Thursday, February 17, 2011
By BARRY BURLESON
Peyton Lewis launched a long shot as the clock neared zero.
“I looked at the clock and Peyton at the same time and saw .4 seconds,” coach Craig Dailey said. “It seemed like eternity.
“When it went in, I dropped like I had been shot. I’ve only had two or three games in 18 years end in that fashion and none were on that big of a stage.”
Lewis’ desperation bucket from just beyond the three-point stripe Saturday night lifted the Marshall Academy Patriots to a 48-46 upset of higher-ranked Hillcrest Christian in the North AA Tournament semi-finals. MA advanced to play Simpson Academy Monday night (of this week) at Grenada for the crown.
The Pats in-bounded the ball near its own goal, trailing 46-45 with 6.8 seconds to go.
“I shot once and missed and somebody tipped it out to me,” Lewis said. “Then I just threw it up.”
The sophomore saw the ball bank through the hoop and said his first thought was – “Did it count?”
“It’s the biggest shot I’ve ever hit,” he said.
His teammates mobbed him on the floor.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Coach Dailey said about the huge celebration. “I love to see that kind of love for the game, for each other and for the challenge of competing.”
Marshall led 14-11 after one quarter. Dakota Dailey, an eighth grader, hit three threes in the period and Lewis one.
Senior Taylor Maurey stretched the lead to nine with his drive and lay-up at the 6:01 mark of the second.
MA was up 27-21 at half-time.
Marshall missed four straight free throws midway through the third and the Cougars made a run. They cut it to 30-29 with 1:54 left in the third and forced Coach Dailey to call a timeout.
The Patriots maintained their advantage, 34-31, after three periods.
The teams swapped leads early in the fourth. Hillcrest used some strong boardwork and putbacks to go up 41-39 at the 4:41 mark.
MA trailed 46-43 with 1:28 to go.
With 42 seconds left, the Pats forced a turnover. Kevin Fitzpatrick, a junior, drove to the goal and scored, cutting the deficit to 46-45 with 37 seconds remaining.
Hillcrest spread the floor and ran the clock. MA fouled with 12 seconds to go. The Cougars were not yet in the bonus and had to in-bounds the basketball. Maurey’s hustle on defense forced a turnover and set up the Patriots’ game-winning shot.
“It’s one of the biggest wins in my career,” Coach Dailey said. “It was a huge accomplishment for my kids, my staff and my family.
“The boys showed their heart and what our program is about by not quitting when all looked lost – hustling and scrapping and giving themselves a chance to win. A lesser team would have never been able to put themselves in a situation to win.”
Dailey was the Pats’ top point producer with 19, including five threes. Maurey followed with 10. Lewis had eight and Fitzpatrick seven.
Both Marshall (27-7) and Hillcrest (24-4) will advance to the State AA Tournament this week at Brookhaven. The Cougars played West Memphis in the consolation game at North State Monday night.
“It is going to be a ‘herculean task,’ but with this group ‘holding the rope,’ I have no fear,” Dailey said about the possibility of winning a state championship. “We will be like Daniel in the lion’s den, but I believe our hard work, heart and dedication over these six years (his tenure at MA) will go a long way in seeing us through.
“Win or lose a championship, this group ‘gets it’ as much as any I’ve ever had and when that happens, the sky’s the limit.”
He urged Patriot fans to support the team this week in Brookhaven.
MA vs. Manchester
The Patriots earned a spot in the North AA Tournament semi-finals with a 57-49 win over Manchester Academy Wednesday afternoon of last week.
MA could not pull away from the feisty Mavericks.
The Pats led 13-12 after one quarter. The game was tied at 22 at the half. And Marshall trailed 34-33 entering the fourth.
But Coach Dailey’s squad turned it up a notch in the final period – outscoring Manchester 24-15.
Chase Ferrell was the leading scorer with 14 points. Lewis had 13, eight of those coming in the fourth quarter. Maurey and Fitzpatrick scored eight each.
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