Thursday, June 21, 2012
Patriots work to defend crown
By BARRY BURLESON
The Marshall Academy Patriots, back-to-back state champions, are hard at work on the basketball court with high hopes of making it three in a row.
The Pats went 7-1 in the recent Southaven Camp. They beat DeSoto Central, Hickory Flat, Southaven, Independence, Lake Cormorant, SBEC and South Pontotoc. Their only loss, without a starter, was to St. Benedict.
“It looks like this group has a good shot at bringing home another state championship and a shot at overall,” coach Craig Dailey said.
The 2011-12 Marshall team, after taking the Class AA state title, lost to big school Jackson Prep in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall Tournament championship game.
Returning starters for the Patriots include Brad Bennett, Peyton Lewis and Dakota Dailey.
“Brad had a great week (at the Southaven Camp), picking up where he left off last season,” Dailey said, “and especially lighting the Jaguars up in the DeSoto Central game.”
He said Lewis played “solid and steady.” Lewis had to leave for a family vacation and missed the St. Benedict game.
Coach Dailey said his son, Dakota, had a tremendous week.
“Dakota seems to be on the verge of taking his game to another level,” he said.
The Love brothers, Randy and Antonio, joined the squad about mid-season last year, and Coach Dailey is looking for major contributions from them in 2012-13.
“Randy is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence and has found another gear on the defensive and offensive ends,” he said.
“Antonio was a beast on the boards and is steadily figuring out what this game is about.”
Other Patriots also contributed valuable minutes.
“Jacob (Driggers) and Thomas (Faulkenbery) supplied some big A-team minutes, especially with Peyton (Lewis) gone,” Dailey said.
“Josh (Mask), Cortez (Love), Dalton (Pritchard) and Tobe (West) had good minutes competing in our B-games.”
Marshall participated in the Center Hill Camp Thursday through Saturday of last week. The Pats’ only loss was to Olive Branch. They defeated Ashland, Center Hill, Byhalia (twice), Hernando (twice), Independence, SBEC and Brighton.
“It was a great week,” Dailey said. “The boys are really growing up and getting better against tough competition.”
The Patriots went to the Tipton-Rosemark Shootout Wednesday (of this week). They will conclude their summer work at the Madison Ridgeland Academy Camp at the end of June – an annual trip for Dailey’s teams.
MA junior high teams are also busy this summer.
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