By Robert Wilson
Photos by Robert Smith
Germantown girls basketball coach Jamie Glasgow knows she has the talent to win the MHSAA Class 6A state championship. After all, she has one of the best players in America in 6-foot junior guard Madison Booker and an outstanding supporting cast.
Glasgow also knows if her team doesn’t play hard and lacks intensity the Lady Mavs can lose.
Brandon, one the best Class 6A teams in Mississippi as well, found out what happens when the ultra-talented Germantown team puts together four quarters of intense basketball.
Booker had 16 points and five rebounds, and 6-foot sophomore forward Alana Rouser added 13 points and an amazing 22 rebounds to lead Germantown to a convincing, 53-32 victory Tuesday night at Brandon.
Germantown, last year’s 6A state runner-up, bounced back from a 2-point loss Saturday to defending MHSAA Class 4A state champion Pontotoc and improved to 10-2.
“The big difference tonight was our intensity,” Glasgow said. “We were intense for four quarters. It was the first time we did it for the whole game this season. Sometimes we would play for a half or a quarter, then slack up and start back again. We came out flat Saturday against Pontotoc and we were down 13 going into the fourth quarter before we picked it up, but it was too late. I challenged the girls to play four quarters and they did it.”
Brandon dropped to 11-2 and broke its 11-game winning streak. Both of Brandon’s losses are to Germantown. Germantown won 63-16 in the season opener, but Brandon was missing its top two players, senior guard Marley Freeman and junior guard Kynnedi Davis, both out from injury protocols.
Freeman and Davis – both members of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Girls Basketball Team – were at full speed Tuesday night, but Germantown didn’t allow the talented duo to get going. Davis, a Pearl transfer scored a career-high 44 points, 11 3-pointers (tied for second most in Mississippi history) earlier this month against Hancock, had only nine points. Freeman, who had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists Saturday against Starkville, had only seven points.
“I told Maddie her assignment was to guard 10, Marley, and she did a good job on her,” Glasgow said. “We also wanted to faceguard Kynnedi. We wanted to take away those two. Everyone else had to be ready to help on them. We stuck to our defensive game plan and it worked.”
Booker scored the first points on the game on a 3-pointer 2 minutes into the game. Germantown led 10-8 after one quarter, 27-13 at halftime and 41-22 after three quarters. After Booker made the 3-pointer to start the game, she was encouraging her teammates to play good defense and keep the intensity up.
Booker, the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Player of the Year last season, was a member of the USA 16-and-under national team this summer and started for the team, which own the FIBA Americans Championship. She is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Prep Girls Hoops, No. 5 by Blue Star Basketball and No. 6 by ESPN Hoopsgurlz in her class of 2023.
Booker – who is also a member of the Elite 11 team with Freeman, Davis and Rouser – showed some flashes of why she is so highly thought of nationally. She made a deep 3-pointer from about 25 feet in front of the Brandon bench. Late in the first half, Booker dribbled behind her back twice as she came down the floor, then dished an assist to Jer’Mya Brandon for a layup. In addition, her defense was superb on Freeman.
Booker’s performance was in front of several hundred fans, including assistant coaches from University of Connecticut and University of Tennessee, two of the nine schools Booker is considering to play for in college. The other seven are Mississippi State, South Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Louisville, Oregon, and Texas.
Booker had a scare in the fourth quarter when she went down with an apparent ankle injury, but after going to the dressing room she returned to play most of the fourth quarter before coming out with 1 minute to play. Glasgow expects Booker to be ready to go when Germantown plays Class 6A state championship contender Tupelo on Saturday.
Germantown’s third standout – 5-11 senior forward Marian Jenkins – added 10 points and five rebounds. Jenkins played in the Mississippi Association of Coaches’ North-South All-Star Game this summer, showcasing the top rising public school seniors in the state.
Brandon coach Candace Foster gave Germantown credit.
“We played like the moment was too big and Germantown came prepared to play,” Foster said. “Hats off to them for their composure and preparation. There’s a reason why they are 6A contenders. We didn’t show that tonight. Our lack of execution and toughness was evident, and it showed on the scoreboard. My hope is that we learn from games like this, and we prepare better for the moment.”