By Robert Wilson
Clinton High’s Kaitlyn Walker can tell her kids one day that she won the MHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 championship by beating and outscoring one of the best players in the country.
The 5-foot-9 junior forward scored a game-high 22 points with 11 rebounds and led Clinton to a 71-67 overtime victory over Germantown and 2021 Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and 16-and-under Team USA starter Madison Booker Friday night for the championship and Clinton’s first win over Germantown since 2019.
For his outstanding performance, Walker has been named the Performance Therapy/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the Week.
Walker also took three charges, had three assists and one steal against Germantown and Booker, who scored 20 points before fouling midway through the fourth quarter. Walker also helped Clinton avenge the only two losses during its 12-2 streak in the last 14 games against Mississippi competition. Germantown had won 66-62 on Jan. 11 and 59-46 on Jan. 25.
“Kaitlyn showed everyone that she can defend and shoot the basketball, both midrange and 3-pointer,” Clinton coach Pearlene Fairley said. “She sacrifices her body by taking charges, gives great advice to her sub, and is someone who loves to do all the little things other will not. Kaitlyn has really grown as a player and she’s only a junior. She can only get better moving forward. Kaitlyn has been our leading rebounder and an impact player all year. You can tell when she is not on the floor. When she is in the game, everything flows, and it makes things easier on everyone else.”
Walker – a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – also had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in a victory over Murrah in the first round of region tournament last week.
She is averaging 12.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.3 assists for 19-7 Clinton, which received a first-round bye in this week’s 6A state playoffs and plays host to Desoto Central Friday at 6 p.m. in a second-round game at Clinton.
Walker averaged 11.4 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals as a sophomore and helped Clinton to a 13-6 record last season and reached the second round of the Class 6A playoffs, losing to eventual 6A state runner-up Germantown. She was a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson fourth team last season. Walker averaged 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 rebounds on Clinton’s MHSAA Class 6A state runner-up team as a freshman.