CLINTON – One last time, Tatyana Lofton stepped up when her team needed her to.
With her Madison-Ridgeland Academy team trailing by double-digits in the fourth quarter, the senior led a rally that helped MRA edge Presbyterian Christian School 41-38 for the MAIS Girls Overall championship Saturday afternoon at Mississippi College.
The Lady Patriots (41-1) won their fourth overall title — their first since 2007 — and spoiled the Lady Bobcats’ (30-5) run at a second straight crown.
“I just wanted to come out fast and play with a whole lot of intensity,” Lofton said. “This was my last high school basketball game. I wanted to come out on top.”
Lofton, who has an offer from Delta State and is receiving interest from Southern Miss and Florida A&M, led MRA with a game-high 19 points.
“It is just a testament to the girls for the all of the hard work they have put in since September,” said MRA coach Stephen Force, who is now 2-2 in coaching in the Overall title game. “Big players have to step up in big games, and Tatyana did that for us today.”
But in the fourth quarter, the game got interesting. MRA was up 36-26, but PCS went on a 9-0 run in a 3-minute span to cut the lead to 36-35 on an Erin Scoggin jump shot.
“We did not do a good job of taking care of the basketball late in the ball game, and I thought that was about to cost us,” Force said. “PCS is such a good team, and we knew we had to fight to the very end to win this thing.”
Amber Sutton added 11 points for MRA.
Dandy Dozen and Alabama signee Trista Magee led Presbyterian Christian, the defending Overall champions, with 17 points. Erin Scoggin added seven points for the Lady Bobcats.
“It was just one of those days where it was a struggle to get a basket early,” Magee said. “I am just proud of how this program has came along and proud of how we kept working hard when things just didn’t go our way.”