By Robert Wilson
The Jackson Prep girls probably would have not won the MAIS Overall Tournament championship without the superb play of Julia Stradinger.
The 5-foot-7 senior forward kept Leake Academy junior guard Miriam Prince – considered one of the top offensive players in Mississippi – scoreless until late in the first half and also scored 10 points to help Prep to a 37-34 victory over Leake last week at Mississippi College in Clinton for the first Overall girls title for Prep since 2006.
For her outstanding performance, Stradinger has been named the Performance Therapy/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the Week.
Stradinger guarded Prince for 12 of the 16 minutes of the first half. Prince made a rebound shot with 3:17 to play before halftime and a half-court shot at the buzzer at halftime.
Also, Stradinger made two 3-point shots late in the first half to help give Prep a 23-17 lead at halftime. She also made two free throws with 2 seconds to play to give Prep a three-point lead before Leake missed a 3-point shot at the end.
Stradinger had her 10 points in 21 minutes and came in averaging 3.5 points per game.
“I felt Julia played the best basketball of her Prep career down the stretch, namely in the state finals and Overall finals,” Prep coach Michael McAnally said. “She has long been one of our most effective defensive players and she did a great job on Miriam Prince in that Overall final. Combine that defensive effort with 10 points and two clutch free throws that gave us a three point lead in the closing seconds and she was certainly a deciding factor in the outcome of that game. I could not be more proud for how Julia stepped up when her team needed her on the biggest stage in our association.”
“Julia was really great for Prep in the Overall championship game,” Leake coach Amanda Hatch said. “She was able to use her length and athleticism to slow Miriam down a bit in the first half, hit two huge 3s in the first half, and knocked down a pair of clutch free throws late.”
Class 6A state champion Prep finished 37-2, won its 15th straight game and sixth girls Overall in school history (Prep won four straight from 1979-1982). Leake had defeated Prep 61-37 Dec. 11 in Madden to end Prep’s 15-game winning streak to start the season. Leake also defeated Prep 72-60 in the Overall quarterfinals last season at Leake. Leake is the only team to score more than 46 points on Prep all season and the 72 points in the Overall quarterfinals was more than any team last season.
Stradinger not only is a state champion in basketball, but she also won three individual state championships in cross country in her career as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
She will not be playing sports in college and will attend Ole Miss with an interest on accounting.