Philip Parks (5) goes to the goal versus Carroll. Zach Sorrell (20) positions for a possible rebound.
Patriots claim district crown
It’s been said time and time again, defense wins championships.
That was definitely the case Saturday evening at Frank Swords Gymnasium when the host team, Marshall Academy, stymied Carroll Academy 49-30 for the District 1-AA crown.
“Tonight we were able to accomplish one of our goals for this season, which was winning the district title,” coach Jeremy Ervin said following the game. “And we have our defense to thank for this trophy.
“Carroll does a good job with their zone, packing it in the paint, making it real difficult to get good looks around the rim, so we had to turn defense into offense tonight.”
Marshall, struggling a bit to get on track, had an 8-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Down the stretch in the second period, the defensive heat started paying dividends. Sam Greer hit a couple of lay-ups off steals and Philip Parks and Everette Jones added a pair of buckets each. The lead increased to 17-4. At the half, it was 19-8.
The Patriots continued the takeaway trend in the third, increasing their lead to 17 at the 1:30 mark.
“We did a great job of pressuring the ball, and with the other guys being out in the passing lane, we were able to get a lot of tips and deflections,” Ervin said. “We are at our best when we’re able to get out on the break and create for each other.”
MA’s advantage was 33-20 at the end of the third.
The lead ballooned to 20 late in the fourth when E. Jones got one of his seven steals on the night and passed to Zach Sorrell, who scored.
Marshall then hoisted the blue trophy after the 19-point victory.
Scoring in double digits were Parks with 14, Sorrell with 12 and Greer with 10. E. Jones added nine.
Coach Ervin also praised Sorrell’s defensive work on Carroll Academy’s top player, Reese Fulton.
“Zach did a really good job of battling with their big guy in the paint, trying to stay in front of him,” Ervin said. “It’s a man’s game down in the key and tonight Zach played bigboy basketball. He was able to make sure their best player got nothing easy and that’s as valuable as any bucket on the offensive end.”
The Patriots, who received a first-round bye as the top seed, turned it up a notch in the fourth quarter Thursday night and downed Central Holmes 55-34.
It was a close contest for three periods.
With both teams struggling offensively in the early going, MA led 7-4 at the end of the first.
E. Jones ignited a charge just prior to halftime and the Pats went from three points down to five points ahead, 21-16.
MA led by as many as seven in the third and was up 35-30 at the end of that quarter.
In a brief span to start the fourth, Parks scored six straight points, and the Patriots had snatched control at 43-30.
They went on to win by 21.
Parks finished with a gamehigh 21 points, 13 of those in the second half. E. Jones had 11, including four of five from the free-throw line in the fourth.
Named to the all-tournament team were Parks, E. Jones, Greer and Sorrell.
The Patriots (21-3) opened Class AA North State play at home Tuesday night versus Tri-County Academy. With a win, they move to the Friday semi-finals at 5:30 p.m. The finals are Saturday at MA.
The top four teams advance to next week’s Class AA State Tournament at Benton Academy.