Thursday, January 5, 2012
Patriots take third in holiday classic
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy teams visited Tate County last week and faced mostly DeSoto County opposition.
The Patriots finished third in the Magnolia Heights Classic at Senatobia – beating Lewisburg, losing to DeSoto Central and defeating Hernando, all much larger DeSoto County public schools.
The Lady Pats went 1-3, two of the losses being to DeSoto County schools. They fell to Southaven and district rival North Delta and knocked off Lewisburg.
Marshall jumped all over Lewisburg in the early going Wednesday and held off a third quarter rally try by the opposition before pulling away for a 56-40 win.
“We just couldn’t put them away,” coach Craig Dailey said. “We got up early and never could really get that intensity back. The thing about the public schools – it is like playing our AAA schools – even the ones that aren’t upper tier have players and athletes and can compete on any given night.”
Matt Rappa saved the basketball from going out of bounds and got it to teammate Chase Ferrell, who scored just before the halftime buzzer. The lead was 33-18.
Lewisburg cut it to seven in the third and trailed 40-32 at the end of the quarter.
But with 7:37 to go in the game, Kevin Fitzpatrick made a steal, drove to the hoop, scored and was fouled. He hit the free throw for a 43-32 lead and momentum swing.
Fitzpatrick’s 18 points led MA’s attack. Dakota Dailey had 15.
The Patriots, in the top five of Class AA among private schools, met DeSoto Central, one of the top-five-ranked teams in Class 6A among public schools Thursday. It was no contest from the start. MA fell 76-35.
The Pats have three losses this season, two of those to the big school Jaguars.
“A friend told me after the game, ‘Craig, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. We were definitely splattered. But guess what, we get to to back to AA of the MAIS and they get to go strap on Biloxi and Gulfport.”
Turnovers killed the Patriots early. They were down 27-7 after one quarter and the margin was stretched to 49-15 at the half.
No Marshall players scored in double figures. Aaron McAlexander had eight.
“The fact that we have the confidence and ‘belief’ to enter a game like that thinking we have a legitimate shot and they they are high-fiving after beating us speaks volumes to where we have come as a program.
“Don’t get me wrong. They have a special team and I wish them the best of luck. It isn’t fun to get whipped like that, but it is essential to develop as a team. You learn a thousand times more from a lost than a win, and I learned a ton about us in this one that will help us improve during the January push.”
Dailey and Brad Bennett combined for 36 points as the Patriots claimed third in the tourney with a 59-47 win over Class 5A Hernando Friday.
Dailey tossed in 20 and Bennett 16.
The game was tight throughout with MA trailing by one after a quarter and leading by two after the second and third. The Pats then outscored the Tigers 19-9 in the fourth for the 12-point win.
The Pats are 15-3.
“You learn a lot more about a person in tough moments than when it is all rosey,” Dailey said. “The boys responded well to the prior night’s debacle and beat a solid team who played one of their better games.
The Lady Patriots had an enormous task to open the Magnolia Classic Wednesday afternoon. They lost 65-28 to Southaven, ranked third in Class 6A public school teams in the state.
“It is not fun to get whipped,” Dailey said, “but it was fun to see possibly the best girls team in the state.”
MA struggled against the full-court pressure, trailing 10-0 early and 23-7 after one quarter.
Lady Patriot Emma Elgin drilled three long-range shots in the second quarter but Marshall was still down 37-19 at intermission.
Elgin, who Dailey said “shot lights out,” finished with 23 points, including six threes.
The Marshall girls bounced back strong Thursday – giving a favored North Delta squad all it could handle before losing 40-33.
“We have really improved and every game versus North Delta, we gain some insight to maybe getting them when it matters down the road,” he said.
The Lady Pats were down 19-15 at the half.
Elgin was red on fire again. She had 17 points, with 15 of those coming on five threes. Elizabeth Skelton had eight and Blake Martin six.
Coach Dailey complimented the defense of Chelsey Gilliam, saying he is “proud of her heart and intensity.”
MA finished the tough tournament on a high note Friday with a 52-27 win over Class 4A public school Lewisburg.
“We needed this one,” he said. “It has been a tough run of games especially with Magnolia Heights’ gift of Southaven in our first game back from Christmas.”
The Lady Patriots were up 17-8 after one quarter and extended the lead to 25-12 at the half and 39-16 following three periods.
Elgin finished her shooting show in the tournament with 26 points.
“She has really got back into a shooting groove,” Dailey said.
Wesleyann Ray had eight and Lane Cunningham seven.
“Wesleyann had a tremendous game on both ends of the floor, and Lane had one of her best games, too,” he said.
The Lady Pats are 7-12.
“With the upcoming game, we could string a few wins together and get a little confidence going into the stretch run,” Dailey said.
MA visit Magnolia Heights Thursday and hosts Carroll Friday. The boys play Williams Sullivan, a Class 2A public school, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Hickory Flat.
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