The Marauders (30-7 overall) will face Lubbock Coronado (35-1) at 6 p.m. at the Fort Worth ISD Wilkerson-Grines Activity Center. The other semifinal matchup pits Arlington Bowie against Duncanville. When Marcus and Coronado met on Nov. 10, Coronado won 33-31.
“It was a very low scoring game and it was only the third game of the year,” Marcus head coach Fred Jones said. “They (Lubbock) are a great team, very physical. But in the fall, we talked about how we can become a championship program and we have that chance. We’re trying to take it one game at a time.”
Friday marks the program’s first regional tournament appearance since the 1997-98 season. They also made it one year earlier. In terms of recent success, this is the best season under second-year coach Fred Jones. Jones led the Marauders to the postseason last year but fell to Duncanville in the area round.
Marcus has looked dominant this year, though. They beat Irving MacArthur 63-51 in the first round, then knocked off Killeen Ellison in the area round, 47-35. On Tuesday, they used a stingy defense to beat Mansfield Timberview 53-50 in the regional quarterfinals.
Coronado advances after knocking off Southlake Carroll, 62-48.
You can credit the Marauders’ non-district schedule for their success in the playoffs. Not only did they go 19-5 in that stretch, but they did so despite being pitted against playoff favorites Duncanville, Arlington Bowie, Cedar Hill, Southlake Carroll and Mansfield Timberview to name a few.
Timberview was the only team to beat Marcus twice during the regular season, but the Wolves looked outmatched in the third meeting on Tuesday. In that game, the Marauders held Timberview scoreless for most of the early stages of the fourth quarter. Timberview senior guard Lili Thompson — who scored six points — scored off a steal with 3:37 left in regulation to cut the Marcus lead to 41-40. But the Wolves didn’t score again until hitting two free throws with 56 ticks left. By that point, Marcus built a 49-42 lead.
“My mentor is Danny Henderson (former Marcus boys’ basketball coach) and what he did to help get those state titles was play unbelievable defense,” Jones said. “It makes a big difference, and that’s what we have been focusing on all season.”
Marcus was 1-2 against the other three teams involved in this weekend’s tournament during the regular season, but held an 11-point lead at halftime over Duncanville on Nov. 13 before losing 61-45. They beat Bowie 45-35 and only lost to Coronado by two points. Of the other 15 teams in Region I that qualified for this year’s postseason, Marcus played 10 of them in non-district play.