Marengo Academy Junior High basketball repeats as champs

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Marengo Academy Junior High boys basketball team started the 2012-13 season as the defending AISA Class 2A champions, but after reclassification last spring, the Longhorns moved down to Class 1A.

With all but two of last season’s players returning, expectations for the team were high. Two of the team’s goals for the year were to remain undefeated and win their second state championship.

They started the year with a win over South Choctaw, and the winning continued throughout the season. By the time the state tournament rolled around, the Junior Longhorns were 13-0.

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Marengo Academy entered the state tournament as the No. 2 seed behind Abbeville, who also entered the tournament at 13-0. The Junior Longhorns would have to win three games on the day of the tournament to repeat as state champions.

Their first game of the tournament was against the host team, Cornerstone. The Longhorns were able to down the Chargers easily, 45-19. Cason Cook led the Longhorns with 13 points, followed by Hayden Huckabee with 11 and Landen Houlditch with 7.

Earlier in the day, Lakeside defeated Sparta to become Marengo’s next opponent of the day. The Longhorns started the game strong, and led 32-13 at the half. Lakeside made a run in the second half, and the game came down to the final shot. Marengo was able to hold on a get away with the win, 37-35. Huckabee led the Longhorns with 16 points and Cook added 15 for most of the team’s scoring. The win landed the Longhorns in the championship game against Abbeville.

The final game of the day was for the state championship against the Abbeville Generals. Both teams came into the game undefeated with the entire season on the line.

The game started close, with the first quarter coming to a close with the score 11-10 in Marengo’s favor. By halftime, the Longhorns were able to stretch their one-point lead to five.

Marengo Academy’s defense stifled the Generals’ leading scorer in the second half, and the Longhorns came away with an eight-point victory, 34-26, to repeat as state champions. Cook led the way with 12 points, and Huckabee added 11.

Cook was chosen as most valuable player of the tournament, and Huckabee and Andrew Martin both made the all-tournament team.

The three wins in the state tournament put the Junior Longhorns at 16-0 on the season. They played three more games after the tournament to round out their perfect season at 19-0.

Members of the 2013 Marengo Academy Junior High state championship team were Cook, Huckabee, Martin, Houlditch, Caleb Broadhead, Daniel Pritchett, Robert Gibbs and Frankie Martin. The team’s coaches were Chasity Broadhead and Larry Huckabee.