Reed-Jones caps illustrious career with Player of the Year selection

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Mariah Reed-Jones has been a staple for Lafayette basketball in recent years.

The talented point guard led the team in scoring and assists in each of the past three seasons, guiding the Lady Commodores to a 55-26 record over that stretch.

A capable shooter and slithery finisher, Reed-Jones always kept opponents off-balance with her combination of explosive drives and devastating long-range shooting.

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She capped off her impressive career with a run to the Big House in Jackson, leading Lafayette to its first state semifinal appearance since 2018.

“I was happy that we made it that far but I still wanted to win state,” Reed-Jones said of the run. “I was just proud of my team most of all though.”

The surprise run captured the attention of hoops-heads across the state as she posted averages of 21.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks in the playoffs.

“She’s been a big boost to us as a team the last three years,” head coach Shayne Linzy said. “I’ve had other scorers on this team as she’s gone up but she’s always been that scoring force for us and for teams to be successful you’ve got to have somebody like that. We [were] very fortunate to have Mariah and to have her do the things she’s [done] for us.”

The run also secured her spot as the top hooper in the LOU, garnering her EAGLE Player of the Year honors as she headlined a list of three Lady Commodores on this year’s All-Area Team.

Joining Reed-Jones on the All-Area team are juniors Harmony Jackson and Madison Smith, who also played integral roles for Lafayette in their semifinal run.

Jackson, an explosive athlete and relentless rebounder, dominated the glass for the Lady ‘Dores throughout the playoffs, hauling in 15 rebounds per game and contributing 12.3 points as she wore down opponents with physical drives to the cup and high-flying acrobatics.

Smith, who saved the Lady Commodores’ season with a 17-point outburst in a 58-56 win over Neshoba Central in the second round of the playoffs, kept opponents honest all season with her deadly shooting from beyond the arc.

The physical guard led the team in three-point makes (62), attempts (186) and percentage (33%, min. 20 attempts), spreading opposing defense and creating open driving lanes for Reed-Jones with the constant threat of the long ball.

The trio of Lady Commodores are joined on the All-Area team by a pair of Oxford seniors who leave lasting legacies in the blue and gold.

Olivia Waddell and Kaylin Mathis each made significant impacts for the Lady Chargers this year as the elder stateswomen for a young Oxford team full of underclassmen.

Waddell shouldered the brunt of the offensive load for the Chargers this season, taking over lead guard duties in December following an injury to point guard Quayla Blackmon.

The senior averaged 11.7 points per game to go along with 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.7 steals, keeping opponents honest all season with her long-range shooting.

Mathis also took on more responsibility due to the injury as she put together an impressive season on both ends of the floor.

A relentless pest on the defensive side of the ball, Mathis averaged 3.2 steals per contest while pouring in seven points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

“I can’t say enough about them… the effort I saw was tremendous,” head coach Cliff Ormon said of his senior duo. “They competed in every game we played this year and just gave them a tremendous season.”

The senior duo finished out an impressive four-year run with the Lady Chargers and will now hand the reigns over to a talented group of rising juniors headlined by C.C. Frierson and Zoe Metcalf.