(Top 4 Teams Listed at the bottom of the page)
Robert Wilson spent 23 years at The Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News as a sportswriter with more than half of those years covering high school sports, mostly in the Metro Jackson area. He helped choose the All-Metro teams in various sports for more than a decade. Wilson rebirthed this team with the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Jackson Boys and Girls Basketball Teams with 20 players and a Coach and Player of the Year on each team. These are the third annual teams. With the help of high school and college coaches, Wilson selected the best players and best coaches for the 2021-2022 season from Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties. The girls story and teams run today. The boys story and teams run tomorrow.
By Robert Wilson
Germantown’s Madison Booker and Jackson Prep’s Michael McAnally – the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player and Coach of the Year – had something to prove going into the 2021-2022 girls basketball season.
Booker, a 6-foot junior guard, had just come off a successful off season, being a starter on the Team USA 16-and-under team, and rated as one of the best players in the country in her class and wanted to show she was an elite player during her junior year of high school.
McAnally, in his eighth season at his alma mater, was determined to take his team further than last season when Prep lost at Leake in the MAIS Overall Tournament quarterfinals and possibly bring home the gold ball.
Both achieved success this season.
Booker averaged 16.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals and led Germantown to a 24-7 record and a second straight Girls State Tournament appearance this season.
McAnally guided Prep to a 37-2 record, ending with a 15-game winning streak, and won the Class 6A state championship and the Overall title, the first girls Overall title at Prep since 2006. And McAnally defeated Leake – which ended his season last year – in the Overall championship game and prevented Leake from its second straight Overall title.
Booker was the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the 2020-2021 season. Then, she made the Team USA 16-and-under team, performed so well in practice she started every game and helped the team win the FIBA Americas Championship.
Booker came into this season ranked No. 4 in the nation by Prep Girls Hoops, No. 5 by Blue Star Basketball and No. 6 by ESPN Hoopsgulz in her class of 2023. She narrowed her college choices down to nine schools – Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Duke, Florida State, Louisville, Oregon, and Texas – on Sept. 18.
With all that publicity going into the season, opposing teams were focused on Booker and slowing her down.
“I think I handled their face guarding, box-in-one, and double teams well,” Booker said. “I got off my shots off the dribble or sometimes moved without the ball. Or if I saw an open teammate, I would dish it off to them.”
“Madison doesn’t mind passing the ball,” Germantown coach Jamie Glasgow said. “She never has. If she has an open teammate that has a better shot, she will get them the ball.”
“Maddie is fun to play with and she really stepped up this season when we needed her,” said Germantown senior forward Marian Jenkins, who made the third team All-Metro Jackson this season. “She is always making everyone laugh and brings good energy. Maddie has a bright future, and I can’t wait to see where she goes with her career.”
When the game is on the line, Booker can take over. One of the best examples this season was in the Class 6A quarterfinals with Germantown’s season in the balance at Tupelo. She scored 14 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead Germantown to a 62-54 victory. Booker made two 3-pointers – one from about 24 feet left of the top of the key with a defender all over her – a pair of two-pointers, one of those on an offensive rebound and another on a drive to the basket, and four of four shots from the free throw line late in the game for her 15 points in the fourth quarter. Booker also finished with 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots to help Germantown rally from a 42-40 deficit after three quarters.
“What can I say? Maddie was being Maddie,” Glasgow said after the game. “She hit shots when we needed them. That’s what she does. Maddie also hit a couple of big threes in the second quarter to help us go up by eight at half.”
Booker was named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the Week the next week. It was the third time she was awarded the honor, more than any player this season.
And then was Germantown’s big game with 6A contender Brandon this season. Glasgow challenged her team to bring some intensity to the game and they did, especially Booker. With assistant coaches from University of Connecticut and University of Tennessee watching, Booker had 16 points and five rebounds and led Germantown to a convincing, 53-32 victory at Brandon, breaking Brandon’s 11-game winning streak. Booker also limited one of Brandon’s top scorers, senior guard Marley Freeman, to only seven points.
“Madison is by far one of the best players to come through Mississippi in a long time,” Brandon coach Candace Foster said. “She’s a competitor that plays with a lot of passion and is extremely talented. Madison is one of those kids you have to game plan for and it’s evidenced by her accolades.”
