The legacy lives on.
After a fast start Raymond was able to hold off a fierce Florence comeback as the Rangers got past the Eagles 77-62 to claim their third consecutive Class 4A State Championship at Mississippi Coliseum on Thursday night.
It is Raymond’s fourth state title in school history.
“Got up on them early and I told the guys at halftime the game isn’t over with. We’ve seen them four times and I knew it was going to be a battle to the end,” said Raymond coach Tony Tadlock. “One of the things we preach is when things get tough, we either dig in or give in and guys stepped it up and got it done.”
With Raymond up 58-35 midway through the fourth quarter Florence would go on a 20-2 run to cut the lead down to five at 60-55.
Florence’s Jaylen Forbes would score 17 points in that span.
“I knew they wouldn’t go away,” Tadlock said. “Forbes and Trey Fort are great players and they sparked them. When we are up, I play my second team guys that are nothing but underclassmen, so for them to close the game is big especially a game like this.”
Jakorie Smith had 20 points to lead Raymond and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“I didn’t feel like I played very well, but I’m glad that I am grateful to have the teammates that I have to get it done,” Smith said. “These guys are my brothers and it was good see other guys step in a big game like this. It’s an amazing feeling to go out my senior a state champion. The future of this program is bright.”
Jacob Robinson added 15 points for Raymond, while Kenjuan Davis and Jordan Marshall chipped in 12 points each for the Rangers (29-5).
“I can’t put into words how proud I am of these kids,” Tadlock said. “I’ve been blessed to have great players and to win three state championships in my first three years as a head coach.”
Forbes, an Alabama signee, would have a game-high 35 points to lead Florence, while Lerenzo Fort added 10 points for Eagles (25-7).