BY BRANDON SHIELDS
RIDGELAND — For the fourth straight season St. Andrew’s is headed back to the Big House.
Behind yet another stellar performance from point guard Rashad Bolden the Saints got past Jefferson Davis County 71-52 in the quarterfinals of the MHSAA Class 3A boys basketball playoffs on Saturday night.
St. Andrew’s (20-2) will face Senatobia in the Class 3A semifinals on Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum.
“We knew it was going to be a hard fought game and with the way they play we knew had to take care of the basketball,” said St. Andrew’s coach Russell Marsalis. “We came out of the gate firing and guys got to their spots to make shots early on.”
The Saints never trailed the entire game.
St. Andrew’s came out firing as they took a 17-6 lead midway through the first quarter and held a 22-14 lead at the end of the opening quarter. In the second quarter Bolden scored 18 of the Saints 20 points in the quarter as St. Andrew’s extended their lead to 42-24 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Jefferson Davis County cut the St. Andrew’s lead down to 10 points on two different occasions and trailed 53-39 heading to the fourth quarter.
But Bolden hit a three to extend the lead to 56-41 to open the fourth quarter, and Jefferson Davis never could cut the lead back to single digits.
Bolden finished with a game-high 36 points to lead St. Andrew’s.
“It’s the playoffs. It is time to win, so I just do what I had to do to win the game,” Bolden said. “We won this game, but it’s no need to celebrate. We’ve been here before and done that, so it’s on to the next one.”
Javion Johnson added 18 points, while Corren Redd had 10 points for the Saints.
“We wanted to be aggressive and these kids play with a lot of composure,” Marsalis said. “These seniors have now played in the Big House four years in a row and have played in big games before.”
TyNerious Daniels had 22 points to lead Jefferson Davis County. The Jaguars finished the year 12-8.
“We battled and I’m proud of the guys for not quitting, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Jefferson Davis County coach Tony Woody. “We missed too many shots early on and against a team like that, you cannot do that.”