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Banyard powers FM Marcus over Lewisville

FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- Flower Mound Marcus was a state-tournament team without Nick Banyard.

With him, the Marauders may be a state-title team.

The transfer from Arlington Grace Prep showed what kind of impact he can have in Marcus' 61-51 win over rival Lewisville on Monday, a win that puts the Marauders (22-1, 4-0) in sole possession of first place in District 8-5A.

Banyard led Marcus in scoring with 20 points and cleaned up on the glass, tallying 13 rebounds. And the 6-foot-8 junior showed incredible versatility, knocking down 3-pointers in the second quarter while mucking it up in the paint in a physical third quarter, picking up a technical foul.

"I thought this was his best game of the year," Marcus head coach Danny Henderson said of Banyard. "He's getting better and better every game."

Banyard has gotten acclimated to a Marcus system that's more structured than the one he played in at Grace Prep, and he's standing out on a team already loaded with star power.

"It took me awhile, like a couple months, but I'm starting to get used to it now," Banyard said. "The system here is a lot more strict. We have more rules. 'You're not going to do this or you're going to come out.'"

The usual suspects also contributed for Marcus, the top-ranked team in the ESPN Dallas Class 5A rankings. Phil Forte and Marcus Smart, the duo that guided the Marauders to the state semifinals in 2010, scored 15 and 14, respectively.

After a sloppy first quarter, Forte put Marcus in control in the second quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and two free throws to give Marcus a 21-17 lead.

The five-point swing was the nexus of a 14-2 run, leading the Marauders to a 29-20 lead at halftime.

"We just executed better," Henderson said. "In the first quarter, we shot too many contested shots. That's all I talked about at the quarter break -- trying to get uncontested shots. We did that in the second quarter."

The game slowed down after the break in a third quarter where each team collected more than seven fouls by the end.

Ryan Dorsey, who scored 15 for No. 9 Lewisville, opened the frame with a hot hand and his free throw cut Marcus' lead to seven midway through the frame.

But the Farmers (16-6, 3-1) wouldn't get any closer despite Dorsey and a team-high 20 from Ryan Bowie. Marcus pulled away in the fourth behind dominant play from Banyard and Smart.

"It was closer than the score indicated," Henderson said.