Thompson earns runner-up finish at Marlin Christmas Classic

Published 11:09 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – The Thompson Warriors had a successful beach trip over Christmas break as they finished second at the Marlin Christmas Classic in Panama City Beach, Florida.

The Warriors took a pair of out-of-state wins over the Stone Memorial Panthers and Durant Cougars before coming just two points shy of beating Nashville’s Lipscomb Academy in the title game.

In the first-round game against Stone Memorial on Thursday, Dec. 28, the Panthers got the better of Thompson in the early moments and led 8-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The game would continue to be close throughout the second quarter, but the Warriors won the second period to tie up the game at 19 going into the halftime locker room.

The teams continued to be evenly matched throughout the third quarter as Thompson and Stone Memorial battled for the lead, but it was the Panthers which led 34-33 after three quarters of play.

The Warriors, however, saved their best effort for the final eight minutes. Their offense dropped 16 points in the fourth quarter and held strong on the other end of the floor to allow Stone Memorial to score just seven more points.

That gave Thompson the 49-41 win to advance to the semifinals of the Marlin Christmas Classic.

Daeshaun Morrissette led the way with 16 points, five rebounds and three steals. Colben Landrew dropped 15 points and had team-highs in rebounds and steals, securing seven rebounds and three steals.

The Warriors moved on to face Durant in the semifinals and started out strong to control the game from the early moments.

Thompson dropped 17 points in the first quarter to outscore the Cougars by six and lead after the first eight minutes of play.

The Warriors would extend that lead before halftime, winning the second quarter 14-9 to take a 31-20 advantage into the halftime locker room.

After the break, Thompson’s offense kept its hot hand going and continued to build on its lead.

Thanks to 24 points in the third quarter, the Warriors kept their double-digit gap going and led by 19 at the end of the third.

The Cougars offense found their shooting rhythm in a high-scoring fourth quarter for both sides, but it was too little, too late, as Thompson took the 75-57 win to earn a shot at the tournament championship.

Four Warriors reached double-figures in the victory, and they were led by Jay Green’s 15 points and three assists. Masiah Robinson scored 12 points and earned six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Cam Pritchett also had 12 points in the win, and he recorded five rebounds as well. Morrissette added 10 points, five rebounds and four steals, and Jared Smith scored eight points and had three steals.

While Thompson lost 56-54 in the title game to Lipscomb Academy, its strong effort closed out a solid week of play ahead of the Warriors’ non-area finale against Cullman.