“When Maddie scores at all three levels, at the goal, mid-range, and the 3-point line, she is hard to stop,” Glasgow said. “In all of the games where she scored a lot, Maddie shots started falling when she attacked off the dribble.”
Booker felt she improved in several areas this season.
“My 3-pointers were inconsistent last season, so I worked on making so many 3-pointers in a row last summer and expanding my range,” Booker said. “I also worked on my ball-handling skills from this past season.”
Booker – whose dad Carlos was a 6-foot-10 center for Southern Miss in the 1990s – visited Duke and Tennessee during the basketball season. She hasn’t scheduled any more visits and doesn’t have a timetable on when she will decide on where she will go to college.
“I’m focusing on the USA Team and AAU (with the Alabama Southern Starz) this summer,” Booker said. “My goals are to make the USA Team and have a good season next season.”
Booker’s first year at Germantown was in the seventh grade after transferring from Olde Towne Middle School in Ridgeland.
“I knew about Maddie, but I had not seen her play,” said Glasgow, who has been the coach at Germantown ever since the school opened 11 years ago. “I remember being at the middle school practice, and I saw her doing a figure eight drill. I saw how she moved and how smooth she was as a seventh grader. I actually went to her mom’s classroom (Booker’s mom, Stephanie, teaches at Germantown Middle School) and asked if she would let me move her up as a seventh grader. Her parents wanted her to play at least one year of middle school with her classmates. The next year she moved up to the ninth-grade team. I think she played two ninth grade games before she moved up to the varsity team as an eighth grader.”
Booker averaged 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocked shots and led Germantown to a 13-4 record and the MHSAA Class 6A runner-up finish last season. She was first team on the All-Metro Jackson team as a freshman and sophomore.
McAnally didn’t have the career as a high school player like Booker, but he is having success like Booker in his coaching career. A 5-foot-9 backup point guard on Prep’s 1996 Overall championship team, McAnally won his 600th career game this season. He has won 603 games – 390 girls and 213 boys – and four state titles, two Overall titles and two Overall runner-up finishes in 21 seasons. He has won 173 girls games in eight seasons at Prep. He has coached at Huntington, La. (2001-2003), Copiah Academy (2003-2006), East Rankin (2006-2014) and Prep. McAnally has had only six losing seasons (four boys and two girls) in a combined 30 seasons (17 girls and 13 boys).
McAnally became only the second girls basketball coach in the history of MAIS to win Overalls at two different schools. McAnally led East Rankin to the Overall girls title in 2010. Carolyn Wallis won two Overall titles at Prep in 1979 and 1980 and one at Jackson Academy in 1984.
Gerald Austin, McAnally’s coach at Prep, knew McAnally had potential to be a successful coach when he was in high school.
“Michael was a tremendous leader when he was in high school,” said Austin, who won 165 games and three Overall titles in six seasons at Prep and was a part of six state championships and two Overall titles in 19 seasons as an assistant at Gulfport High. “Even though he was a back up point guard, he was always giving good input when we had timeouts. I’m not surprised how successful he has become as a coach. Michael worked our camps and worked so well with our kids. We won the Overall his senior year and he was an important part of it.”
“I have always held Coach Austin in the highest regard,” McAnally said. “He was a great mentor to me as my head coach when I played at Prep and was someone I would turn to in the beginning of my coaching career. I always had a great admiration for Coach Austin’s humility and the way he carried himself. That is something that shaped me early in my coaching career.”
McAnally didn’t have much of a career as an assistant coach – one season – until he became the main guy on the staff.
