Marcus High School in Flower Mound was presented with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy at a pep rally Thursday. The honor is part of the sixth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions for Boys Basketball presented by the Army National Guard.
The Marauders finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 20,000 high school boys’ basketball teams. This is the second straight year Marcus has earned the top ranking and they were also honored on the 2010-2011 MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard.
Sergeant First Class Matthew Walter of the Texas Army National Guard presented Coach Henderson and the Marauders with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy. Marcus is one of only 10 schools being honored
“On behalf of MaxPreps, I would like to congratulate Coach Henderson and the Marcus High School Basketball team on an amazing season,” said MaxPreps Founder and President, Andy Beal.
Marcus beat Fort Bend Travis 56-52 to win their second Texas Class 5A state title in as many years. This was the third consecutive trip to the UIL state tournament for the Marauders; they lost in the semi-finals in 2010. They finished the 2011-2012 season with a 39-2 record and over the past three seasons with Coach Henderson at the helm, they have accumulated 115 wins and just 6 losses.
“I am still trying to soak it all in,” said Marcus head coach Danny Henderson. “I’ve been with these guys for three years and I am still trying to wrap my head around all that they have accomplished. To receive this national honor from MaxPreps and the Army National Guard for the second year is unbelievable.”
Henderson was named the 2012 MaxPreps Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
Winning the 2011 Texas Class 5A State Championship last year made this season very difficult for Marcus. All of their opponents were gunning for them, but the Marauders stepped up to the challenge.
Just before they started district play, they lost a tough game to Richland 56-53. It was a game Marcus should have won and the team knew it. But the loss was effective in serving as a wake up call for the Marauders and after that, they didn’t lose another game, including all seven games in the state tournament on their way to winning back-to-back state championships.
When asked about his best player, Coach Henderson didn’t hesitate to call out his team defense. Holding opponents to an average of 41 points per game made the defense MVP of Marcus’ championship season.
Of course, having Marcus Smart and Philip Forte on the team didn’t hurt. Smart, named to the 2012 USA Today All-High School Basketball Team, the MaxPreps Boys Basketball All-American Team and Texas Gatorade Player of the Year for the second year, will go on to play at Oklahoma State next season. Forte, the Class 5A tournament MVP and winner of the 2012 National 3-Point Competition at the NCAA Final Four, will also play for Oklahoma State in the fall.
MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program, known as the Freeman Rankings, to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighted 2.1 times a regular season game.