By Robert Wilson
Photos by Hays Collins
Andie Flatgard’s Friday morning started off with a Game Day poster made by her parents, Spence and Lou Ann, and the Rocky theme playing as she came down for breakfast.
Then, Flatgard delivered a knockout punch to Jackson Academy Friday night.
The Jackson Prep senior point guard and Alabama-Huntsville signee scored 10 points in the first five minutes and finished with a game-high 23 points to lead Prep to a 44-24 victory over JA in the MAIS Class 6A conference opener for both teams at Prep in Flowood.
Prep improved to 21-1 and won its sixth straight game since its only loss at defending MAIS Overall Tournament champion Leake Academy. JA dropped to 13-4, lost its third consecutive game and lost its first MAIS game this season.
Flatgard – who was named the Performance Therapy Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the week this week – made two 3-pointers and two jumpers in a 50-second span midway through the first quarter to give Prep a 10-2 lead. JA never covered. Flatgard had 15 points at half as Prep led 27-16. Flatgard, who also had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals for the game, made two free throws for her 22nd and 23rd points and left the game with 18 seconds and was one point short of tying JA’s scoring by herself. Flatgard, who leads Mississippi in 3-pointers, made 2 3-pointers Friday to give her 54 on the season. She made a national record seven 3-pointers in the first quarter against Clinton Christian earlier this season.
“Coach Mac (Prep coach Michael McAnally) always says you’ve got to win the home games and tonight we came out determined and fired up and did just that,” said Flatgard, a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team. “Our gym was packed, and the environment was awesome.”
So was Prep’s performance. In addition to Flatgard, senior guard Josie Duncan continued her hot shooting from 3-point range. The 5-4 Duncan – who came into Friday’s game shooting 43.5 percent from 3-point range (44 of 101), second best in Mississippi according to MaxPreps – made 5 of 9 3-pointers against JA and had 15 points, 3 steals and 2 assists. She made five consecutive 3-pointers to help Prep to a 42-36 victory over Brookhaven Tuesday to end its 14-game winning streak for only its second loss this season.
“I thought we came out with great energy tonight and grabbed some early momentum that is so crucial in games like that,” McAnally said. “It was just a great team effort. We hit some big shots throughout the game, and I felt like we were really solid defensively in our game plan.”
JA – which was missing 6-foot eighth-grader starter Gracelynn Carmichael (out with an illness) – was led by senior forward Nae Nae Ellis with 11 points. Ellis, a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team, also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocked shots and 1 steal.
“We talked about getting off to a fast start, but Prep was the one who got the first punch in,” said JA coach Jan Sojourner, who recently won her 1,000th game, one of only three girls basketball coaches in Mississippi history to achieve that mark. “Andie and Josie knocked down some big shots for them. I was disappointed on how we guarded them. We’ve got to do a better job defensively. We have to learn how to push through mentally, it’s a huge problem for us right now. We are going to have to tight things up in order to win some more games.”