Photo by Chris Todd

By Robert Wilson

       Niesa Johnson – the all-time leading scorer in Mississippi history when she finished high school in 1991 and former All-American player at Alabama and a WNBA player – is considered the best player in the history of the Clinton High girls basketball program.

       There have many other great players at Clinton such as Sandra Hodge, Terrie Howell, Regan Fedric, Verlynsia Alexander and most recently Jakayla Johnson, who led the Lady Arrows to a MHSAA Class 6A state runner-up finish in 2020 and is now having an all-conference season at Louisiana-Monroe.

       Taelar Felton is one of those superstars at Clinton and she had one of the best weeks of her brilliant career last week.

       The 5-foot-2 senior guard averaged 27.5 points, 4 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in two Class 7A, Region 2 games last week.

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

       Felton – a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College signee – had 23 points, 6 assists, 5 steals and 4 rebounds in a 62-42 victory over Murrah and had 32 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 blocked shot in a 58-51 victory over Madison Central.

       She is averaging 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 3.5 assists this season going into this week’s district tournament.

       Felton scored 13 points in a 49-43 loss to Madison Central in the first round of the region tournament Monday at Germantown to end her high school career. She finished with 1,370 points in her career, where she has been a starter since her freshman year. 

Felton’ scored a career high 38 points against Blue Mountain this season. She had six games of 30 points or more this season and nine for her career.

       “Any coach would have been blessed to have a kid like Taelar running point for them,” Clinton coach Pearlanne Fairley said. “She brings energy, passion, quickness, and a competitive approach to every game. Taelar is very crafty with the ball in her hands. And most people don’t realize how high she can actually get up off the floor to be 5-foot-2. Taelar has meant a lot to the program, and it will be a challenge replacing her. However, I know she will make a huge impact at the next level if she keeps putting in the work and remember why she started playing this game in the first place.”

This is the second time this season Felton has earned Player of the Week honors. 

Felton had 34 points and had eight steals and six assists to lead Clinton to a 64-62 victory over Northwest Rankin and had 13 points, 5 steals, 5 assists and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes in a 63-18 victory over Warren Central in December.

        Felton made two free throws to give Clinton a five-point lead over Northwest Rankin with 40 seconds to play. Northwest Rankin made two free throws to cut the lead to three points, then Felton made one of two free throws with 3.6 seconds to play to push the lead to four points.

“The coaching staff is proud of Taelar’s performances and leadership on the court,” Fairley said. “She not only handles her business on the court, but she is also a straight A student as well. So she gets it done in the classroom, too. It is definitely a privilege to coach an athlete like Taelar, who’s been putting in the extra work outside of the practice setting. She gets her teammates involved. Taelar worked really hard in the offseason to elevate her game to that next level. Taelar is a four-year starter who has experience and a very competitive mentality.”

Felton averaged 16.3 points, 3.1 assists, 3.1 steals, and 3.0 rebounds and helped Clinton to a 20-8 record and the MHSAA Class 6A first round and was a second-team All-Metro Jackson selection last season as a junior.

She averaged 12.3 points, 2.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 2.6 steals and helped Clinton to a 21-8 record and the 6A state semifinals as a sophomore two years ago. Felton made third team All-Metro Jackson.

Felton averaged 10.9 points, 2.2 steals, 1.8 assists and helped Clinton to a 13-6 record and the second round of the 6A state playoffs as a freshman three years ago.

       Felton is the daughter of Charles and Claudette Felton. Charles played basketball at Murrah High and attended Southern Miss. Claudette attended South Natchez High and Jackson State. Taelar’s older brother, Anfernee Felton, played basketball at Clinton High and Mississippi College, William Carey and Jackson State. Taeler’s sister, Jordyn Felton, played basketball in middle school and now lives in Atlanta. Another one of Taelar’s older brothers, Gertarryan Coleman, played middle school basketball and was a manager of the 2022 Clinton boys state championship team. He is a student at Mississippi State.

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

Week Seven: Anna Morgan Anderson, MRA

Week Eight: Shamira Morton, Canton