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School Spirit Roars at the Final Four: Jaguars Basketball Teams Make Southeast Atlanta Proud

By Sloan S. Mitchell, MJHS Class of 2025

Both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams of Maynard H. Jackson High School put on a phenomenal show as they competed at the GHSA Final Four (Class 5A) at the University of West Georgia. With all eyes on Jackson, students were beyond excited to support their peers in Carrollton on the afternoon of Friday, March 1. Fan buses were packed with students overwhelmed with fevered anticipation for the players. Senior Aaliyah Walker was ready to be at the game to give her full support. “My girlfriend is a basketball player, and I’ve been supporting the team for three years,” she said. “I knew they were going to make it this year.” 

The roar from the student section was loud and proud during the games. In particular, senior football player Nehemyah Evans did what he has done all season long: shout the school’s mantra loudest in the crowd — “MJJ ALL DAY!” Because he is a senior athlete, Evans understands the importance of crowd participation. “Hyping the crowd and leading the student section definitely enhances school spirit and helps boost our team’s spirit,” he remarked.

Filled with excitement, Social Studies teacher Mr. Brown concurred: “The crowd’s interaction — watching all the cheerleaders, seeing everyone enjoy the moments when we score the buckets and big shots — makes it all so exciting.”

The Lady Jags’ final score was 77-57 against Cartersville High School. After the game, some of the girls in the starting five were interviewed about their performance and overall team communication. Senior Maya Whitehead (#5) said, “It was very good; we had good energy with each other, and you could tell there was a passion.”

Later, head coach Michelle Powell commented, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” She then quoted the Lady Jags’ motto for this season: “UNFINISHED BUSINESS.”

The MJHS girls team’s record stands at 28-1 overall and 16-0 in the region.

Also at UWG on March 1, the Lady Knights of Midtown High School (26-5 overall and ranked second in the region) upset Dalton 73-63, thus punching their ticket to the championship game against MJHS and creating an all-Atlanta final. The matchup took place on Thursday, March 7th at the Macon Centreplex, after this newspaper had gone to press; the results will be reported in these pages next month (the May issue). 

            While the boys team fell short of victory against Eagle’s Landing, we are still proud of a team that made it to the Final Four. Paul Dover, father of #24 Cameron Dover, was interviewed before the game to capture the loving support he had for his son and the boy’s team. “Apart from feeling excited about seeing my son play,” he said, “I liked the energy I get from sitting with other Maynard Jackson fans, and I just love basketball as a game. So seeing my son play is a real thrill for me.” 

The MJHS varsity boys team ended their season 21-10 overall and 10-6 in the region (third place). 

Senior Lady Jags player British McKinney (#24) summed up the pride Jaguar Nation has for both teams: “I can’t stop smiling; I’m happy!” Bravo, Jaguar Nation!

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