Thursday, July 12, 2012
Patriots shine at camp
By BARRY BURLESON
A glittering 14-1 record at the recent MRA Basketball Camp has coach Craig Dailey anticipating more success for his Marshall Academy Patriots.
The Pats had several quality wins, including Jackson Prep, East Rankin, Brookhaven, Pillow and Canton.
One of the biggest was by 30 points over Brookhaven.
“The kids made a statement in that game, in particular, and throughout the week,” Dailey said. “We have a lot of getting better to do, but we definitely made tremendous strides to where we need to be this summer.”
The lone loss was to the host, Madison Ridgeland Academy, on the final day.
“Playing them at their own camp isn’t easy,” Dailey said, “but as I told the kids, it’s Overall practice. It will not be a lot different at Clinton if we make it back.”
MA has won back-to-back Class AA state championships and finished as runner-up to Prep in the Overall Tournament last season.
“I am extremely excited about the possibilities of the upcoming season,” he said. “We deservedly are the favorites in AA and have a tremendous shot to knock on the Overall door again.”
Dailey praised the contributions from all of his Patriots during the week.
“Peyton (Lewis) played the best basketball to date for us,” he said. “If he can maintain the level of play he showed during the week, we just took a major step.
“Brad (Bennett) shot lights out all week, but has also taken his offense to another level and has become an all-around scorer.
“Matt (Rappa) made us a 10- to 15-point better team. His experience showed. He played with a different level of mental toughness and grit.
“Randy (Love) doesn’t even look like the same player. People thought we had picked up a new kid. Offensively he is able to do a lot more and defensively he had ‘stopper’ moments.
“Antonio (Love) was a load at times inside. With all our other weapons, it is often one-on-one inside for him and that’s good for us.
“Dakota (Dailey) was as good as there was at the camp. I think he has been playing at MRA Camp since like the fourth grade and it shows. I look for him to be able to put us on his shoulders at times.
“Thomas (Faulkenbery), Jacob (Driggers) and Josh (Mask) all had good A-team minutes and gained valuable experience for the regular season playing-time push. Our depth is our only real weakness and they showed an ability to help us shore that up.
“Tobe (West) and Dalton (Pritchard) played well in B-team action. We had a third team for the first time in awhile and Boyce (McKinney), Whitt (Rodgers), Blue (Hickman) and Cortez (Love) gained so much from the week and really improved versus high school competition. Tristan (Person) held down our filming duties since he was sidelined with a knee issue. We will get a lot from studying our game tapes and have a leg up on scouting when the season begins.”
Coach Dailey said basketball is a marathon, not a sprint, but the Patriots’ summer work has definitely given them a head start for the 2012-13 season.
“Championships are won and lost between May and August, and we went a long way this summer getting ourselves ready to three-peat,” he said.
“My wife Bridgett said this is the most I have ever done during the summer and I agree. I thank my boys for believing in what we do and realizing how important it is to our team and individual development.
“The MA family can expect another fun-filled year on the hardwood.”
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