By Robert Wilson

Photo by Brad Bridges

       Very few eighth graders play on a high school basketball team, even fewer start and even fewer than that win a state championship.

       But Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s Anna Morgan Anderson did all three last year as she started as a 5-foot-4 guard and helped the Lady Patriots win the MAIS Class 6A state championship and the Overall Tournament title last year.

       Anderson, now a 5-9 freshman point guard, has stepped up her game and has been the leading scorer on MRA’s team this season.

       And last week, Anderson scored a career-high 25 points – she made 10 of 13 shots from the field, 2 of 2 from 3-point range, and 3 of 3 from the free throw line – and had 5 steals to led MRA to a 56-35 victory over Jackson Academy in the key MAIS Class 6A conference win at JA.

       For her outstanding performance, Anderson was named the Junction Deli/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

       In addition to her career high performance against JA last week, Anderson had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists in a 44-34 conference victory over Hartfield Academy Friday night at MRA. She scored six of MRA’s 11 points in overtime. Anderson also had 8 points, 5 steals and 2 assists in 12 minutes in MRA’s 72-34 win over Greenville Christian Saturday at MRA.

       Anderson leads the team with 13 points and 4 steals and is second with 5.5 rebounds per game for 26-2 MRA this season entering this week. She is shooting 46.7 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range (made 46 3-pointers), and 74 percent from the free throw line.

       “She is the first eight-grader I have ever had start for me,” said MRA coach Stephen Force, who has won 736 games in 28 seasons, 594 wins and three Overall titles in 22 seasons at MRA going into this week. “She was a role player on our team last year with three seniors, but she was a fantastic defender who could handle the ball. Anna Morgan wasn’t afraid of the big stage. She was 13 years old and playing against girls a lot older in the Overall finals. Anna Morgan handled it well.

       “She worked hard in the offseason, played AAU ball this summer (Anderson played for the 2027 Mississippi Jazz), and continued to work hard. Anna Morgan stepped into a leadership role on scoring and defense. She has done a great job. Anna Morgan is fast, quick and has an aggressive mindset. She has a high motor and if you have that in high school basketball and are always moving, you are going to be in a position to score.”

        Anderson is a multi-sport athlete at MRA. She was an all-state cross country runner and helped MRA to its sixth consecutive state title this fall, and played on the No. 1 mixed doubles team on MRA’s tennis team last spring.

       Anderson is the daughter of Kaylan and Jo Anderson. Kaylan graduated from Parkway High in Boosier City, La., and played basketball there. Jo graduated from Canton Academy and played basketball and ran track. Kaylan graduated from LSU. Jo graduated from Mississippi State.

       Anderson has two older siblings, Hayden and Will, both graduates of Canton Academy. Hayden was a cheerleader, played basketball and softball and ran cross country and track. She was an MAIS All-Star in softball and was named the MVP of the 2015 All-Star Game. Hayden graduated from MSU. Will played football, basketball at baseball at Canton Academy. He was a member of Canton Academy’s 2016 state championship football team. He was a MAIS All-Star in football and played basketball in the Overall Tournament his senior year. Will played football at Southwest Mississippi Community College. He is a senior at Ole Miss.

Mississippi Scoreboard selects a girls basketball player from Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or call to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276. 

Previous Players of the Week

Week One: Taelar Felton, Clinton

Week Two: Ann Magee Stradinger, Jackson Prep 

Week Three: Shamira Morton, Canton

Week Four: Lauren Sutton, Madison Central

Week Five: Maia Turner, Madison St. Joseph

Week Six: Alana Rouser, Germantown