By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
The Marshall Buffalos used a 13-0 run in the third quarter and a 22-2 run in the fourth quarter to beat Manvel 82-57 and advance to the 5A Final Four in San Antonio this weekend.
“These guys will get a chance to experience something that they will never forget in their lifetime,” Marshall Coach Gary Nichols said.
In the first half, Manvel kept the pace slow, played its half-court game, and ended the half with a 25-24 lead. In the third quarter, Marshall was able to play their style of ball. “Manvel came out (in the first half) in their zone and we were playing their style of ball which is slow. We needed to play our style and pick up the pace,” Nichols said.
The Buffalos scored 24 points in the third quarter while holding Manvel to just 13. The 15-0 run was fueled by Jabari Rice’s two 3-pointers from the right corner and John Walker’s 3-pointer from the left corner.
“My teammates just fed me the ball. It was all my teammates. They let me get in a position to make those shots,” Rice said.
With 5:45 to go in the fourth quarter, Marshall’s Daquazamarr Wyche made two free throws to make the score 55-45. The Buffalos then went on a 22-2 run to seal the victory. During the run, Wyche had six points, Rice five points and Walker had nine. Walker sank four consecutive free throws with 3:22 to go in the game as he was fouled on a shot attempt and a technical foul was assessed for unsportsmanlike conduct. On the ensuing possession, Walker emphatically put the game away with a slam-dunk to up the lead to 68-47. The final score was 82-57.
“These guys are together. They are passionate about what they do. It wasn’t a smooth ride this season. We had a lot of bumps during this year. But we stuck together. We have a saying, ‘I’ve got your right’ and we have each other’s right. That’s why I know it’s a special team. We are going to celebrate Saturday. We are going to celebrate Sunday, and then its back to practice on Monday,” Nichols said. “We are just proud to represent Fort Bend ISD and the Houston area in the state championships.”
Marshall will play Region 1 champion Northwest High School on Thursday, March 9, at 8:30 p.m. in the Alamo Dome.