Madison-Ridgeland Academy girls basketball team showed it was one of the best teams in Mississippi this past week in the Magnolia Heights Christmas Tournament in Senatobia. MRA defeated Kirk Academy 61-42 and Magnolia Heights 59-19 before losing in overtime to Hernando, one of the top Class 6A public schools in the state. MRA, 16-4, also lost in overtime to Lafayette, the top ranked Class 5A public school in Mississippi, earlier this season, which broke a 12-game winning streak for MRA. Rivers Futral, a 5-foot-7senior guard, leads MRA with a 20.5 points per game. She had 24 against Hernando. Futral scored a career-high 40points in a triple overtime victory over Pillow in late October earlier this season. She fell just short of the school record of 44, set by Stacy Gary in another triple overtime game vs. Delta in 2001. Futral, Mary Rogers Coon, a 5-5 senior guard, and Sarah Margaret Seabrook, a 5-9 sophomore forward, made the all tournament team at Magnolia Heights. MRA coach Stephen Force has a 590-247 career record in 23seasons, 17 at MRA and six at Starkville Academy. He has won two Overall titles and seven state titles.
Raymond boys basketball team is the three-time defending Class 4A state champion and head coach Tony Tadlock knows to make it four in a row he needs to play great competition. That’s why he took his Rangers up to Pine Bluff, Ark., to play in the prestigious King Cotton Classic national tournament this past week. Raymond went 1-2 in the event, losing to Chicago Orr Academy and Bryant Christian, Ark., and beating Class 5A Parkview, Ark. Raymond is now 10-5, its other losses to 6A state championship contenders Meridian, Clinton and Forest Hill. Tadlock, a 2007 Pearl High graduate, came to Raymond after being an assistant coach for six years at Meridian, the last one helping the Wildcats to a Class 6A state title. Tadlock was 29-6 in his first season at 29-5 in his second season at Raymond. He lost all five starters from last year’s team. Jabarie Robinson, a 6-foot sophomore guard, is Raymond’s leading scorer this year with 16 points and seven rebounds per game. Tremaine Dixon, a 5-10 sophomore point guard, averages 11 points and 5.5 assists. KearuisStimage, a 6-5 senior center, averages 10 points and 3.5 blocks. Raymond begins district play Friday at Lanier.
Jeremy Shortt won a state championship with his third different team two years ago when he guided Brandon to the Class 6A state title. Brandon defeated Northwest Rankin 1-0 in the championship game and finished with a 22-0-1 record. Shortt’s goal of another state title was stopped short last year when eventual champion Ocean Springs defeated Brandon in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs finished 18-2. Now, Shortt has Brandon back going again with its sights on another state title. Brandon is 8-1-1 with loss to Northwest Rankin on penalty kicks and a tie with Madison Central. Brandon is ranked No. 2 in Mississippi and No. 7 in the nation by MaxPreps. Brandon is led by senior forward Alyssia Davis, a William Carey commitment, senior center back Taylor Glascoe, a Jones County Junior College commitment, and junior midfielders Bailey Raphelt and Abbey Roberts. Davis has scored a team-high 10 goals. Brandon’s next game is Jan. 11 when it plays host to Oxford. Shortt has a 236-17-11, an amazing 93.2 winning percentage, in 16 seasons, seven at Madison St. Joseph, five at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and four at Brandon. Shortt, a native of Trinidad and Tabago and a former All American at Belhaven, won a state title in 2008 at St. Joe and a state title in 2012 at MRA. Both were the first for each school. Brandon’s state title in 2016 was the second in school history.