Marion hosts Forrest City for Junior Patriot title on Saturday
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
Playing without its leading scorer, 9th grader Keyshawn Woods, many were wondering how Marion would look on its home floor against East last night. That’s when the Junior Pats got a big night from six-foot-seven-inch Timothy Caesar and a stifling defensive effort to move to 7-0. Caesar posted a triple-double of 14 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocks and Marion forced 34 turnovers in the game to turn East away 51-22 and advance to the championship game of the Junior Patriot Classic on Saturday. The Junior Pats racked up 9 of those turnovers in the first quarter in bolting out to a 15-4 lead that would morph into a 30-9 advantage at halftime. “The way we like to play is that we like to play great defense,” said Marion head coach Johnny Washington. “And tonight, we got to play a lot of kids and that helps keep our legs fresh, as well. Turnovers are big because I know, that for my team anyway, it’s hard to win games when you have a lot of turnovers.” When East did get a good look at the basket, Caesar was there to redirect the shot as he posted many of his numbers in the game’s first three quarters and exited early in the fourth quarter. The lanky center connected on 6 of his 11 shots from the floor, and was 2 of 2 from the free throw line as well. Of his 14 rebounds, 5 were on the offensive glass. He also dished out a pair of assists against East. Detrick Reeves actually led Marion in scoring with 15 points while also posting 5 rebounds. For the Red Imps, Cannon hit for 5 points and Lemons and Watkins posted 4 points apiece. Lemons led East with 8 rebounds. “Emotions are always high against a cross-town rival. East always has great athletes that are very aggressive and do a lot of things well,” Washington said. “I did like the way we approached the game tonight.” While Marion is now 7-0, Washington is far from satisfied. “We can always get better. We have a lot of work to do,” said the coach. “We have to shoot more free throws. I’d like to see us attack the basket more, I felt like we relied on our jumpers too much tonight.” Marion will look to defend its 2014 Marion Junior Patriot Classic title on Saturday afternoon when they host Forrest City at noon.