Skip to main content

Star-fueled Clinton Arrows race past Brandon, into MHSAA Class 7A Championship

2024 Mr. Basketball Trey Alexander was as-advertised in Thrusday's semifinal win over Brandon

The Arrows are back in the championship game.

After a one-year hiatus from the Mississippi Coliseum, Clinton came back with a vengeance in Thursday’s MHSAA Class 7A Semifinal, beating Brandon 64-54 behind the splendid guard play the Arrows have relied upon all season.

The Arrows (23-6) will face the Meridian Wildcats (23-9) for the state championship at 8 p.m. Saturday night.

“I told the guys at the beginning of the year that we have everything we need in this locker room to win a championship,” Clinton coach Leonard Taylor said. “They believed in it, bought into it and I wouldn’t trade this group for any other team.”

Especially not after Thursday. The Arrows got a big game out of 7A Mr. Basketball winner Trey Alexander, who finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Junior Jakobe Cavett had 14 points and Kameron Wilkes chipped in 11.

Clinton started fast, racing ahead to a 15-8 lead en route to a 23-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

That margin moved to 18 — at 40-22 — by halftime.

The Arrows made 16-of-25 from the floor in the first half, including 7-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc.

“We felt like we couldn’t miss,” Alexander said. “That’s a good feeling when you are doing the job and playing togethe. When you’re getting great shots instead of good shots, that’s a great feeling.”

Brandon (18-11) finally found it’s groove on defense in the third quarter. The Bulldogs trimmed the Clinton lead from 18 to 14 points, but still trailed it 51-37 going into the fourth.

They kept that momentum rolling in the fourth, whittling the Clinton lead as low as seven points (58-51) with 1:09 to go, but they ran out of time.

Clinton played keep away and Alexander hit enough free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

“The most important thing on defense was to give them one shot or no shot,” Alexander said. “And we executed that way, got out and ran and played well with each other.”

Brandon never could find the offense it needed to overcome the early deficit. Star guard Braylon Barnes scored 20 points, and Nathan White turned in a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but the Bulldogs made just six field goals in the second half and didn’t make a bucket from beyond the arc.

“Clinton came out and played like an experienced team right from the start,” Brandon coach Fred Barnes said. “They made everything in that first quarter. I turned to my assistants and asked ‘Are all of them shooters?’ Everyone who shot the ball, it went through the net. Our game plan was to force certain guys to shoot, and they blew that up.”

It was the second year in a row the Bulldogs left the “Big House” empty handed after losing in the 2023 Championship game.

For Clinton it’s on to the 2024 finale against Meridian, an opponent the Arrows have not faced this season.

The Wildcats defeated Germantown 41-31 in the first semifinal game Thursday.

Clinton will be looking for its third title in four years, but it’s first since the departure of forward Kimani Hamilton, who led the Arrows to state titles in 2021 and 2022.

“It’s definitely going to be exciting,” Taylor said. “Coach (Ron) Norman always has those guys ready to play, so we know we have a job ahead of us. But we’re about to go back to the lab and come up with a game plan. We’ll have a day of practice tomorrow and try to be ready to play Saturday.”