(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 last year and these are 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 second annual teams. With the help of high school and college coaches, Wilson selected the best players and best coaches for the 2020-2021 season from Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties.
By Robert Wilson
Germantown’s Madison Booker and Clinton Christian Academy’s Josh Zeitz both overcame different types of adversity to take their respective teams to historic finishes during the 2020-2021 basketball season.
Booker, a 6-foot sophomore guard, averaged 18.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and led the Germantown girls to the MSHAA Class 5A state runner-up finish, the best year in school history, despite being targeted by multiple, special defenses trying to slow her down.
Zeitz coached the Clinton Christian girls to the MAIS Class 3A state championship, the first one in school history, despite not having a home gym to play in.
Booker and Zeitz have been named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player and Coach of the Year.
Booker became an instant star on the varsity level two years ago, had a banner freshman season and came into this season ranked as one of the top players in her sophomore class in the country. She is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Prep Girls Hoops, No. 5 by Blue Star Basketball and No. 9 by ESPN Hoopsgurlz in her class. Despite the added attention, Booker excelled all season. In addition to her scoring and rebounding, Booker averaged 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocked shots. She stepped up her game in the semifinals and finals of the 6A state tournament, averaging 20.5 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals. Booker was named the Performance Therapy/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Girls Basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season after those two games.
Booker had a game-high 24 points with 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in a 55-32 victory over Harrison Central in the semifinals. She started both halves by hitting a 3-pointer and finished with 10 points in the fourth quarter. Booker had 17 points, 8 rebounds and a game-high 4 steals in a 66-62 loss to two-time defending 6A state champion Olive Branch in the championship game. It was the first time in the school’s 10-year history it had made it to the championship game.
Booker has been offered by Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Jackson State, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and South Florida. Booker’s father, Carlos, is 6-10 and started at center for Southern Miss in the late 1990s.
Those schools saw Booker take a big step in maturing this season during difficult circumstances.
“Maddie saw box in ones, face guards and double teams,” Germantown coach Jamie Glasgow said. “Early in the season, she would stop moving on offense and get frustrated. She tried to force shots when she got the ball. By the end of the season, she kept moving on offense and took what the defense gave her.
“Maddie is good at every part of the game. She can shoot, dribble, pass, rebound and play defense, and she has size and a lot of athleticism.”
“This season was a little difficult because we didn’t have summer workouts like usual,” Booker said. “And for myself, it was hard to get in the gym and work on my game. Then during the season, I saw a lot of box in ones, 2-3 zones shading out towards me more, and picking me up full court. It was a little hard at first, but towards the end of the season I started settling down and it became easy. I improved my maturity and my understanding that I cannot do everything by myself.
“We had a lot of ups and downs in our run to the state championship game. From getting quarantined and barely being able to practice, then after Christmas break COVID died down a little for us and we made a great run. We won our district and made it past the final four. It was fun and we were hungry for it too. We just came up a little short.”
“My game has improved in a lot of ways by making shots off the dribble, finishing at the rim, ball handling and passing. My game has matured from my freshman season by just being a leader and being more vocal.”
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 10 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.”
Now, Booker is a nationally-ranked player. She was just invited to the USA National 16-and-under team trials June 3-6 and if she makes it will represent the USA in Chile this summer.
Zeitz didn’t have a battle through double teams, box-in-ones or full court pressure like Booker. He faced a different type of battle, time mainly. You see, Zeitz is not only the girls basketball coach at Clinton Christian. He’s also the boys basketball coach, softball coach, athletic director and dean of students. In addition to taking the girls basketball team to their first state title in school history, Zeitz coached the boys team to the first state title in school history. He became the only second MAIS coach to win boys and girls state titles in the same year (Craig Dailey did it in 1999 and 2003 at Delta). Before basketball started, Zeitz led the softball team to its third straight state title. Needless to say, Zeitz got up early and stayed up late. He also was taking courses to become CCA’s high school principal next school year. And he coached both basketball teams without a gym. They used First United Methodist Church Clinton mostly to practice, starting at 6 because the church had an after-school program for much of the season. Zeitz would get home most nights around 11 from practice. They only had four “home” games at Sunnybrook Children’s Home in Ridgeland.
