Boys Basketball: Marshall knocks Mission out of first place in AAA thriller

Marshall sophomore guard Mizell Parker tries to break through a pair of Mission defenders on Wednesday at Mission High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Marshall sophomore guard Mizell Parker tries to break through a pair of Mission defenders on Wednesday at Mission High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

The stretch run of the Academic Athletic Association’s boys basketball season is no longer a two-horse race.

With the same five players on the floor for the vast majority of the game, visiting Marshall High School upset Mission 77-71 on Wednesday.

Combined with Lincoln’s win over Balboa on Wednesday, the loss knocks the Bears (17-9, 10-2) out of first place in the AAA’s Lang Division and puts Marshall (11-11, 9-3) a game behind Mission and two games behind the Mustangs.

Marshall sophomore forward Preston Deming rises up for a shot in the lane against Mission on Wednesday at Mission High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Led by 30 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocks from 6-foot-6 senior center Mark Alexander, the Phoenix, who only have seven players on their roster but only get significant minutes from their starting five, led for the entire first half and carried a 44-37 lead into the break.

The second half was a different story, however, as Mission went on a 8-0 run to start the third quarter to take a 45-44 lead and the final 16 minutes featured 14 lead changes.

Mission’s biggest lead was 71-67 with 1:45 remaining, but Alexander scored four consecutive points in the paint to tie the game.

The senior then took in a crucial rebound on Mission’s next possession and hit sophomore guard Mizell Parker with an outlet pass. Parker got the ball at mid-court and scored on a driving layup while being fouled with 16 seconds left to give the Phoenix back the lead for good.

Parker missed the ensuing free throw and Alexander again got the rebound and then he got tied up with a Mission defender, but the Phoenix kept possession.

“Mark is fantastic and they can say what they want about who is the best big man in the league, and I’ll keep that too myself, but he outplayed every big man on that floor and he played practically the whole game,” said Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles.

Timeouts from both teams followed, and with the Phoenix only clinging to a two-point lead, another sophomore guard put the game away for Marshall.

Mission junior point guard Antoine Porter appeared to secure a steal on the next inbound play, but Marshall’s Jason Smith stole the ball back from Porter and was fouled with 10 second remaining.

The sophomore calmly sunk both free throws to extend Marshall’s lead to 75-71, then blocked a 3-pointer from Mission guard Kevin Murray on the next Bears’ possession. Fellow sophomore Preston Deming, Alexander’s frontcourt partner, also had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

“Isn’t that something,” Miles said of Smith’s play in the final seconds. “I have three sophomores and they’re really starting to understand what to do, how to do it and when to do it. That’s carrying us quite a bit.”

Mission had a mistake-laden first half, but largely outplayed Marshall in the second half, until the final two minutes.

Mission senior forward Gione Edwards countered Alexander with a team-high 22 points and 18 rebounds, but had his final points on a fast-break layup that gave the Bears a 62-61 lead with 5:16 remaining

“We’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot all year, but today that wasn’t the case. We got outplayed,” said Mission head coach Arnold Zelaya. “These are all possible opponents in the Lang [Division] and we need to do a lot of things better, and tonight we didn’t.”

Scoring Leaders

Mark Alexander – 30
Preston Deming – 19
Aumen Holliday – 11
Mizell Parker – 11
Jason Smith – 6

Gione Edwards – 22
Antoine Porter – 13
Armani McFarland – 10
Miles Prescott – 9
Kevin Murray – 8

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11 Comments on "Boys Basketball: Marshall knocks Mission out of first place in AAA thriller"

  1. City Lights | February 8, 2012 at 9:17 PM |

    Woooow… Sounds like an amazing game. Just imagine if Marshall had more than 5 players. lol

  2. playd zone the hole game !!!!!!!!!!!1

  3. Mark Alexander should be AAA player of the year. 30 points, 21 rebounds, 7 blocks in 32 minutes, against arguably the best AAA basketball team on their own homecourt. WOW. The next Wilt Chamberlain.

  4. good feeling marshall and mission will meet again

  5. It’s now official, no one is safe in the Lang Division. Great job Marshall. With only seven players you’re doing a fantastic job this season!

  6. Lowell House | February 9, 2012 at 7:10 AM |

    Imagine if Thoetis hill had suck around to play on Marshall this year. They’d be unstoppable. I could see them beating SI.

    • Richmond Wrecker | February 9, 2012 at 7:46 PM |

      Not only Hill, but if Yanoj Jackson from SHC was playing as well – I believe he transferred in from Marshall before his sophomore year. Marshall could have been quite the powerhouse

  7. that first photo is really cool. looks like it was done in a studio, not at a game.

  8. Dont forget about Aumen Holliday he is controling the game for Marshall he does it all.

    • Relatively speaking, Aumen “3 Day” Holliday had a quiet game, compared to Alexander the Great & Preston Deming “Dynasty”.

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