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CLINTON — With respect to reigning 6A Champion Clinton, it looks like MRA is the 2022 powerhouse in the Jackson Metro Area.

The fourth-ranked Patriots (24-2) picked up their 17th win in a row at Monday’s Rumble in the South showcase at AE Wood Coliseum in Clinton, beating No. 8 Murrah 69-47 in a game that really wasn’t that close.

MRA led 18-9 after one quarter, 38-21 at the halftime break and led by as many as 23 at one point in the second half.

“We’ve really been clicking since we went to Miami for the Junior Orange Bowl Classic right after Christmas,” MRA coach Richard Duease said. “We’ve worked hard on our defense and we’re playing much better on that end of the court right now.”

Everything was working for MRA Monday. Star guard Josh Hubbard, the state’s top-ranked junior, picked up MVP honors by dropping 28 points to go along with six assists.

“We’re a more complete team now than we were in December,” Hubbard said. “Playing good zone defense was one of our keys to the game today, because Murrah has three very good guards. We did a good job on them and we were able to get some easy baskets in transition off of our defense.”

Next up for the Patriots is a trip to Hattiesburg for a Tuesday showdown with Presbyterian Christian School, then a home date with Jackson Academy Friday night.

If they can keep the momentum rolling from Monday, those teams are in trouble.

“I had my guards in for a meeting last week and I told them there’s a reason Michael Jordan was the best player ever: it’s because he made everyone around him better. That’s what we’ve challenged Josh to do.”

Jackson State signee Avaughn Johnson and his teammate Javin Cooper both scored 15 points for Murrah, which lost for the third time in a row after winning 16 out of 18 to start the season.

“For the last three games, we’ve had slow starts in the first quarter and had to find ways to dig ourselves out of a hole,” said Murrah coach Jorell Washington. “MRA did a very good defensively of taking away some things, but we’ve got to find a way to get out to a better start.”

The Mustangs (16-5) return to action Tuesday at home against Germantown.

Feature photo by Tyler Cleveland

In other action at Monday’s Rumble in the South:

Madison Central 65, Parklane Academy 52

Jordan Archer scored 17 points to go with four assists as the Jaguars eased past the Pioneers from Parklane Academy. Caleb Kent scored 19 points to lead all scorers, and Isaiah Spencer chipped in 16.

Madison Central led for 31:40 out of 32 minutes in the game, and twice led by 16 points in the fourth quarter. 2023 Ole Miss commit Jacob Gazzo had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Parklane.

Jackson Academy 48, St. Andrew’s 41

Jackson Academy’s Merrit Nations earned MVP honors after scoring 19 points to lead the Raiders past 3A powerhouse St. Andrew’s. Saints star Javion Johnson had 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Provine 55, Terry 48

Provine held off a late Terry rally thanks to game MVP Samarion Grant, who finished with 12 points and four rebounds.

Northwest Rankin 67, Holmes County Central 55

Brendan Brown and Levionne Lindsey combined for 31 points and the Cougars put together a 14-0 run to end the first quarter and start the second.

The Cougars (14-6) led it 25-9 halfway through the second quarter, and never looked back. Malik Crigler scored 14 to lead Holmes County.

Callaway 47, Pascagoula 42

Kevion Hunt hit eight of his nine free throws and shot 5-of-12 from the floor to lead Callaway to it’s fourth win in a row.

Trace Joseph grabbed 13 rebounds and Pascagoula won the battle of the boards 33-20, but the Chargers (10-10) did a good job of getting to the charity stripe and cashed in 16 of their 22 free throws as a team.