Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal
Manassas guard Marcus Holloway is fouled by Temple's Jeremy Sexton during the TSSAA basketball championship game Saturday in Murfreesboro, TN. Holloway was game MVP.
Manassas Takes Class A Championship
By Jason Smith
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Saturday, March 21, 2009
MURFREESBORO -- Manassas boys basketball coach Gerald Harris was thanking anyone he felt had anything to do with his Tigers earning their first boys basketball state title Saturday afternoon with a 60-34 victory over Chattanooga Temple at Middle Tennessee's Murphy Center.
He thanked God. He thanked his assistant coach, Jerry Anthony, as well as his own former head coach at Manassas, Charles Thompson.
"I want to send a shout-out to my mama, Tommie Harris, too," Harris said, "because she couldn't make it."
Having finished state runner-up in three previous state-title game appearances, Manassas (27-2) became the first Memphis boys team since 1986 to win the Class A state title with its 21st straight victory Saturday.
Sophomore guard Joe Northington scored 14 points and junior point guard Marcus Holloway, whose game-winning 3-pointer had lifted Manassas earlier in the week in its quarterfinal victory over top-ranked Humboldt, finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
Holloway was named state-tournament MVP for a Manassas club that played the final 12 minutes of the game without senior star Reginald Buckner, a 6-8 Ole Miss signee who was ejected from Saturday's game after picking up his second technical foul with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
Buckner, who contributed eight points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes of action, was relegated to cheerleader status with his team leading, 30-19, midway through the third.
"It really wasn't tough at all because I had faith in my team. I knew if I cheered them on and kept a positive attitude, they were going to get out there and do what they do," said Buckner, who was named Class A Mr. Basketball following the game.
With their top player out, the Tigers outscored Temple, 23-3, over the next eight minutes of the game to build a 31-point (53-22) advantage midway through the fourth.
Holloway, Northington and senior guard Shaq Walker combined to score 14 of Manassas' 18 third-quarter points before senior post Kendall Woodard scored all 10 of his points in the final period to help put Temple (28-6) away. Woodard also had 10 rebounds, registering his third double-double of the tournament.
"We told (Buckner) we were going to get the win for him," Holloway said. "We tell him that every time we're without him, if he fouls out or anything. We told him, 'We got you Big Boy. We got you.'"
Temple senior guard Jeremy Sexton's 17 points led the Crusaders, who finished 11-of-51 (22 percent) from the field for the game.
Sexton and senior teammate James Kemp (five points) joined Manassas' Woodard, Buckner, Northington and Holloway on the Class A all-tournament team.
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