Thursday, March 3, 2011
Patriots finish in overall final four
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy, coming off a Class AA state championship, could not knock off the giant of private school basketball in the state.
The Patriots’ excellent season came to an end Friday night at Mississippi College in the semi-finals of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall Tournament. They lost 75-51 to Class AAA state champion Madison Ridgeland Academy.
It was MRA’s 76th straight win versus an MAIS team. And MRA went on to beat Jackson Prep Saturday for its 77th straight, plus their fifth consecutive MAIS Overall Tournament crown.
“They were definitely the best team in our association,” coach Craig Dailey said. “I hate to lose, but if you’re going to go out, it might as well be against the best.”
Marshall led MRA 2-0 on Taylor Maurey’s drive and bucket. But that was the Pats’ only advantage of the game.
MRA was up 18-6 following one quarter and 39-20 at the half. Alec Rawlings, who scored 23 points in the game, scorched the Marshall defense in the first half with five threes.
But the Patriots showed their spunk in the early part of the second half. Back-to-back baskets by Chase Ferrell, followed by Kevin Fitzpatrick’s lay-up and free throw, quickly sliced the deficit to 39-27.
MRA coach Richard Duease called a timeout and his squad responded.
Two minutes later MRA was up by 18 and the margin was 59-40 following three periods.
MRA, led by big man Justin Malone, out-rebounded Marshall 40-19. The Mississippi State football signee also had a game-high 25 points.
Leading scorers for Marshall were Maurey with 17, Ferrell with 12 and Dakota Dailey with 11. Maurey also had six rebounds and five assists.
Marshall ended it season with a 32-8 record. MRA improved to 32-10.
“I want to thank all of our supporters,” Coach Dailey said. “It was a run for the ages. Years like this are years in the making and require a tremendous amount of commitment from the kids, their families and our administration. I thank them all for the opportunity to lead the kids through this six-year journey.
“I believe the kids learned a lot more than how to dribble and shoot a ball. I know they learned a lot of valuable life lessons that will help them throughout the rest of their lives.
“This ‘We Believe’ journey will go down as one of the greatest runs ever.”
The Patriots advanced to the Overall Tournament “final four” with a 64-52 win Tuesday of last week over Trinity Episcopal. It avenged a disappointing loss to the Saints in the Brookhaven Tournament back in December.
“This was a big win for our program,” Coach Dailey said. “It propelled us to the ‘final four’ of overall – a place we haven’t been in the neighborhood of four decades. Trinity gave us one of our earlier losses and were considered all year to be one of the top MAIS teams. We overcame their athleticism with heart and fundamental defense.”
Marshall shot 78 percent from the free-throw line (25 of 32) and 40 percent from the field (17 of 42). The Pats also had just seven turnovers while forcing 18.
MA was up 16-15 after one quarter, trailed 33-32 at intermission and led 49-47 following three. The Pats then outscored Trinity 15-5 in the fourth.
Top point producers for Marshall were Dailey with 15, Fitzpatrick and Jordan Brock with 12 each and Maurey with 10.
Ferrell had nine points.
Fitzpatrick was nine of 10 from the charity stripe and Dailey eight of 10.
Fitzpatrick and Brock also had five rebounds each.
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