Melrose High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have recreated history.
Both teams defeated Raleigh-Egypt High School—the girls with a score of 55 to 15, and the boys 73 to 71—to seal their victory as county-wide champions in their division
. The Golden Wildcats haven’t held both titles at the same time since their 1985 season—37 years ago.
“We did it by staying consistent,” said the ladies’ head coach Ciara Johnson. “By taking it one game at a time.”
Team MVPs were India Jackson and Devin Sanders Jr. Ja’nia Wright, senior guard, received the academic Dr. JL Perry Award of Excellence. Wright was also named to the 16 AAA All-District Team, along with senior point guard Chara Ferguson and sophomore center Takirah Rodgers. Sanders joined teammates Mar’Jeremiah Dogget and Darry’on Taylor on the All-Tournament team, and Demaris Johnson was placed on the All-Academic team.
“Being placed on these teams
is an honor, it causes recruiters to take a good look at the players,” said Dareyon Terrell, head coach of the boys’ team.
Like many sports teams, the effects of COVID-19 were substantial for Melrose basketball.
“We had to bow out of the Christmas tournament because I had tested positive, along with some of the team,” said Johnson.
Johnson and Terrell said most recruiters come to watch the juniors, and then make offers during the senior year. Due to pandemic safety measures
, this year’s seniors weren’t playing last year. Both coaches agree this dramatically limited the athletes’ opportunities to compete and train—and impress recruiters.
“We could have ironed out a lot of kinks in the semester,” said Terrell, “but with the COVID restrictions on practices, it just couldn’t happen.”
The Golden Wildcats boys’ team ended its run for state with a loss to Bolton High School. The girls lost to Dyer County, ending their bid.
“Next year, we’ll be stronger and harder [to beat],” said Coach Terrell.
Terrell noted that during summer and fall practices, they will concentrate on preparing the team mentally and physically for next season.
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” he said.
Boys’ Golden Wildcats: Mar’Jeremiah Dogget, Darry’on Taylor, Demaris Johnson, Edion White, Sadat Muhammad, Darryl Bailey, Jaden Banks, Phillip Henderson, James White-Caradine, Tavion tanner, Makerrion Banks, and Deshawn Plummer. Assistant coaches Katrina Boswell and Dontarion Wright-Reed.
Girls’ Golden Wildcats: India Jackson, Ja’nia Wright, Chara Ferguson, Takira Rodgers, Destiny Johnson, Tabitha Fields, Jahyln Rankin, Mariah Craig, Yatria Cooper, Serena Scruggs, Brittany Raymond, Sharia Williams, Sydnee Scruggs, and India Jackson. Assistant coaches Brianna Hampton and Quartros Rhodes.