Thursday, February 7, 2013
Marshall boys beat MRA by 18
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy passed a strong test last week in Jackson as it tunes up for tournament time.
The Class AA Patriots blistered big school Madison Ridgeland Academy 68-50.
“Two years in a row, we go to MRA and win,” said coach Craig Dailey. “That doesn’t come along often.”
Marshall snatched control early, going up 18-7, and led by eight at halftime. The visiting team then outscored MRA 20-11 in the third to put the victory on ice.
“A friend of mine asked why we were going back again this year, since we went there last year, and I said, ‘You don’t think they are coming to us, do you? After the game, he texted back and said, “They aren’t going to let you come back there if you keep beating them.”
Dailey firmly believes traveling to the Jackson area to play the talented Class AAA schools pays off come tournament time.
“Barometers like MRA and Prep are keys to finding out where we are and what we have to work on,” he said. “I would like to thank Coach Gunn (headmaster) and the Booster Club for allowing us the freedom to test these waters so far away from home. They play a huge part in our playoff success.”
Peyton Lewis and Dakota Dailey sparked an offense that was clicking on all cylinders Tuesday night, Jan. 29, in the MRA gym. They scored 24 points each. Randy Love added 10 points, including a tomahawk dunk in the closing minute.
“Peyton was as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Coach Dailey said. “Like I’ve said before, when he plays at that level, we are hard to beat.
“Dakota has found himself in our new offensive scheme. He is creating for his teammates and finding cheap points for himself. He is becoming an exceptional leader.
“Randy – I am so proud of this young man. He has come far in a short time and in particular the last three weeks. He has bought into our system. His dunk was icing on a very sweet cake – so much so I couldn’t even fuss at him for hanging on the rim.”
Dailey also praised the defense of Brad Bennett, Antonio Love and Devonte Smith versus MRA.
“Brad is playing the ‘stopper’ role at an extremely high level,” he said. “Antonio and Devonte tag-teamed their big post man.”
The Pats (25-3) finished the regular season by visiting Class 5A public school Center Hill Tuesday night.
Next up is the District 1-AA Tournament this weekend at Indianola Academy.
“I’m excited about where we are – going into the playoffs,” said Dailey, whose team will be seeking a third straight state crown. “We have fixed a lot from the Prep loss and seem to have found ourselves on the offensive end. It’s going to be a fun journey.”
The Marshall girls ran into a buzz saw at MRA. They fell 49-18.
“We knew going in this was going to be an extremely tough matchup,” Dailey said. “MRA is unbelievably long, fast and athletic for a girls team. That isn’t a good combo for us to counteract.
“This basically shows us where we have to get to and our girls are headed in the right direction.”
Top scorers for the Lady Patriots in the loss were Elizabeth Skelton and Kara Novarese with six each.
The MA girls (18-12) will also be the top seed in this week’s district tournament.
Both Marshall teams will play Friday in the semi-finals at Indianola – the girls facing the North Delta-Carroll winner at 4 p.m. and the boys meeting the Kirk-Carroll winner at 5:15.
The consolation and championship games are set for Saturday in this order – 2 p.m. (girls), 3:15 (boys), 4:30 (girls) and 5:45 (boys).
The top four will advance to North State next week at Leake Academy.
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