BCMS tops No. 9 Leroy in first MLK Classic

Published 6:48 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GEORGIANA – For the better part of Monday’s game against the Leroy Bears, Victor Marshall was a step faster then anyone else on the court as the Butler County Magnet School Panthers upset Leroy 69-51 in the MLK Classic.

Marshall finished the game with 23 points, the bulk of those coming off lay-ups, either after challenging the Bears’ frontcourt by driving to the basket or in transition after a steal.

Marshall, the Panthers’ senior point guard, dared the Bears, who came into the game ranked No. 9 in Class 2A, to stop him.

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They rarely did.

“He’s (Marshall) as athletic a kid as I’ve every coached in getting down the floor,” said BMCS head coach Kirk Norris. “He’s very smart at getting out ahead of the pack and scoring on those fast break lay-ups.”

Marshall, who also had five assists, was part of a 19-5 fourth period run by the Panthers. Up 50-46 at the end of the third, BCMS scored six unanswered points before the Bears knocked down a three-point shot.

Adrian Rich answered for the Panthers, hitting a baseline three-pointer, which was followed by a lay-up from Marshall after a steal.

Norris said Rich, a sophomore, played his best game defensively for the Panthers (12-7). He also added 14 points and had six steals.

“He’s (Rich) not the greatest defender in the world, but he’s getting there,” said Norris. “He’s a very, very good offensive player…he made some big shots tonight, but I think the biggest thing he did was step up on defense.”

As a team the Panthers forced 21 turnovers.

“We changed defenses a lot after timeouts and changes of possession and I think that may have confused them,” said Norris. “We were able to get some turnovers and I think that really helped our offense.”

The first period was back-and-forth, (the Panthers only led 15-14 after one), but opened the second with seven straight points – five at the foul line – aided by a technical foul on Leroy.

Leroy tried to respond, but Rich hit a three-pointer and Marshall added back-to-back baskets to finish the first half, the Panthers leading 33-27. The teams traded baskets in the third period, but BCMS put the game away in the fourth with a flurry of steals and fast break points.

Savage led the Panthers on glass, grabbing 12 rebounds. He also dished out four assists and added 15 points.

As for the overall tournament, which featured both girls and boys games, Norris said he felt the MLK Classic would return against next year.

“I think we did pretty good money wise at the gate, so I’m sure we will do it again,” he said.

In other boys’ action, Brantley beat Monroe County 63-59. Wesley Person had 19 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Tory Upshaw and Devontae Porter each added 13.

Johnathon Johnson scored 28 points to lead Monroe County.