Lady Patriots win Overall title
The Madison-Ridgeland Academy Lady Patriots came out on top last Wednesday night and won the 2023 Overall Basketball State Championship.
Head Coach Steven Force said the girls had a fantastic season and as far as teams go, his team reached their potential and he couldn’t be more proud of them, especially his senior players.
“Winning the state title was very fulfilling,” Force said. “I also had a group of seniors that have dedicated themselves since August to doing the best they possibly can. These three seniors started working when school started back and are collectively the hardest working seniors I’ve ever coached.”
Force said this is his third overall state title in his 21 years as head coach at MRA.
This year, the Lady Patriots team had three seniors, three juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen, and one eighth grader.
“We had a really good season,” Force said. “We went on trips and played in places like Gulfport and Tennessee. We struggled at times but won some close games, and that probably had to do with the youth on our team. We had some injuries we were trying to recover from during the year, and it was probably late January before we were playing our best ball and everyone was healthy.”
The Lady Patriots’ overall record for the 2022-2023 season was 31-7. They lost their final regular season game to Hartfield Academy, but came back and beat them in the semifinals of the state tournament.
“After that we never looked back, and we won six straight games after that regular season loss to take the state title,” Force said.
The girls took down Presbyterian Christian School in the 6A state finals, and defeated them again in the overall finals, 42-29.
Force is optimistic for next season and plans to get to work after students return from Spring Break.
“The girls who aren’t playing spring sports will get back in the gym and get ready for our big summer camp in June,” he said. “We’ll play 25-30 games this summer, which is very beneficial for next year’s team. We have some good players coming back, and if they decide they want to work as hard as the girls we had this year, then we have the potential without a doubt to be right back in the mix.”