Thursday, December 22, 2011
Patriots grab win in ‘tough place’
By BARRY BURLESON
It was a hardwood classic, bringing back memories of the Marshall Academy-Fayette Academy basketball rivalry of years ago.
The 2011-12 edition of the Patriots spoiled the closing of the tradition-rich gymnasium in Somerville, Tenn., with a 60-47 win in enemy territory Saturday night. The Lady Vikings and Vikings will soon move into a new gym on campus.
“I have heard all the stories about Marshall-Fayette wars over the years,” said coach Craig Dailey, whose MA team upped its record to 13-2. “I get it now. That was a tough place to play.
“That was the last game in their old gym. If I was them I think I might want to make sure and take a lot of the old gym’s lore to the new one. That was a fun basketball game.
“There is a ‘method to the madness’ in regard to our scheduling. We want to win overall and that will take being able to play in the worst of the worst road situations. We have won in some tough, tough places, but this one is at the top.”
The game was a nail-biter throughout. But when Peyton Lewis nailed a pair of free throws with 2:51 to go in the second quarter, the Patriots led 23-22 and never trailed again.
Kevin Fitzpatrick’s steal and layup made it 29-24 at the half.
Early in the third, Chase Ferrell scored on a nice move to the hoop. It was 33-26 and Fayette asked for a timeout.
MA was up by five at the end of the third. In the fourth, freshman Dakota Dailey, who was heckled by the Fayette student section each time he touched the ball, delivered the daggers. He drilled a long-range three at the 7:16 mark and another with 2:24 left that put the Pats up 53-46.
“Dakota had a heck of a game, and those late threes took the air out of their balloon,” his dad, the coach, said.
Dailey finished with 17 points. Peyton Lewis and Kevin Fitzpatrick had 11 each.
“Peyton had another solid outing,” Coach Dailey said. “Kevin was saddled with fouls most of the night but found a way to help lead us on both ends of the floor.”
He praised the defensive effort of Matt Rappa.
“Matt was the turning point in the game,” Dailey said. “He has an innate ability to pester and annoy kids you wouldn’t even think he could stay with. It’s heart and grit.”
The huge Saturday night win in neighboring Tennessee followed a District 1-AA victory Friday at home over Kirk Academy.
The Patriots, leading by 11 at the half, exploded in the third quarter and routed the Raiders 70-33.
Lewis hit four threes in the third to provide the spark. He and Fitzpatrick had a game-high 16 points each. Dailey followed with 11. Eleven Patriots scored.
MA is 3-0 in district play.
“We were slow out of the gate and then it was over,” Coach Dailey said. “That third quarter was impressive, regardless of the opponent.”
He is looking forward to the post-Christmas slate.
“Whether it is in the cards for us to reach our lofty goals, I don’t know,” he said. “But what I do know is this group is on track to be the best I have ever put on the floor. That, in itself is a pretty high compliment.
“I told Bridgett (his wife), don’t get me anything for Christmas because this bunch has already given it. It’s going to be a fun January and February. Fans, save some cash from the holidays for the next two months so you can all come along for the ride.”
The Lady Patriots had a tough week – losing 48-27 to Kirk and 49-19 to Fayette. Their record went to 6-10.
The MA girls were down 14-0 after one quarter to Kirk, one of the favorites to win Class AA state this year. The Lady Patriots’ first bucket came at the 6:36 mark of the second quarter. They were behind 27-8 at halftime.
Marshall is 1-2 in the district.
“Kirk can guard you,” Coach Dailey said. “Coach (Mike) Reans’ teams will always play the best man-to-man around, but this group has another gear in that regard. They have a shot at state.”
At Fayette, the story was much the same. The Lady Patriots fell behind 13-1 after one quarter and did not score their first field goal until the 2:50 mark of the second quarter. They were down 27-7 at the half.
“We were, for the first time all year, deer in the headlights,” Dailey said. “Don’t get me wrong, they have a very good team, but we made them a lot better than they were in that first quarter. The kids bowed up and played better after that.
“I thought my junior high girls (playing varsity, too) did a good job in both games (Kirk and Fayette) of turning loose and playing. We need the break. We will come back, go to work and get better.”
Marshall teams play in the Magnolia Heights Classic December 28-30.
The Patriots meet Lewisburg Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 2:15 p.m. in the first round, while the Lady Pats face Southaven the same day at 3:30 p.m.
With a win, the Class AA Marshall boys will play the DeSoto Central-Fayette Academy survivor on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 4:45 p.m. One of the Pats’ two losses was to 6A public school DeSoto Central, which enters this week unbeaten.
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