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Girls basketball: Marcus clamps down on Lewisville guards in win
In each of its first two District 5-5A contests, Marcus' girls basketball team has been at less than full strength.
But that hasn't stopped the Lady Marauders from a strong start, as the squad improved to 2-0 Tuesday with a 61-22 victory over Lewisville.
The win puts Marcus in an early tie for first with Flower Mound entering Friday's contests (results not available as of press time).
Marcus opened its district campaign with a win over Denton Ryan despite playing without the services of starting guards Ashley James and Morgan Easley. On Tuesday, the Lady Marauders were still without Easley and had James (two points) still not at 100 percent.
"Our best player is our defense," said Fred Jones, Marcus head coach. "That's our strength and when you play good defense, you can still find a way to win when you're having a bad night or aren't doing what you need to do offensively."
On Tuesday, the Marcus defense limited TCU signee and Lewisville guard Jada Butts to just two points, while starting guard Monisha Neal posted six.
"We played great defense on Jada," Jones said. "That was big for us and was a focus. Vanessa [Jones] was primarily guarding her and did a great job. And the girls did a great job of picking up the slack behind her. I think a lot of times what Vanessa does for the team is huge and gets overlooked. Maybe it's because she is the coach's daughter. But she's our defensive leader and is our most competitive player and it changes the game when she is effective on both sides of the ball."
Marcus led after one quarter, 12-7, before distancing in the second period with a 17-5 spurt.
"We just couldn't get anything going," said Charlotte Jones, Lewisville head coach, who missed the game with an illness. "We played well in the first quarter but we lost focus after that and especially in the second half. We got into a little foul trouble and didn't do a very good job of boxing out or rebounding."
Charlotte noted Lewisville and Butts had trouble with Marcus' pressure defense.
"They were pretty scrappy and got us in trouble a few times with some traps," she said. "Jada is still going through the motions and getting into the swing of things. You could see she was getting a little frustrated with how things were going."
In addition to locking down on Butts, Vanessa scored 13 points, while Sierra Bone recorded a team-high 14 and Alex Lapeyrolerie posted six.
"Sierra and Alex have stepped up so much with some of the injuries," Fred said. "They're doing a great job. But like I said, our best player has been our defense."
Jasmine Richard also chipped in six points for Marcus.
"Jasmine is super athletic," Fred said. "She is a solid guard and was our JV MVP last year. And she is also a team favorite because of the energy she brings."
Lewisville continued Friday against Ryan before hosting Hebron at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
"[Ryan] has been playing pretty well," Charlotte said. "They're looking pretty good, but if we want to turn it around and get into the playoff hunt, this is a game we have to win."
Marcus went for 3-0 Friday at Coppell and hosts unbeaten Flower Mound at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
"The thing we talk about most is just going in the right direction," Fred said. "Our intent is to win every game, but I'm happy with the direction we are heading right now."