Hubbard Breaks Record In Win

MADISON – Josh Hubbard needed only 20 points Wednesday night to become the leading boys scorer in MAIS history. Sitting on 18 at halftime, and well aware that he was only one bucket away from breaking the record, MRA’s junior guard sat down by coach Richard Duease on the Patriots’ bench and jokingly asked could he take a shot from half-court on the opening possession of the third quarter.

Duease’s response went a little something like this: “I’d rather you not, but if you do you better make it because if you don’t you may not get another chance to get to 20. You’ll be sitting over here by me on the bench the rest of the game.”

Player and coach laughed out loud, and that was the end of the light-hearted exchange. One minute and 10 seconds later, Hubbard indeed reached the milestone by draining a long 3-pointer, breaking a record that had been held for over four decades. It wasn’t from half-court, but it wasn’t too far off – more like 28 feet, from the D on the Richard Duease logo that runs near the sideline close to the home bench.

“I knew it was in as soon as I let it go,” Hubbard said, with a big grin. “It feels good to have the record, it’s a great accomplishment. Looking back to 8th grade, something like this never even crossed my mind. All glory goes to God. None of this would be possible without Him. I’d like to thank my teammates and coaches over the last few years also because they play a big role in my success."

Ken Coghlan, who was in attendance, previously held the record of 3,168 points. The former East Rankin standout established the mark in only three seasons in the late 70’s, before the 3-point line came into play. He, along with Duease, presented Hubbard with a basketball in a brief ceremony near half-court following the game.

Hubbard, a Dandy Dozen selection with a bevy of Division I offers, finished with a game-high 31 points as MRA cruised to a 91-51 victory over out-manned Tunica Academy in the opening round of the Overall Tournament inside Duease Hall. He now has 3,180 points, 1,100 of those coming this season. Coghlan, 59, practices law in Oxford, where he has lived since his playing days at Ole Miss concluded in the mid-80’s. It was his first time seeing Hubbard play.

“He’s unbelievable,” Coghlan said afterwards. “I was very impressed. Like I told him after the game, I really feel like he’s got a chance to play in the NBA. He’s that good.

“I’ve had my moment in the sun having held the record for so long, it’s somebody else's turn to have it,” Goghlan continued. “I was glad I got the chance to be here and see him break my record. I’m happy for him. He’s a great player, and seems like a nice young man. I know he will always remember this moment. I like the fact that Coach Duease lets his guys play, a lot like my coach (Billy) Rhodes. I’ve always said Coach Rhodes deserves most of the credit for me having the record because he gave me the green light to shoot it. I don’t keep up with high school basketball all that much, but the few games I’ve been to I’ve noticed that a lot of the coaches over coach. I know there’s a fine line there, and you have to be disciplined, but at the same time you’ve got to let them play.”

Hubbard has been starting on the varsity team since his first day as an 8th-grader. He scored 18 points against a senior-laden Stone County team that afternoon at Gulfport High and hasn’t slowed down since. He averaged 15.3 points per game that year, 18.2 as a freshman, and 24.3 as a sophomore. He is averaging 28.9 points per game this season. He has made 324 3-pointers in his career, 100 of those coming this season.

Hubbard joined the 1,000-point club 25 games into his freshman season and the 2,000-point club 32 games into his sophomore season. He has scored 40 or more points in a game four times, 30 or more 24 times, 20 or more 75 times. He has scored in double figures in 135 of 147 career games, including a current streak of 68 straight games.

Hubbard’s career-high came against Gulfport as a freshman. He poured in 46 points and sank nine 3-pointers, including the game-tying 3-pointer from well beyond the top of the key with :17 seconds left and the game-winning 3-pointer from the deep corner in the waning seconds.

Robert Woodard, who played at Houlka from 1981-'86, currently holds the Mississippi high school scoring record with 4,274 points. He went on to play collegiately at Mississippi State.

“I figured he would have a chance to break the record one day, but I never thought he would do it in his junior year,” Duease said. “He’s still got another year left. He’s got a chance to become Mississippi’s all-time leading scorer, public or private, next year. I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He has worked hard to get where he is today.”

Senior point guard Tylor Latham added 16 points and junior forward Harrison Alexander 15 for reigning Overall champion MRA. The Patriots, 32-6, advance to Saturday’s 1 p.m. quarterfinal at Class 4A No. 1 seed Greenville St. Joe. The winner of that game moves on to Monday’s semifinals at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum.