Thursday, February 20, 2014
Patriots win North A crown
By BARRY BURLESON
One week after losing to West Memphis Christian in the District 1-A title game, Marshall Academy turned the tide.
“Each week gets bigger,” said coach Craig Dailey, referring to the trek through the post-season.
The Patriots claimed the North A Tournament championship trophy last Saturday night on their home court, beating the Black Knights 55-49 in what has become a heated rivalry.
“They have a very good team,” he said. “Our kids answered the challenge.”
With the win, the Patriots (15-17) get a bye in the Class A Tournament this week at Rebul Academy in Learned. They face the Kemper-Claiborne winner Thursday at 7:45 p.m. MA is going after its fourth straight state crown, the previous three in Class AA.
“These opportunities don’t come along often, and Class A is extremely tough,” Dailey said. “This week is why you play the game – an opportunity to put the rings on and get your team picture on the wall.”
The North A championship win over West Memphis was sweet. It was a fifth straight North title, the previous four in AA.
“That’s a huge accomplishment,” Dailey said.
The defenses dominated early. MA fell behind 5-0 but bounced back to lead 12-9 after one quarter.
The second period was back and forth, and the contest was knotted at 20 at halftime.
The Patriots’ Christian Compton started the third with a three. The Knights rallied to lead by two, 33-31. Another three by Compton and Andrew Herrington’s bucket, on a pass from Dakota Dailey, made it 36-33 MA at the end of the third.
Perhaps the biggest shot in the fourth came with 5:07 left. Thomas Faulkenbery drilled a three that grabbed the momentum for MA for good. The lead was 45-41.
“Thomas gave us some huge minutes, and that shot right there was huge,” Coach Dailey said.
With 2:15 remaining, Herrington hit a key shot and then Dailey sealed the deal with two free throws at the 40-second mark.
“It was a total team effort,” Coach Dailey said.
He said his son had another great game, Herrington played his best of the season, Compton was “calm and in control” and Corteze Love and Jordon Harris made big contributions.
Dailey connected for 24 points, including 14 of 17 from the charity stripe. Compton and Herrington added 12 each. As a team, Marshall hit 22 of 27 free-throw tries.
The Patriots made it to the finals of the North A Tournament, thanks to victories over Greenville Christian and Delta Academy.
Dailey blistered the nets for 31 points as Marshall knocked off Greenville Christian 56-47 Thursday night in Holly Springs.
It proved to be a tough test in round one. MA led by just two at halftime and by four at the end of the third.
Love also scored in double figures with 10 points.
MA was 26 of 35 from the free-throw line. Dailey hit 18 of 20 attempts.
It was an emotional contest Friday in the semi-finals when the Patriots collided with Delta Academy.
Both Dailey and his assistant, Keith Taylor, are former head coaches at the school in Marks.
In the end, Dailey, Taylor, their sons and the rest of the Pats celebrated a hard-fought 72-68 victory.
Peyton Taylor provided the early spark. He drilled three threes in the first half, and Dailey and Compton also sank their own long-range bombs.
MA was up 23-12 after one quarter and stretched the lead to 13 with 1:36 to go in the second period.
Just before the halftime horn, Dailey unleashed a desperation shot from beyond half court. He was fouled and after the call, a Delta player was whistled for a technical foul.
Dailey went to the line and hit five free throws to give the Patriots a 43-29 lead.
It looked as if Marshall had tucked the win away in the third, going up by 18 points (57-39).
But there was no quit in the Raiders. They kept trimming and trimming the deficit. They sliced it to nine at the six-minute mark, seven with 4:00 left, five with 38 seconds to go, three with 16 ticks remaining and two with eight seconds to go.
Compton got loose for a bucket with four seconds left as the Pats escaped with the four-point win.
Dailey, Compton, Love and Herrington were named to the all-tournament team.
With a win Thursday at state, Marshall goes to the semi-finals Friday. The finals are set for Saturday night at Rebul Academy.
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