Thursday, February 3, 2011
MA sweeps North Delta, Marvell
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy basketball teams finished off an unblemished regular season run through District 1-AA play last week.
The Lady Patriots and Patriots went to Batesville Monday night, Jan. 24, and downed North Delta.
With 8-0 district marks, they enter the tournament this weekend at North Delta as the top seeds.
The Marshall girls rode the hot shooting of Kelsey Shaw to a nerve-racking 42-41 win over the Lady Green Wave.
Shaw gunned in 25 points, while Callie Clanton added 13.
The Lady Patriots trailed much of the way. They were down 14-9 after one quarter and 25-18 at intermission.
“Kelsey single-handedly kept us in it the first half, scoring 14 of our 18, and then kept that torrid pace,” coach Craig Dailey said. “She was on fire.”
Emma Elgin tied the game with two points at the 2:53 mark of the third. They snatched the lead, 32-29, with 2:13 to go in the period when Shaw drained a three. A couple of buckets from Clanton put MA in front 36-31 following three periods.
“Callie had a big second half and we found a way to win,” Dailey said.
Lane Cunningham nailed a pair of clutch free throws with 1:49 left in the game to put the Lady Pats up by four, 42-38. The visitors hung on to win by one when North Delta missed a shot just before the final buzzer.
“We finished 8-0 in conference with six of those wins coming by one or two points,” he said. “That is a testament to the character and heart of my kids, but also a reminder that there is little room for error between the penthouse and the outhouse in our district.”
The Marshall boys maintained a lead throughout over the Green Wave but could not put the game on ice until the closing minutes. They won 53-38.
“The regular season district came down to the two best teams duking it out – that’s how it is supposed to be,” Dailey said. “It was a signature defensive effort for us. If we can sustain that kind of effort on the defensive end, the rest will fall into place.”
The Patriots played well out of the starting gate – going up 11-0 before North Delta’s first bucket at the 1:17 mark of the first quarter.
MA led 23-13 late in the second quarter when Kevin Fitzpatrick scored off an assist from Andy Burleson.
The gritty Green Wave cut it to four in the third but Peyton Lewis and Chase Ferrell got hot and led an offensive surge that pushed MA ahead 38-26.
North Delta, with a never-say-die approach, got to within five in the final quarter. Then Taylor Maurey and Lewis hit two shots apiece and the lead was suddenly 11 with 1:56 remaining. Both Maurey and Lewis drilled free throws in the final minute to lift Marshall to the 15-point victory.
“It will be another epic battle Saturday (in the district tournament championship game), if we can make it back to them,” Dailey said. “That will be for a blue trophy.”
Lewis tossed in 18 points in last week’s win at Batesville. Ferrell followed with 13, while Maurey had nine and Fitzpatrick eight.
“Peyton was a ‘man child’ on both ends of the floor,” Dailey said. “We have seen spurts of his ability and it all finally came out on the floor. He just has to keep it up the rest of the way.
“Chase had a good offensive night, including knocking down two uncharacteristic threes. He is a ‘gamer.’
“Taylor and Kevin had steady offensive and defensive games. John (Tomlinson) and Chase played excellent defense.”
On “Senior Night” Friday, the MA varsity squads swept Marvell, Ark., to close out the home portion of its 2010-11 schedule.
The Lady Pats trailed the Lady Eagles early but used its pressure defense and key shots to nail down a 29-22 win, their 20th of the season.
“It was a huge effort on senior night – paying back an earlier loss (to Marvell) we received,” Dailey said.
MA was down 7-6 after one period. But when Clanton scored back-to-back buckets early in the second, the Lady Patriots never fell behind again.
Elgin’s three with 1:18 to go in the first half built the margin to 17-7.
Marvell cut it to seven midway through the fourth but Elgin’s drive and basket a minute later secured the win.
Clanton led the offense with 13. Elgin had 12.
The MA girls improved their overall record to 20-10.
“Callie and Emma paced us with solid offensive nights versus a tough defensive team,” he said. “Megan (Anderson) had a tremendous defensive first half. When she plays with that focus she can be a big factor.
“My four seniors (Lauralee Fant, Clanton, Shaw and Anderson) have had a special run this season and have been big contributors to our program’s success for a long time. They will be sorely missed. They are playing their best basketball individually and collectively at the end and that is what it is all about.”
It was no contest in the boys matchup. Marshall rolled 55-10.
The visiting Eagles did not even get a shot off until 40 seconds remained in the first quarter. And they did not score until 18 seconds were left in the opening period.
The Patriots led 19-2 after one, 37-6 at the half and 48-8 following three.
Ten players scored. Jordan Brock topped the attack with 13. Mitch Gholson was next with 10.
The Patriots upped their season mark to 23-5.
“I’m really proud of my seniors (Brock, Maurey, Gholson, Tomlinson and Joey Omedeo), and glad I could let them leave the MA floor for their final time with a start,” Dailey said.
MA closed the regular season with games at Madison Ridgeland Academy Monday night.
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