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Monday, March 5, 2012
FM Marcus' defense paves way to Austin again

By Randy Jennings

Flower Mound Marcus is not one of those high school basketball powers that brags about the number of points it scores.

Marcus players would rather emphasize the few points they allow. Leave the triple digits for programs like  Houston Yates.

On the road to its third straight state tournament, Marcus has allowed an average of 45 points a game in five playoff victories.

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In 12 playoff games over the last two seasons, only three Marcus opponents have reached the 50-point plateau. No playoff opponent has scored more than 56 in that span.

Great defense, Marcus coach Danny Henderson preaches, gives a team a chance to win even in a below-average shooting performance.

In Marcus’ 39-38 victory over South Grand Prairie in the Class 5A Region I title game Saturday, senior guard Phil Forte went 1-for-10 from the field and fellow starting guard A.J. Luckey was scoreless on three shots and two free throw attempts. But on the defensive end, Marcus’ sagging man-to-man defense made things very tough on South Grand Prairie.

The Marauders forced 15 turnovers and held South Grand Prairie to 14 field goals on 35 attempts.

“Defense is what we do every day. That’s why we’re No. 1 in the state in defense,’’ said 6-foot-5 post Jared Hamilton, who shared responsibility of holding South Grand Prairie big man Chris Washburn to 12 points.

Henderson deflects the credit for Marcus' defense to assistant coach Kenny Boren.

“Kenny was the reason we switched Marcus Smart to Jovan Austin coming out of that last timeout,’’ Henderson said. “He’d been looking at tape for South Grand Prairie for two months and he was sure Austin would take the last shot.’’

Smart blocked Austin’s attempt to seal the victory.