Zeitz led the girls to a 28-4 record and was the Class 3A state runner-up last season. Clinton Christian’s best player, point guard Rae Rae York, who was a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson team last season, graduated off that team, leaving a huge position to fill for Zeitz.
“I told the other girls that we were going to have to step up and play hard every game,” Zeitz said. “You can’t replace Rae Rae. She did so many things. And I intentionally put together a tough schedule, playing bigger schools. It was murderous. We came out of Christmas with a 5-9 record and then we lost to Tri-County in a district game, playing without three starters.”
But after that, Clinton Christian won every game except one, to Columbia in the Class 3A South state championship game. CCA won 16 of its last 18 games.
“A lot of these girls were on our state championship softball team three years ago and we did the same thing, losing in the south state, but came back and won the state,” Zeitz said. “So I reminded them of that after we lost that game to Columbia.”
Clinton Christian defeated Central Holmes, Kirk and Bowling Green in the 3A state tournament to win the title, then defeated Briarfield, La., in the first round of the Overall Tournament. Senior forward Iris Farve, CCA’s leading scorer and rebounder, was injured against Briarfield and did not play in their next Overall game and CCA lost to eventual Overall runner-up Hartfield Academy. CCA finished 21-11.
Farve had plenty of help. The other four starters were senior guard Maddie Weeks, senior forward Grace Murray, senior point guard Hanna Zeitz (coach’s daughter) and sophomore guard Riley Evans. Senior center Callie Abraham and junior forward Audrey Bryson were the top players off the bench.
Zeitz led the boys to a 31-7 record, the state championship, and won its last 14 games before losing a close, 58-55 decision to eventual Overall champion Madison-Ridgeland Academy in the Overall semifinals.
Zeitz, 50, grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Alabama-Birmingham and moved to Mississippi in 2001 to help out one of his best friends and ended up staying here. He met his wife, Terre, and they got married that same year. He came to CCA six years ago after leading a 10-year-old softball team, with his daughter Hanna on team, to the southern national championship. In addition, he was an assistant baseball and basketball coach for two years at his alma mater, Mountain Brook (Ala.) High after graduating from UAB. Zeitz started off coaching baseball, basketball and helping with softball, but took over softball soon at CCA. He has been AD for five years.
Zeitz plans on coaching softball, both basketball teams and being the high school principal next year. But he has some exciting news.
“Our gym is being built on campus and it’s going to be beautiful,” Zeitz said. “I’m very grateful to head of school, Dr. Phillip Broome, for all his hard work to make this happen. He has handled everything, from raising money to meeting with contractors and banks. I pass by it every day and smile. It’s going to be so nice. It is scheduled to be ready for next school year. It is going to be great to have about 20 home games.”
Zykeria Anderson, Raymond, 5-4, Senior, Guard
Madison Booker, Germantown, 6-0, Sophomore, Guard
Kennedy Ransom, Madison Central, 6-0, Senior, Forward
Alexis Roberts, Mississippi School for the Deaf, 6-1, Senior, Forward
Myeisha Scott, Provine, 6-1, Senior, Forward
Gabriel Collier, Brandon, 5-7, Senior, Guard
Kynnedi Davis, Pearl, 5-5, Sophomore, Guard
Andie Flatgard, Jackson Prep, 5-6, Junior, Guard
Alana Rouser, Germantown, 6-0, Freshman, Forward
Leah Sutton, Raymond, 5-6, Sophomore, Guard
Mylani Galbreath, Hillcrest, 5-9, Junior, Forward
Tandria Minor, Brandon, 5-3, Senior, Guard
Aaliyah Mosley, Madison Central, 5-5 Senior, Guard
Cailey Walker, Hartfield Academy, 5-10, Senior, Forward
Mia Wheeler, Hartfield Academy, 5-10, Senior, Forward
Katelyn Brinkley, Ridgeland, 6-0, Sophomore, Forward
Taylor Dupree, Northwest Rankin, 6-1, Senior, Center
Jacia Hayes, Pearl, 6-1, Junior, Center
Jayiah Ransom, Terry, 5-1, Junior, Guard
Kaitlyn Walker, Clinton, 5-9, Sophomore, Forward