Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Nick Banyard's 17 points lifts Marcus boys over North Crowley, into 5A-I final
FORT WORTH — Flower Mound Marcus senior Nick Banyard responded well to the halftime message from Marauders coach Danny Henderson. The 6-8 senior scored 15 second-half points in Marcus’ 66-55 victory over North Crowley before approximately 1,600 at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in a Class 5A Region I semifinal.
Marcus had held a precarious, three-point lead at halftime.
“We told Nick Banyard we loved him and we needed him,” Henderson said. “And his six offensive rebounds in the second half were the difference.”
Banyard finished with 17 points. A couple of his big second-half points came on rebound follow-shots, a couple on thundering alley-oop dunks and another on a follow-dunk.
Banyard, a New Mexciso signee, led the way as Marcus outrebound North Crowley, 37-19.
“They gave me a challenge, and I stepped up to it,” Banyard said. “I like it when they challenge me.”
Marcus (36-2) meets South Grand Prairie in the Region I final at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Marcus, the defending state champ, took an 18-7 lead in the first quarter with strong scoring from Oklahoma State signees Marcus Smart and Phillip Forte, who combined for 17 first-half points.
But North Crowley created some transition baskets and got three 3-pointers from guard Braxton Reeves to outscore Marcus by eight in the second quarter and only go into halftime down 27-24.
“We had to keep our composure. [North Crowley] can rattle people with their pressure,” Henderson said. “When we didn’t execute, they made two really good runs at us.”
North Crowley (32-5) tried to stay close with Marcus Reeves (17 points) and Calvin Ward (11). The 2008 state champs were within four points late in the third quarter.
Banyard hit a 3-pointer for a 42-35 lead, though, and then his defense on the 6-4 Reeves prevented North Crowley from getting a shot off as the third quarter ended. Banyard’s follow-dunk gave Marcus a 46-35 lead with 7:05 remaining.
SGP 56, EP Hanks 53: South Grand Prairie needed a second-half rally to get past sharp-shooting El Paso Hanks in the other 5A Region I semifinal. SGP 6-8 senior post Chris Washburn had 15 points, and senior guards Javon Austin and Jaryn Johnson combined for 21 to overcome a 29-26 halftime deficit.
Junior guard Ben Emelogu sparked a third-quarter surge with a 3-pointer to give SGP (35-2) the edge in a 14-10 run. SGP is making its first regional appearance in 26 years.