By Robert Wilson

       Germantown’s Madison Booker had a sad trip last year when she left the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, traveling back up Interstate 55 to Madison County.

       Booker scored only 12 points and her Lady Mavs lost to Harrison Central by 19 points in the MHSAA Class 6A semifinals and missed out on a second straight state championship appearance.

       Booker – the McDonald’s All-American, Texas signee and two-time USA Basketball gold medalist – was all smiles Wednesday night as she left the coliseum and headed back north.

       The 6-foot-1 senior guard had 22 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists to lead Germantown to a 46-35 victory over Harrison Central in the 6A state semifinals, playing not only in front of the coliseum crowd, but her future coach in Texas’ Vic Shaefer, formerly of Mississippi State.

       Germantown improved to 28-2, won its 17th straight game and 22nd consecutive against Mississippi teams. The Lady Mavs meet Tupelo, 26-3 and a 56-45 winner over Biloxi in the other semifinal, for the 6A state title Saturday at 5 p.m. at the coliseum. Germantown has never won a state title in its 12-year school history. Germantown defeated Tupelo 55-47 on Dec. 22. Germantown’s only Mississippi loss was a 57-56 decision to defending MHSAA 4A state champion Choctaw Central. Germantown’s only other loss was a 59-49 decision to Hoover, Ala., 33-1 and ranked No. 13 in the country by Maxpreps.

Harrison Central – winners of an MHSAA record 13 state titles – finished 19-10. Germantown defeated Harrison Central 65-51 Dec. 20 at Harrison Central in the only meeting this season before Wednesday.

       Germantown led from the start, up 8-2 after one quarter, 24-19 at halftime and 35-28 after the third quarter.

       Booker had seven points in the first half, but heated up in the second half, getting eight points in the third quarter and seven points in the fourth. She made seven of seven from the free throw line in the second half.

       Booker’s teammate – 6-foot junior forward Alana Rouser – had 8 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.

       “I was so proud of our team,” said Germantown coach Jamie Glasgow, the only girls basketball coach since the school opened 12 years ago. “We played great defense tonight and got stops when we needed them. This was a great team effort. (Junior guard) Micaiah Satcher stepped up big time tonight. She played with intensity on both ends of the floor. (Junior guard) Raegan (Jordan) handled the ball well and made free throws. (Senior guard) Jer’Mya (Branson) hit a couple of threes to get us going. Maddie and Alana got on the boards and had some good blocks.”