Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Marcus boys onto regional semis; 7 dunks, 7 treys sink Timberview
ARLINGTON — Flower Mound Marcus is known more for defensive tenacity, but the defending Class 5A state champs added some high-flying offensive flair in a 78-56 victory over Mansfield Timberview at UTA’s College Park Center.
Marcus had seven dunks and seven 3-pointers to advance to its third consecutive Region I semifinal. Marcus (35-2) plays North Crowley (32-4) at 6 p.m. Friday at the Fort Worth ISD’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
“They’ve got all the pieces, they can hit from the outside, they can penetrate, they rebound,” Timberview coach Duane Gregory said. “They got four 3-pointers in the first quarter and that got them rolling. They’re ranked No. 1 for a reason.”
With Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford watching from the front row, Oklahoma State signees Phillip Forte and Marcus Smart helped propel Marcus to a 10-point lead in the first five minutes. Forte hit a pair of 3-pointers while Smart and New Mexico signee Nick Banyard added 3-pointers.
Marcus built a 48-30 lead in the first five minutes of the second half as the offense rolled with Banyard getting four dunks, including a pair of fastbreak, alley-oop slams and the 6-4 Smart added a high-flying dunk on a fastbreak as Banyard bounced the ball high off the backboard and Smart leapt from the free throw line to come down with a two-handed dunk.
“I had a pass [off the backboard] to Nick in our Senior Night game,” Smart said. “He told me he’d get me one back and he did. I think it shows the adrenaline we have; how ready we come out to play.”
Timberview (20-15) was led by North Texas commit Brandon Pye, a sharp-shooting 6-1 guard who ended with 34 points. Timberview, which reached the Class 4A state tournament in 2009, made a strong playoff run with a first-round upset of Richland (the only Texas team to beat Marcus this season) and hitting a 3-pointer in the final seconds to defeat Coppell in the second round.
Banyard led Marcus with 20 points while Smart had 17 and Forte 16 (with four 3-pointers.) Marcus has a pair of 20-point victory margins heading back to the Region I tourney.
“We work hard, but we talk to the kids a lot about having fun,” Marcus coach Danny Henderson said. “We don’t want this to be a job for them. We’ve put the pressure of [repeating as state champs] aside. We have a minefield mentality in that it’s only about one game at a time and they’re focused on that.”