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Top 25 Mississippi high school boys basketball rankings: Raymond tops SBLive's final 2024 rankings

Here's a look at the best teams in the Magnolia State for the 2023-2024 season

The 2023-2024 Mississippi basketball season is in the books, and it's time to recognize the Top 25 teams in our year-end rankings. 

This list takes into account the team's full body of work, as well as how well they were playing at the end of the season.

Without further ado, here's the SB Live Mississippi final Top 25:

1. Raymond Rangers (31-4)

Raymond gets the nod at No. 1 based on their total body of work. Not only did the Rangers avenge two of their four losses, they also defeated nine teams that played at the Mississippi Coliseum last week, including the Class 5A champs, the 6A champs and the 7A champs. They won the 4A championship by 25 points. They already had Mr. Basketball E.J. Paymon, and when Mehki Strong moved back from Texas, it totally upended the power structure in MHSAA basketball.

2. Canton Tigers (26-4)

You could argue that no team in the state was hitting on all cylinders the way the Tigers were at the end of the season. Like Raymond, the Class 5A champs avenged two of the four games they didn't win and have no "bad" losses on their resume. They would have a case for No. 1, but they lack the volume of quality wins Raymond has, and they lost to the Rangers 46-35 in Canton back on Dec. 23. 

3. Jackson Academy Raiders (36-1)

There are many who would have ranked the Raiders at the top of this list, and there's certainly a case for it. Nobody had better guard play in 2023-2024 than Jackson Academy, and the Raiders very well might have been able to win a championship in the MHSAA. They were a fantastic team with arguably the best player in the state in junior guard Mike Williams, there's just no comparing their strength of schedule with either of the two teams ranked ahead of them.

4. Booneville Blue Devils (28-2)

Both of Booneville's losses came before Christmas, and one of those was to eventual-5A champion Canton. Some may balk at a Class 3A team being ranked this high, but consider this: after a Dec. 15 loss to DeSoto Central, only one team came within 12 points of beating them, and that was a very good Coahoma County team in the 3A Championship. They also hold the head-to-head over Olive Branch thanks to a 17-point win at the Biggersville Tournament back in December.

5. Olive Branch Conquistadors (27-4)

Olive Branch finally got over the hump and won the MHSAA Class 6A Championship for the first time since 2018, beating an outstanding Terry team in the semifinal and the red-hot Ridgeland Titans in the final. Two of their four losses came at the hands of teams ranked ahead of them in this final Top 25. 

6. Ridgeland Titans (24-10)

They may have 10 losses, but the Titans peaked at the right time. They beat a Pascagoula team that came into the Mississippi Coliseum riding a 28-game heater, and looked incredible in the state tournament until they ran into No. 5 Olive Branch in the 6A Championship. Point guard Phil Nelson is going to be one of the more exciting players in the state returning next year.

7. Pascagoula Panthers (28-2)

The season didn't end the way the Panthers would have liked, but there's no denying the quality resume they put together this year. Aside from being the only team to beat Jackson Academy, Pascagoula notched wins over eventual 7A champ Meridian, eventual 5A champion Canton and 5A runner-up Yazoo City. You hate to judge the Panthers for their most middling performance of the season, but it happened to came at the worst possible time against Ridgeland at the Mississippi Coliseum in the MHSAA 6A semifinal.

8. Yazoo City Indians (28-6)

The fact that the Yazoo City moved from 4A to 5A in reclassification and still made it to the championship game is a testament to the talent coach Anthony Carlyle had this year. You'd be hard-pressed to find another one-two punch to rival Tamarion Hoover and Demarion Winston. But the Indians has some great wins early in the year that didn't age as well as we thought they might, and ran into a Canton team that was just better at the end of the year.

9. Meridian Wildcats (18-9)

Nobody outside the Meridian locker room had the Wildcats penciled in to be the MHSAA Class 7A champions, but that didn't stop them from running roughshod through the playoffs and raising the gold ball. JR Yarbrough's 25-point outburst in the state championship win over Clinton was one of the most impressive individual performances at the Big House last week. It's strange to have the state champs in the highest classification this low in the Top 10, but it was that kind of year in Mississippi.

10. Terry Bulldogs (23-6)

The Bulldogs were a great basketball team this year and have no reason to hang their heads after losing in the 6A semifinal. They split two games with the best team in the state and notched three wins over teams that played at the coliseum last week. If Olive Branch's Zahir Gutierrez hadn't knocked down that buzzer-beater in overtime, the Bulldogs could well have hoisted a gold ball.

11. MRA Patriots (31-6)

The Madison-Ridgeland Academy Patriots put together a couple of really impressive wins, including a 50-48 dub over No. 1 Raymond at the Rumble in the South back on Jan. 20. They also beat No. 13 Choctaw Central and won two out of three against No. 25 Jackson Prep. They just couldn't get over the hump in any of their three games against third-ranked Jackson Academy and didn't play their best ball in the post-season.