“My coaching path has not been the traditional path of being mentored as an assistant,” McAnally said. “I was an assistant for one season to Paul Glynn during my first year at Huntington. That was way back during the 2001 season. Coach Glynn left after that season and I was promoted to the head job, so I had to learn a lot on my own at a young age. I learned the importance of being organized and disciplined from Coach Austin. I like to think that has always been a trait of our teams. There are so many good coaches in this league that I feel shaped my career. I learned early on that I better get my teams prepared to play or we were going to get whipped a lot of nights. Bill Ball’s teams at Jackson Academy were very impressionable on me as a young coach. I loved the way they warmed up before the game. I loved the way their guards could handle the ball, the way they could pass the ball with either hand, the way they met passes. I loved the way their bigs would post and how they worked for position. I loved the way they defended and the tenacity they showed. One of the biggest wins of my coaching career was in 2007 when my East Rankin boys upset JA in the first round of the state tournament. JA was the defending Overall champion and had just won the division 1 state title the week before. About a week later I received a note in the mail from Bill congratulating me on how well our team played and the preparation that we had put into that game. I thanked Bill for that kind note but he probably had no idea how much it meant to me.”
McAnally felt good about his group going into this season with five of his top seven players returning, including senior point guard and Alabama-Huntsville signee Andie Flatgard leading the way. Flatgard was the first Prep girls player to earn a college basketball scholarship since Lori Jenkins in the 1990s. Flatgard – a member of the All Metro Jackson first team this season -averaged 17.1 points this season, second only to Laurel Bane’s school record of 18.1 points per game in 2010-2011 season.
“I felt like this group had high expectations going into this season,” said McAnally, who led Prep to an Overall runner-up finish in 2020 when this senior group were sophomores. “We had a really good summer. We competed in the MRA and Jackson Academy team camps, only losing two games over those two weeks and winning the tournament on the last day of each of those camps. We went 5-2 in a very competitive Jackson city league that really prepares us for a different style than we see in our league. I think we went 32-4 over the course of the summer and that set high expectations for the season.”
Prep won its first 15 games of the season – all but one of those were by double digits. Win No. 11 created a buzz across the state when Prep defeated MHSAA defending Class 4A state champion Pontotoc 42-24 during the week of Thanksgiving in Oxford.
“The win over Pontotoc was our first signature win of the season,” McAnally said. “Pontotoc was the defending 4A state champion and had all the pieces — really good point guard, really good shooters on the wing, a long, athletic forward, and a big post player. Our team really embraced the challenge of preparing for that game and knew that we had a chance to get a win that would garner attention, which it did. You saw our team showing up in some Super 10 rankings after that win.”
Prep ran into a buzzsaw Dec. 11 when defending Overall champion Leake made 11 3-pointers and defeated Prep 61-37 and ended its 15-game winning streak. It was Leake’s 59th consecutive victory at home. But Prep bounced back and lost only one other game – a 31-30 decision on Jan. 11 at MRA (Madeleine Black was out with an illness) – the rest of the season.
The five senior starters delivered the gold ball with each having a different role: Flatgard’s ability to control the ball, shoot long range 3s and makes drives to the basket was crucial to Prep’s success. Also, Josie Duncan’s accurate 3-point shooting, Olivia Smith’s scrappy play of getting loose balls, grabbing key rebounds and hitting big shots, Julia Stradinger’s athleticism and ability to defend multiple positions and Madeleine Black’s post defense were important.
“I thought our ability to consistently defend without fouling and rebound the basketball was the staple of this team all season and the biggest factor to us winning state and overall,” McAnally said. “We only scored 11 points in the first half in the state final yet had a three-point lead. We held the highest scoring team (Hartfield Academy) in our conference to 28 points in that game. In the overall final, we held a team (Leake) that routinely scores in the 60s to 34 points. Neither of their wings made a three-point shot and one of them was not able to attempt one. Our defense along with our ability to knock down shots made us a tough team to beat.
“Coach (Melanie) Aldridge and Coach (Keavy) Noblin did a fantastic job for our team. This was the first time in my eight years at Prep that I had two assistants on the bench with me. Their ability to scout and help our team prepare was immeasurable and a key component to our team’s success. Their relationship with our girls was a blessing to our team. It takes a village, and they are certainly a big part of that.”
“People don’t realize the amount of time Coach Mac puts into our team,” Flatgard said. “His scouts were always detailed to perfection, but that was always expected coming from Coach Mac. He was never cocky but would let us know when he was proud of us. He definitely pushed us as a team and individually, that’s why our team was so great. He knew what we had to do to win and got us there. I’m extremely grateful to have had a coach that knows the game so well and works harder than anyone for his team.”
