By Robert Wilson
Photos by Chris Todd
The Clinton girls hadn’t beaten Germantown since 2019 so it was definitely a time for them to celebrate Friday night when Clinton surprised Germantown 71-67 in overtime for the MHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 championship at Madison Central.
“This was a sweet moment for our team,” Clinton coach Pearlenne Fairley said. “Germantown put us out in the second round of the playoffs last year and beat us twice this season. To beat them tonight in the championship game shows how much our team grown.”
Clinton improved to 19-7 and has won 12 of its last 14 games against Mississippi competition. The only two losses in that streak are to Germantown, 66-62 Jan. 11 at Germantown and 59-46 Jan. 25 at Clinton. Clinton receives a first-round bye in next week’s 6A playoffs and plays at home game next Friday. Germantown, last year’s 6A state runner-up, dropped to 19-6. Germantown plays host to South Panola Monday a first-round game.
Sophomore guard Taelar Felton led Clinton with 20 points, 15 in the second half and OT. She scored five of Clinton’s 12 points in overtime and made 8 of 9 free throw attempts in the second half. Junior forward Kaitlyn Walker – a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – added 16 points. Senior guard Arianna Durrell had 11 points.
“It was a very intense game,” Fairley said. “We went back and forth in the first and led by 10 at one point and went into the half up by 6. In the third, we continued to put pressure on them as they clawed back into the game. Booker is tough to guard. Our guards and post banded together as a team to play defense. In overtime, we made (6 of 7) free throws to close the game out.”
Germantown’s 6-foot junior guard Madison Booker – the 2021 Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and a starter on the 16-and-under USA Team – had 20 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Alana Rouser had 17 points, including a 10-footer from the baseline at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Senior forward Marian Jenkins had 15 points.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Germantown coach Jamie Glasgow said. “Clinton shot the ball well, and the ball just didn’t bounce our way tonight. I’m proud of how hard we played and how we didn’t quit. We fought to the end. Now it’s time to focus on the playoffs.”