the hosts claimed that 2524 advantage at the break.
The third quarter was identified by Clay as a crucial period for his team’s chances, and much to his delight, Marion responded. Following a Matt Stanley three-point play that gave Cabot a 27-25 lead early in the quarter, Marion took off on that decisive run.
Following Stanley’s layup, Cabot only made one more field goal in the quarter, while Marion sank seven of 13 from the floor in that span.
The Pats also forced five turnovers, leading to transition opportunities for Marion, including a pair of dunks by Doss.
When Latham canned a three-pointer with 2:38 left which gave Marion a 4131 lead, Cabot had to burn a timeout.
“We talked about how basketball games are won or lost in the third quarter,” explained Clay. “We were able to get out and run.
They missed some shots, we were able to get out and run. We called ‘Sideline’ which is an outof- bounds play that we run and it worked to perfection. So that gave some kids some more confidence.”
Marion led 44-33 entering the fourth, but Cabot wasn’t done. The Panthers turned the heat up on the Pats in the fourth quarter, throwing a full-court press at Marion, which paid off with a pair of Duncan steals and layups, which got Cabot within 48-41 and 6:13 still on the clock.
Cabot would get within five points on two occasions prior to the final score in the fourth quarter.
“They didn’t quit, they didn’t give up,” Clay said.
“You have to persevere out there. Turnovers kill you, especially when you turn it over in the backcourt and it leads immediately to a basket. We have to be strong with the ball.”
Marion heads to Searcy on Friday night for their fourth game against 6AEast competition this season. The Pats are 2-1 with wins against Searcy at Mountain Home and a loss to Jonesboro.
A win in Searcy would clinch a berth in the Class 6A state tournament.
Marion will return home next Tuesday to play Mountain Home. Tip-off of both games is scheduled for 6 p.m.