One of Prep’s first wins this season was against East Rankin, coached by Brooke Rhodes, who was McAnally’s star player in the 2010 Overall championship team at East Rankin. Rhodes averaged 21.4 points and led East Rankin to a 35-2 record and the Overall title for the first time in school history as a senior. She scored 35 points in the Overall title win over Pillow and averaged 32 in three Overall games. Rhodes scored 2,568 points in her high school career.
“Coach Mac has always been very supportive of me and has taught me a lot about basketball,” said Rhodes, who played at Delta State and Southern Miss and was an assistant coach at Central Arkansas, Jones College, Presbyterian College and Western Carolina for a combined six years before deciding to come home to coach at East Rankin. “He taught me that the details in basketball is what wins championships and his team this year proved that. There were not many times that they missed a blockout or made a bad close out. Things like that became huge down the stretch when they won some close ball games. Coach Mac coaches every kid the same whether they play 32 minutes or 32 seconds. I think that’s why he is so successful and does well everywhere he goes because he’s coaching for more than just winning ball games, but also building relationships and helping grow young people. One thing that is never a doubt about with Coach Mac is how hard he is going to work. This is another reason I believe his teams play so hard because it starts with him and it trickles down. When the head coach is giving it all in every single part of the program, then so will everyone else.”
McAnally saw similarities in his two Overall teams.
“I think the biggest similarity between the two teams is the path to get there,” McAnally said. “Both teams were senior heavy. Both teams felt like they had a chance to win it their junior year but got knocked out by Leake (2009 semis for East Rankin and 2021 quarterfinals for Prep). Both teams came back with high expectations and a great determination to finish the job. I don’t know that it was necessarily “Overall or bust” but both seasons had that sense.
“The 2010 team will always hold a special place in my heart being that it was my first overall championship team but there’s no question that winning overall at Prep, where I went to school, is special. I’ve thought about the opportunity to hoist that gold ball with a Prep team ever since I took this job in 2014. We got to the finals in 2016 and again in 2020 and weren’t able to win that last one. It’s so hard to even get to the finals and you begin to wonder if it’s not meant to be. As this season progressed and it became clear we had a team capable of winning overall, there were times that I would allow my mind to dream of hoisting the gold ball. In the Overall championship, we led most of the game and then faced some adversity when Leake went up 32-29. But like we have done all year, our team found a way to get a big stop, win a 50/50 ball, or get a crucial basket. We had the fortune of not trailing very much this year in the fourth quarter so to see our team respond the way they did and finish that game, and with the stakes at the highest of highs against a team that had beaten us by 24 earlier in the season, was extremely rewarding. I could not be any prouder of this team. They earned it.”
2022 Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Team
(players in alphabetical order)
Madison Booker, Germantown, 6-0, Junior, Guard
Kynnedi Davis, Brandon, 5-5, Junior, Guard
Andie Flatgard, Jackson Prep, 5-7, Senior, Guard
Alana Rouser, Germantown, 6-0, Sophomore, Forward
Leah Sutton, Raymond, 5-6, Junior, Guard
Katelyn Brinkley, Ridgeland, 6-1, Junior, Forward
Marley Freeman, Brandon, 5-8, Senior, Guard
Mylani Galbreath, Northwest Rankin, 5-9, Senior, Forward
Jacia Hayes, Pearl, 6-1, Senior, Center
Kaitlyn Walker, Clinton, 5-9, Junior, Forward
Taelar Felton, Clinton, 5-2, Sophomore, Guard
Kenijha Flowers, Clinton, 5-6, Senior, Guard
Riley Hancock, MRA, 6-0, Junior, Forward
Marian Jenkins, Germantown, 5-11, Senior, Forward
Ma’Nia Womack, Hartfield, 5-11, Junior, Guard
Nae Nae Ellis, Jackson Academy, 5-10, Senior, Forward
Mackenzie Hankins, Central Hinds, 5-7, Senior, Guard
Jaycelyn Russ, Madison Central, 5-5, Senior, Guard
Olivia Smith, Jackson Prep, 5-7, Senior, Guard
Abigail Stevens, East Rankin, 6-2, Sophomore, Forward