Photos by Theresa Bolden Devore and Penny Lomenick
Julia Nicholson (3) puts up a shot in the finals versus Brookhaven Academy.
Photos by Penny Lomenick
Alexis McGreger is guarded closely as she goes in for a lay-up versus Centerville in the state semi-finals.
Kaylan Parks (right) grabs a rebound versus Glenbrook.
MA teams second in state • Girls’ rally falls short
A gutsy group of Marshall Academy Lady Patriots didn’t throw in the towel after a rocky start in the Class AA state championship game.
Going scoreless in the first quarter and trailing by 18 in the third, MA battled back to tie in the fourth before losing 51-40 to the host school, Brookhaven Academy.
“We got off to a slow start in a tough atmosphere,” coach Traci Rodgers said. “Brookhaven came out hot. We showed a ton of heart to rally. We hit some really big shots to get us back in the game.”
The Lady Pats were down 11-0 after the first eight minutes Saturday afternoon in south Mississippi. Julia Nicholson got their first goal with 5:52 to go in the second quarter.
Marshall made a little run late in the first half as Alexis McGreger and Erin Lomenick cashed in fast-break buckets. It was 20-9 at the break.
At the 2:33 mark of the third, the Lady Cougars hit a shot off an offensive rebound and led 33-15, their largest lead of the contest.
Kaylan Parks’ bucket with 13 seconds to go in the third sliced the deficit back to 11 at 33-22.
The Lady Patriots went on a 15-4 run to open the final quarter. Parks scored on a couple of putbacks and Jessica Deming drilled a pair of huge threes, the latter tying the game at 37 with 3:17 left.
The Lady Cougars scored off an MA turnover to regain the lead and they pulled away in the closing seconds by nailing free throws.
“I am really proud of the girls for playing with passion to get back in the game,” Rodgers said.
Parks and Deming were the top scorers with 13 and 12, respectively. Parks scored 10 of hers in the second half and all of Deming’s came on four threes in the second half, three in the fourth.
McGreger, Parks and Nicholson were named to the all-state tournament team.
The Lady Patriots (23-7) advanced to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall Tournament this week at Mississippi College. They met Claiborne Academy Tuesday. With a win, they will face the Leake-Pillow winner Wednesday at 3:15 in the quarter-finals. The semi-finals and finals are Friday and Saturday.
The second and third quarter were the difference as the MA girls beat Centreville 46-35 in the state semi-finals Friday.
The Lady Pats were down 14-8 after one quarter but battled back to take a one-point lead at the half.
Up 19-18, the Lady Patriots then took control of the game in the third, outscoring the Lady Tigers 14-5 to surge ahead 33-23.
Centreville could only get as close as seven in the fourth. Deming hit a pair of threes in the fourth to seal the deal.
McGreger led MA in scoring with 15 points, all in the first half. She hit three threes. Nicholson was close behind with 14 points, 11 of those coming in the second half.
No doubt, Coach Rodgers’ words at the half ignited her Lady Patriots in round one of the state tourney.
Down 24-21 at intermission, they rallied for a 58-44 victory over Glenbrook Wednesday, Feb. 21.
MA trailed by as many as six in the first. Nicholson’s three-point play sliced the deficit to 12-11 at the end of the opening quarter.
The Lady Pats were down by as many as five in the second quarter and trailed by three at the break.
The third quarter was a totally different story as Marshall stormed out of the locker room with an 11-0 run. McGreger hit a three to get the momentum going. Then Nicholson sank back-to-back shots to put the Lady Pats up 28-24. It was 32-24 before Glenbrook got its first points of the third.
Parks scored with four seconds to go in the quarter and the Lady Pats were up 40-32 entering the fourth.
Deming’s three-point play made it 42-34 at the 7:07 mark of the fourth. McGreger, Parks and Nicholson cashed in key shots in the closing minutes as MA pulled away to win by 14.
Nicholson was the top point-producer with 24. Parks and McGreger followed with 13 and 10, respectively.