendous all-around game on both ends of the floor – the best total team effort we have had in a long, long time,” Coach Dailey said. “When we click on these cylinders defensively and offensively, we are a hard team to prepare for and to beat. This is the potential this team has. I would hate to defend us when we are able to produce like this.”
Bennett finished with 16 to l ead a balanced attack. Dailey and Lewis followed with 13 and 12, respectively. Fitzpatrick and Ferrell had 11 each.
“Brad was on fire,” Coach Dailey said. “He is playing the two-guard position to perfection. Dakota had another very solid game. He just took what they gave him and ran our offense and found their defensive mistakes.
“Peyton bounced back from the night before with a big game offensively and defensively. Kevin and Chase rounded out the main scoring with some huge baskets and acrobatic plays along with stifling their stars on defense.
“Vince (Hoyt) came in to help us weather some foul trouble. He has really proven himself to me. Andy hit a huge three and clutch free throws down the stretch.”
The Patriots hung with a very talented DeSoto Central team for one half, trailing 28-27. But the second half was all Jaguars as they won 72-52.
“We had an excellent first half on the defensive end and missed some easy shots early we normally hit that could have given us a cushion we needed in the second half,” Dailey said. “They are very, very good – the most athletic and skilled team we have played to date and very well could be all year. They execute offensively extremely well, and stuck us defensively.
“DeSoto Central has about 100 more kids in one class than we have in our whole school. Taking on the challenge of competing with a school this size will only make us stronger for the end run.”
The Patriots hit just nine of 21 from the free-throw stripe, some of those the front ends of one-and-one situations.
The Jaguars outscored MA 22-12 in the third and 22-13 in the fourth.
Ferrell scored 19. Dailey added 18, including five threes.
“Chase went to war with me,” Dailey said. “He battled them tooth and nail.
“Dakota had 14 in the first half and they really focused on denying him and slowing him down in the second half.
“If we do our job we will meet DeSoto Central again at Christmas in the semi-finals of the Magnolia Heights Tournament. It will be a great barometer to see how much better we have gotten.
“Basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint. That section of the race will tell a lot about what we are capable of this year.”
The Patriots (5-2) started District 1-AA play Tuesday at home versus North Delta. They host Magnolia Heights Thursday and travel to Oak Hill Saturday. Next Tuesday, Dec. 6, they hit the road to battle district foe Carroll.
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