By Robert Wilson
Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s Richard Duease – the winningest active boys basketball coach in the country and the winningest basketball coach in Mississippi history – won his 1,768th game Saturday afternoon in his season opener and his star player – senior point guard and Ole Miss commitment Josh Hubbard – spent more time on the bench than on the court because of foul trouble.
Duease and his MAIS Class 6A team defeated 2022 MHSAA Class 3A state runner-up Southeast Lauderdale 38-29 in a game stopped after three quarters by the officials due to condensation on the court at Newton High.
With Saturday afternoon’s win, Duease now has 1,376 boys victories in his 48th season, 41st at MRA. He has won 40 state championships and 15 Overall titles, 13 boys and two girls.
Hubbard – the MAIS career-high scoring leader and the 2022 PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Year – finished with a career-low five points, breaking his 70-game streak of scoring in double figures. Hubbard, who played only about 13 minutes Saturday, last didn’t score in double figures early in his sophomore season (he scored 7 points against Kirk Academy when he played only a quarter).
Hubbard averaged 28.8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and led MRA to a 33-7 record, a MAIS Class 6A state runner-up finish and an Overall semifinal finish this past season. He is ranked as the No. 1 overall player in Mississippi and No. 69 overall player in country and the No. 17 point guard in the country on ESPN’s 2023 Top 100. Hubbard is a member of the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team. Hubbard’s teammate – 6-foot-6 senior guard Harrison Alexander – led MRA with 17 points. Alexander, also a member of the Elite 11 Team, had five rebounds and scored 15 points in the first half to lead MRA to a 31-18 lead after two quarters.