Jackson Prep’s Flatgard earns basketball scholarship
With a scholarship and homecoming queen crown secured, a Jackson Prep senior from Ridgeland still has her eye on a state title going into this season.
“Winning an overall state title, hanging that banner in the gym is something me and the other seniors have dreamed of since eighth grade,” Andie Flatgard said.
Flatgard is a senior point guard for the Jackson Preparatory School girls varsity basketball team. Last Wednesday, Nov. 10, she signed a letter of intent, accepting a scholarship to play for the University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers.
She visited the school twice this summer. The first time was in July on the way home from a tournament in Kentucky. She said after her official visit with other recruits, where she spent time with the team sealed the deal.
“After I prayed about it and talked to my parents, I felt this is where God wants me to be,” Flatgard said. “On my official visit, we got to hang out with the team, and they were awesome. I could feel they were like that all the time, and it was just something you would want to be a part of.”
Flatgard is the daughter of Spence and Lou Ann Flatgard of Ridgeland.
Jackson Prep Head Girls Basketball Coach Michael McAnally said Flatgard has been a joy to coach.
“Andie is a coach’s dream,” McAnally said. “She loves the work, and she loves the game. She spends countless hours in the gym outside practice. She has been a staple of our team for about the last four or five years.”
McAnally said Flatgard is the first student to sign a letter of intent since the early nineties.
From a coach’s perspective, McAnally attributes two events to Flatgard’s success. First was her comeback from an injury in September of her sophomore year that kept her on the sidelines recovering from the first half of the season.
“I think it really made her appreciate her health,” McAnally said.
Flatgard said the injury was a torn meniscus. She said the only thing harder than not playing was coming back. She took some time to get back up to her preferred skill level and had to earn her starting position back.
McAnally said the second moment was when he saw what he called “the switch” during the summer of 2020.
“That was when she really took advantage of all of her resources,” McAnally said.
The then rising junior was coming off the season of her injury and knew she wanted to continue to improve, and a global pandemic gave her the time to concentrate on improvement.
“During COVID, I had so much free time to go to the gym,” Flatgard said. “I remember my dad said, ‘If you don’t like how things are, you can change them.’”
Flatgard said the investment in her physical skills led to reassessments all throughout her arsenal, including her mentality on the court, her relationship to her coaches and teammates and most importantly her faith.
“I am playing for Jesus,” she said. “I learned how the things I love are much bigger than basketball.”
As for Homecoming Queen, Flatgard had little to say on the subject.
“She probably won’t even mention this herself,” her mom, Lou Ann, said.
After some coaxing, Flatgard said she “really didn’t do anything to get” the homecoming queen title outside of putting her name on the ballot. Nevertheless, she said it was a fun evening, though her main takeaway was that the candidates were mostly athletes like her.
“You never see all of us in a lot of makeup like that,” She said with a laugh.
Flatgard and Prep are seven games into the 2021-2022 basketball season and currently sport an undefeated record. Flatgard said as the season starts, she begins to hone her focus by deleting social media apps off of her phone.
Their last game was Tuesday evening at Simpson Academy, where they posted a 46-33 win. This evening at Copiah Academy, they return to action and return home on Friday to host Madison’s St. Joseph.