Thursday, December 15, 2011
‘An electric atmosphere’
By BARRY BURLESON
The Marshall Academy varsity boys ventured back into the land of the public schools over the weekend and had more success.
“We will go to the Christmas break 4-1 versus public schools and if we can get to the semi-finals of the Magnolia Tournament (December 27-29), we will get another shot at the one that got away (DeSoto Central),” coach Craig Dailey said. “I hope they are still unblemished at that point and it will make for an exciting game.”
The Patriots beat Hickory Flat and Alcorn Central, respectively, after routing District 1-AA foe Carroll earlier in the week. They improved to 11-2 overall.
Dailey called it an “electric atmosphere” Friday in Benton County as the MA boys won 75-63 in front of a full house.
“We have played in some very hostile environments already this young season and this was one of the most hostile,” he said. “It makes for a fun, competitive night for our schools. It should be a wild one when the Benton Countians come to Marshall County (January 27, 2012).”
Kevin Fitzpatrick set the tone early and carried Marshall on his shoulders much of the night. He finished with 23 points.
“Kevin is such a competitor,” Dailey said. “He did a heck of a job negating their post presence.”
The Pats were up 15-12 after one quarter and 35-30 at the half after leading by as many as nine.
The gap widened back to nine in the third when Fitzpatrick converted a three-point play. It was 56-45 at the end of the period before the Pats went on to win by 12.
“I want to thank our student section; they were a blast,” Dailey said. “Togetherness is something that makes our school special, and the epitomized it by coming down to Hickory Flat to support the team.”
Aaron McAlexander and Dakota Dailey added 16 points each.
“They make for a deadly combination,” Coach Dailey said.
Courtney Bean poured in 19 for the Rebels. Anthony Tucker and James Jones scored 14 and 13, respectively.
“Coach (Michael) Segar does a great job with his kids,” Dailey said, “and I saw a ton of improvement from this summer. It should be a fun rematch when they come to us.”
The Lady Patriots were within five of Hickory Flat at the half before falling 54-32.
“Coach (Alicia) Pickens has done a great job of resurrecting their girls program,” Dailey said.
The Lady Rebels outscored MA 28-11 in the second half.
Elizabeth Skelton had 15 to lead the Lady Pats.
“She had one of her best nights to keep us hanging around for a half,” Dailey said. “Wesleyann (Ray) led us in scoring the second half and defended one of their stars well. She is coming on.”
For Hickory Flat, Amber Thompson and Kadejar Moore were the top guns with 21 each. Brianna Reeves had 12.
The Marshall boys played an afternoon game Saturday following the win over Hickory Flat and survived a sluggish outing. They turned back the Golden Bears 58-54 in the Ruritan Shootout at Walnut.
“They were a gritty, skilled group that would not go away,” Coach Dailey said. “I do not believe in zone (defense) but on any given day, it can give you issues if you shoot poorly, and we did for a large portion of the game.”
Dailey provided some clutch buckets and finished with a game-high 28. Ferrell had 11 and Peyton Lewis 10.
“It is hard to zone Dakota long without paying for it,’ Coach Dailey said. “Chase found the gaps in the zone and got some cheap ones inside to help pull us away. Peyton had a big first half hobbling on one foot (due to a nagging injury).”
The game was tied at 12 after one period. To start the second, Dailey nailed a couple of threes. Andy Burleson drilled a three and Ferrell got a steal and layup to give MA its biggest lead of 17 and force an Alcorn Central timeout.
But the Bears would not go away. They cut it to five once in the third and three in the fourth before Dailey’s free throws sealed it.
“I thought Andy and Vince (Hoyt) came in during the second quarter to spark a run that was the difference in the game,” he said.
The Marshall girls, playing without Lane Cunningham and Chelsey Gilliam who were taking the ACT, stayed close to the Lady Bears for three quarters before losing 71-51.
When Skelton drilled a three at the 5:06 mark of the third, MA was down 39-36.
“We were forced to play with six and we hung around for most of the game,” Dailey said. “Special thanks to Darcie Gibson for filling in for some of our missing players. It mean a lot to me and the girls.
“Elizabeth had another good game on both ends of the floor.”
Emma Elgin hit four threes in the first quarter and finished with 23. Skelton scored 13. Blake Martin had seven and Ray six.
“Emma was unconscious the first half,” he said.
MA vs. Carroll
The Lady Patriots and Patriots swept District 1-AA opponent Carroll Academy Tuesday of last week in Carrollton.
The MA girls, after building a 16-4 lead early in the second quarter, struggled the rest of the way. But they survived with a 38-35 win.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all, but to walk out of there with a ‘W’ says a lot about my girls,” Dailey said.
They actually fell behind by one in the third quarter and the game was tied at 26 at the end of the period.
Elgin scored 10 of her team’s 12 points in the fourth. She finished with 20, including 11 of 13 from the free-throw stripe.
Cunningham was also in double digits with 12 as the Lady Pats evened their district mark at 1-1.
The MA boys poured it on in the second half, outscoring the Rebels 36-17 and recording a 76-46 win.
The Pats’ lead was just 18-15 after one quarter and 40-29 at the half.
“We had a sluggish defensive start,” Dailey said, “but the boys responded by exploding offensively and tightening up defensively in the next two frames. When you play bad and win by 30, that’s not too bad.”
Eleven Marshall players scored. Fitzpatrick, Brad Bennett and McAlexander led the balanced attack with 14, 13, and 10 points, respectively.
The Patriots moved to 2-0 in the district.
MA teams host district rival Kirk Friday before visiting Fayette Academy (Tenn.) Saturday to wrap up competition before Christmas.
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