Hinds and MRA set for clash|[01/20/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2008

UTICA — Whille they have never played, the Hinds AHS War Dawgs may have gotten a good idea how Madison-Ridgeland Academy will play them at the Rumble in the South Monday in Clinton.

Himds, unbeaten at 20-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, will take on MRA (20-4), which is ranked No. 1 in the Mississppi Private School Association poll, as part of the six-game classic honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s holiday. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum. Tickets are $8.

“I know they (MRA) are going to be good and they are big, too,” Hinds coach Keith Williams said after his War Dawgs held off St. Andrew’s 46-44 Friday night in Utica.

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“I’m wondering how hard our heart is going to be in it. Facing size is nothing new to us. We just haven’t been playing as well lately. We’ve gotten complacent,” Williams said.

Senior point guard JaCorey Wright seems up for the challenge.

“They (MRA) are No. 1 in their league, so that means they’re suppose to be good. I think they’ll be different than St. Andrew’s because I’ve heard they like to play man-to-man,” Wright said.

St. Andrew’s used a packed in zone to control tempo. On offense, they were able to spread the floor and work for open shots. They took just 30 in the game but made 18.

“We may see a little of that type of offense from MRA. I saw them last year at the State Games and they appear to have the same type of team this year,” Williams said.

Hinds is led by senior forward Kenderek Washington, who played in last July’s Mississippi High School All-star game. Against St. Andrew’s, the 6-foot-3 Washington had a typical game with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

“We heard they (MRA) are pretty good. We just have to play together. If they try to slow it down, we have to get out and defend them.

“We just have to work hard and keep up with them,” Washington said.

While success is nothing new for the War Dawgs, a 20-0 start is. Two years ago, they made it to the semifinals of the Class 2A tournament, falling to eventual champ Coahoma County in double overtime.

Last year, they were ranked first in 2A but were upset in the second round of the South State tournament.

“We’re having a great season, but we were good last year. We could’ve been doing this last year,” Wright said.

The MRA-Hinds game is one of six on the day. Action starts at 11 a.m. when Jackson Academy, another MPSA school, meets Piney Woods. Ridgeland takes on West Lauderdale at 12:45.

Meridian High, one of two teams to have beaten second ranked Lanier — Vicksburg High was the other — plays Ruston, La., at 4:15. Northeast Lauderdale, featuring the state’s top player and Mississippi State commitment Romero Osby, faces Montgomery St. Jude at 6.

The day caps with Callaway, the champions of the Warren Central Classic, taking on Monroe Carroll at 7:45.