By Robert Wilson
St. Andrew’s senior guard Rashad Bolden is what basketball coaches and players call “in the zone.”
That’s bad news for the rest of the opponents on the Saints’ schedule this season.
Bolden, recognized as one of top five players in Mississippi, averaged 32.5 points and led the defending Class 3A state champion St. Andrew’s to two victories last week.
For his outstanding performances, Bolden has been named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Week.
The 6-foot Bolden scored 26 points with 6 steals, 4 assists and 2 steals in two and half quarters in an 87-42 victory Tuesday at Loyd Star and had 39 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists and 1 blocked shot in a 60-59 victory Saturday at Class 5A Ridgeland. Bolden scored the winning shot with 8 seconds to play against Ridgeland. The 39-point performance was three points short of his career high of 42 against Crystal Springs last season.
Bolden is averaging 27 points, 3.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 0.7 blocked shots for the 5-2 Saints. He is shooting 42 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line.
“Rashad is locked in right now,” first-year St. Andrew’s coach Russell Marsalis said. “He is so competitive and never thinks we are out of a game. As a coach, you love that about him.
“Rashad had a big game against Loyd Star earlier in the week where he shot it really well from the outside, hitting five 3-pointers. He was in the attack mode all game against Ridgeland. He was being aggressive with the drive and getting to the basket. He got to the free throw line 18 times (making 14). He also made two big time, back-to-back defensive stops on their guard who had been giving us problems late in the game with the drive.”
Bolden, who made the first team on the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All Metro Jackson team last season, averaged 25.9 points and led St. Andrew’s to a 29-6 record and its second 3A state title in the past three years last year. Bolden averaged 33 points in five playoff games. He scored 36 points in the semifinal win over Holly Springs and 25 points in a victory over defending 3A state champion Velma Jackson in the 3A state championship game. He didn’t have a turnover in semifinal or final. He started as a freshman on St. Andrew’s 3A state title team in 2018 and made six straight free throws in the final minute in the championship game.