Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s Devin Gilmore and Clint Moses combined for 23 points to help the Patriots hold off rival Jackson Academy, 43-39, and claim the MAIS Academy AAA, Division I state championship Saturday night at the Raider Dome.
MRA (25-11), ranked No. 3 in Academy AAA, will face Pillow Academy next week in the first round of the Academy AAA state tournament at East Rankin, while the Raiders will face Oak Forest (La.).
Moses had a team-high 12 points to lead MRA. His 3-pointer with five minutes left in the fourth quarter gave the Pats a 34-29 lead that they would never relinquish.
“It was open and I just chanced it, and thankfully it went in,” Moses said. “Next week starts the real run, and we got to get better at some things. And if we play like I know we can play, we will be hard to stop.”
The MRA Patriots celebrate their MAIS Class AAA Division 1 championship trophy after beating the JA Raiders on Saturday.
Gilmore added 11 points for MRA while Ben Milam chipped in eight points for the Patriots, who avenged their one-point loss to the Raiders on Feb. 3.
“I am just thankful to teammates that can really step up when it is clutch time,” he said. “I was in foul trouble all game and just glad we got the win.”
In the first half it looked like MRA, leading 26-15, would run away from JA, but the Raiders started the third quarter with a 12-3 run, to cut the Patriot lead to 31-27 to start the fourth.
“I thought the first half we played exceptionally hard, but to start the third quarter JA came out and hit us in the mouth, and we did not respond well,” said MRA coach Richard Duease. “The first four minutes of the third quarter is the most important part of the game, and we did not play well in those minutes, and it was a dog fight after that.”
Austin Tucker had a game-high 16 points to lead Jackson Academy while Greg Stewart added 15 points for the Raiders (24-5), ranked No. 2 in AAA.
“We were exactly where we wanted to be — down by two after being on the verge of getting blown out, and we just didn’t get that big bucket to tie it, but I am proud of the guys for fighting hard,” said JA coach Bill Ball. “Yes, you want to win and defend your home court, but tonight we were playing for seeding for next week.”
To contact Brandon Shields call (601) 961-7248 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BShields_CL on Twitter.