12. Clinton Arrows (23-6)

The Arrows were red-hot to start the season, going 4-1 against teams that eventually made it to the Mississippi Coliseum. They had arguably the best trio of guards of any team in the MHSAA, but region foe Starkville swept two games from them, and they only beat Madison Central one out of three, when the Jags were without star Dylan Rowe. They were still a great team, they just lacked the length of those championship Clinton teams in 2021 and 2022.

13. Choctaw Central Warriors (27-6)

The Warriors started things off with a bang, beating Raymond in the season-opener, and got better and better down the stretch. They didn't have the starpower some of these other teams had, but the Warriors won 17 games in a row from Dec. 21 to Feb. 24 and put together a great preseason run until they ran into Raymond in the Class 4A Semifinal.

14. Vicksburg Gators (22-7)

Man, Class 6A was loaded. Vicksburg is another team that didn't have any head-scratching losses. Three of the Gators' seven set-backs came against No. 6 Ridgeland, and they notched victories over No. 13 Choctaw Central, No. 16 Cleveland Central, No. 17 Brandon and No. 20 Columbus.

15. Provine Rams (23-7)

The 2023-3024 season is one that got away from the Rams, who looked like title contenders all year. They only lost one game on the court to a team ranked below them in this list, and one of their seven losses was a forfeit because of an off-the-court issue. The Rams were easily the best team out of the Jackson Public Schools.

16. Cleveland Central Wolves (24-9)

The Wolves were sneaky good, especially down the stretch. They avoided let-downs against some good teams early in the season, beating No. 23 Coahoma County and 7A semifinalist Germantown (at Gluckstadt), and beat both Canton and Yazoo City on a neutral court at the end of the year to win the region tournament.

17. Brandon Bulldogs (18-12)

The Bulldogs lacked the killer instinct they had in their runner-up run a year ago, but they still found a way to get back to the Big House. They didn't have any surprising wins, but they also didn't have any head-scratching losses. Brandon was just solid, and probably the third-best team in the MHSAA's Class 7A.

18. Harrison Central Red Rebels (22-6)

The Red Rebels were clearly the best team on the coast outside of Pascagoula. They went 9-0 in Region 4-7A in the regular season and dominated Gulfport and Ocean Springs to clinch the region tournament title.

19. New Hope Trojans (26-3)

New Hope stormed through the regular season, winning their first 15 games before back-to-back losses to Hartfield Academy and No. 20 Columbus. They won another 11-straight games before falling to Yazoo City in the 5A playoffs. They'd be ranked higher, but they just didn't play a very tough schedule and lost against the only two teams they faced ranked in this final Top 25.

20. Columbus Falcons (18-11)

The Falcons looked really good for long stretches during the season. They started 10-1 — including a two-game sweep of Starkville and wins over Meridian and Cleveland Central — with their only loss in those first 11 games coming against No. 4 Booneville. But they also lost eight of their final 12 games, falling in both of their region tournament matchups (against Ridgeland and Callaway) and got bounced in the first round by eventual 6A state champ Olive Branch.

21. Madison Central Jaguars (20-11)

The Jaguars were up and down this season, and could have been primed for a surprise post-season run if not for an untimely injury to star Dylan Rowe. Still, Big Blue notched wins over No. 7 Pascagoula, No. 17 Brandon, 7A semifinalist Germantown and 7A runner-up Clinton.

22. McComb Tigers (21-9)

Two of McComb's nine losses came before the football players joined the team, and four of its seven after that came against No. 1 Raymond. While they don't have any signature wins, they didn't have many bad losses, either. They were easily the second-best team in Class 4A.

23. Coahoma County Red Panthers (26-7)

The pride of the Delta notched some big wins this year, going 6-2 in their region and putting together a strong playoff run in Class 3A. They dominated all four of their playoff games before running into No. 4 Booneville in the finals, and only lost by three points (46-43) after the Blue Devils had beaten everyone else by 12 or more points.

24. Biggersville Lions (25-2)

The Lions didn't play the toughest of schedules, but they were dominant. They did not lose a single game to any Mississippi team, and 22 of their 25 wins came by double digits. Make no mistake — the team that won the Class 1A Championship at the Mississippi Coliseum last week could have competed against the other teams on this list.

25. Jackson Prep Patriots (23-11)

The Patriots had a great team this year. They got hot early and notched wins over strong MHSAA foes Oxford and Choctaw Central en route to a 15-2 start, and finally got over the hump against No. 11 MRA in the semifinals of the MAIS 6A State Tournament. They never could figure out rival academy Jackson Academy, but neither could just about anyone else.