MARKED TREE A fourth-quarter surge and key free throws down the stretch by Marked Tree gave the Sr. Indians a 56-54 victory over Manila in high school basketball action last Monday night.
In a game that saw 12 lead changes and a battle between two of the best teams in Northeast Arkansas, the Marked Tree victory came down to senior Brad Jones and sophomore Duanaway Barnes. Jones and Barnes quickly turned a 54-53 lead by Manila late in the game into a 56-54 win. The two went to the foul line pounding at the Manila defense. Jones led Marked Tree and all scorers with 29 points.
After a slim 11-10 lead by Marked Tree after one quarter, Manila began to battle back, taking a 20-19 lead on a Nate Morries basket with 5:32 left in the first half. However, Marked Tree then went on a 9-0 run over a two-minute period to take a 28-20 lead. During the run, Marked Tree (1-0) got good inside and outside play from Jones, guards Sugar Ray Jones and Anquion Williams and forward Alan Price. The Lions, using the press defense of coach Anthony Brewington, then scored five straight points, narrowing the lead to three, at 28-25 with 57 seconds left in the half. Marked Tree led 30-25 at the half.
In the second half, using its crowd, Marked Tree went on a 13-8 run during most of the third quarter, with Jones, Jay Williams and Tyler Craft answering the Manila baskets in the third quarter. However, Mitchell Gambill, who led Manila with 17 points quickly answered the Marked Tree run by nailing two 3-pointers back to back and cutting into the Marked Tree lead. The three-pointers, late in the quarter brought Manila, of the 3AAA-South District, within four points, at 43-39, at the end of three quarters. Manila tied the game at 43 early in the fourth quarter attempting to slow down the pace of the game. Jones then scored six straight points for Marked Tree, giving the Indians a 49-46 lead with six minutes left. Manila then was able to get Jones and Alan Price into foul trouble late in the fourth quarter, putting pressure on the Marked Tree bench. By putting Jones and Price on the bench, Manila went on a run over the next few minutes, taking a 54-51 lead with 2:07 left. Coach Barbara Wilburn then decided to play the odds and put the talented guard back on the court, with one minute left. From there, Jones and Barnes took over, scoring the game's final five points to pick up the win.
After the game, Manila Head Coach Anthony Brewington told Delta Life that while his team played hard, they still have to play smarter. Brewington said, "Marked Tree is very athletic. From top to bottom, we did a good job.
However, we need to take better care of the ball against athletic teams."
Marked Tree Assistant Coach Waylon Dunn told Delta Life that the opener for the Indians provided a test for the team. Dunn said, "The game went back and forth all night. Many of our guys had just came out of football. We still have work to do on defense and we have to be patient on offense. It is still a day-to-day process."
Manila won the junior high game 41-34. Manila was led by Jackey Parker, who scored 12 points and Chase Shelton who scored nine points. Marked Tree was led by Robert Tyree, who led all scorers with 17 points.
Marked Tree returns to action this Friday, with a home game against the BIC Mustangs. Game time is 6:00 p.m.