Marshall basketball

Marshall’s Kevin Pinson goes up for a shot against Hallsville earlier this season.

Marshall’s Kevin Pinson will be stepping on the court for his final game at Maverick Gymnasium for senior night tonight when his Mavericks play for a district title against Nacogdoches, the team that handed the Mavs their only loss of the season in a 53-51 final.

“We came out flat,” Pinson recalls of that game on Jan. 21 in Nacogdoches. “We weren’t doing what we were supposed to do.”

Both the Mavericks and Dragons are 11-1 in district play and Pinson would love nothing more to help his team get revenge in his last game in Marshall, a place he calls home.

Pinson was raised in Marshall until his seventh-grade year when he moved to Karnack. It was there that he first picked up basketball.

“My eighth-grade year, when I moved to a 2A school, they didn’t have a football team,” he explained. “Basketball and track were all they had.”

From there, he attended Jefferson High School for three years before returning to Marshall for his senior year.

“I wanted to finish where I started,” he said.

“He’s a stabilizer,” Marshall head boys basketball coach Bobby Carson said of Pinson. “I think he’s a stabilizer on the bus, a stabilizer in the locker room and he’s a stabilizer on the court.

“Kevin is never going to have gaudy stats but he is one of our better-on-ball defenders. He’s a good off-the-ball defender. He’s probably second on the team in rebounds behind Savion (Williams). He’ll score around the basket and handle the ball a little bit. He’s just a solid all-around player.

“He’s not flashy,” Carson continued. “He doesn’t have a high-wire act. He’s not going for powerful dunks and all, although, he can dunk the mess out of a basketball. His biggest attribute is his enormous hands, strong hands. He catches everything and that helps him with his rebounds, helps him with his ball-handling.

“He’s been a welcomed addition to the team. I like him personally. He’s strong willed. We have battled but I have nothing but respect for him. I like kids who will talk to me. I like kids who question me. That shows they’re mentally dialed in to what’s going on, ‘Coach, why did we do that?’ ‘Coach, can we try to do this?’ I like that in players. You know if they’re talking, a cognitive process is going on and they’re thinking about the game. ‘Coach, I think I can get open in the high post.’ Thirty-seven years, I absolutely do not think I know it all and I love the input from my kids, I really do.”

Pinson plans to attend college and major in kinesiology to one day become a coach himself. He said he has learned a lot from Carson.

“Most definitely the coaches helping me and my teammates get better every week,” he said. “They not only teach us about basketball but how to be better men. They tell us how to be coachable and take some criticism.”

That’s the kind of mentality the Mavericks are going to need tonight in order to defeat the Dragons.

“We’re going to have to raise our game up,” he said. “I think we have been playing just well enough to win and I would say we’re at 85 percent. We’re going to have to be 99 percent. We’re not going to be perfect but we’re going to have to bring our A-game because they’re going to bring their A-game. They know what’s on the line. The district championship is on the line.”

Carson said he expects a great competitive game.

“I think this is great,” the coach said. “We’ve got two good basketball teams playing on a Friday night. It’s senior night, and the place should be packed and rocking, which everyone wants to see that. To me, that’s what high school athletics is all about. This shouldn’t be a snoozer by any stretch of the imagination. I have nothing but respect for Nacogdoches. They were a good playoff team last year and went a couple rounds. They present matchup problems with a six-foot-nine guy. He’s a long six-foot-nine.

“In my opinion, Deonte Jackson is one of the district’s better scorers. They’re quick. They’re experienced. They’re well coached. They’re disciplined. It’s not going to be a gimme.

“If we can bring that kind of intensity, we’ve got a shot. If we blink, it’ll be over and I hope they feel the same way.”

Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. following the freshmen and JV games.