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Marshall books trip back to Charleston

February 27, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Only Dakeea Marshall can brag about being a back-to-back Region II champion - and with good reason.

Marshall scored 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds Tuesday to lead Jefferson to a 50-45 win over Musselman that gives the Cougars a berth in the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament, one year after steering Martinsburg to Charleston.

Marshall transferred to Jefferson before the season and never missed a beat. Meanwhile, Martinsburg was bounced in the first round of the sectional playoffs.

"It was hard, because I was used to playing with everybody at Martinsburg," said Marshall, a junior. "Wherever I go, I know I just gotta play."

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And play she did Tuesday, especially when it mattered most. She had nine points and seven rebounds in the decisive fourth quarter, which began with the teams tied at 36-36.

"The fourth quarter's the main quarter," Marshall said. "That's the one that really counts."

After Katie Danno scored inside to break the tie, Marshall hit a pair of free throws, grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup, giving Jefferson a 42-36 lead with 5:10 remaining.

She added a pull-up jumper with 3:50 left that made it 45-39. Lacey Williams and Jennifer Ashton scored to draw Musselman (18-6) within two with 90 seconds left, but Marshall worked free inside and scored 10 seconds later to make it 47-43.

Nicole Himes' free throws with 17 seconds left made it a two-possession game again, 50-45.

Dezi Clinton and Danno had 10 points each for the Cougars. Marshall had at least four rebounds in every quarter.

Last year, she helped Martinsburg end Hedgesville's sectional dominance with 24 points in the championship, then scored 21 in an eight-point win over Hampshire in the regional final.

Jefferson (19-5) overcame 30 turnovers by making 17 of 29 free throws. Musselman committed 22 turnovers and made only 8 of 18 free throws.

"We were just excited," Marshall said. "We needed to settle down and play our game, not play their game."

Musselman led 27-24 at halftime on the strength of an 8-0 run. Junior Nikki Stephenson scored half the points and had eight in the game, while Williams added 11.

The Applemen made only 18 of 62 shots, with Stephenson and Williams combining to shoot 9 of 32. Megan Stambaugh grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Marshall made half her 12 shots, and the rest of the Cougars made just 10 of 34 shots.

"I knew the seniors wanted to go to states. We had to pull together to get there," Marshall said. "I think it will be a good experience."

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