An exciting 2021-22 varsity basketball season featured a young team, a challenging schedule, and four overtime games, plus an additional three games decided by a single possession. The Owls ended the season with a 15-10 overall record and a runner-up finish in the TSSAA Division II West Region to eventual undefeated state champion Christian Brothers. The team’s top five scorers were either sophomores or freshmen, giving the young Owls valuable experience while showing that they can compete with the best teams in the state.
MUS took on one of the most competitive schedules in school history with games against top teams in Memphis such as East, MHEA, FACS, Fayette Ware, and Overton. Other high-level opponents outside the region included Our Savior Lutheran (New York), Vertical Academy (North Carolina), Spring Creek Academy (Texas), and Knoxville Catholic.
The Owls enjoyed competing in FedExForum, where they defeated MHEA in a thrilling come-from-behind victory in front of a rowdy student section on Memphis Day. The squad later played in the Memphis Hoopfest at Arlington High School versus nationally recognized prospect Mikey Williams and his Vertical Academy team in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Other highlights from the season include an overtime victory over Spring Creek Academy at the Iverson Classic, an impressive road win at Fayette Ware, and a season sweep of regional rival Briarcrest with one of those victories coming on the road in a thrilling overtime game. The team also took undefeated Christian Brothers to overtime in both games this season, unfortunately dropping both contests in heartbreaking fashion. The season ended with a loss on the road in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs to eventual state runner-up Knoxville Catholic.
Owls Head Coach David Willson ’99 says the team adopted a gritty defensive identity. “I was impressed with how this group developed defensively this year against a strong slate of opponents,” he says. “Our team forced an average of 15 turnovers per game, we took twice as many charges as our opponents (44), and we held opponents to an average of 40% from the field. I believe added experience for our returners and hard work during the offseason will enable us to be a more balanced, efficient, and consistent offensive team moving forward.”
Sophomore Curtis Givens led MUS in scoring at 16.3 points per game and led the team in steals at 1.5 steals per game. Sophomore R’Chaun King led the team in rebounding with an average of 7.7 rebounds per game while also averaging 12.3 points per game. Senior Coy Stiles led the team in assists with 2.8 assists per game, and sophomore Brandon Nicholson took a team high 14 total charges.
The team graduates five seniors from the program: James Barton, Kyler Herring, Loro Lado, KJ Milan, and Stiles. Juniors Clarence Chapman, Max Painter, Barrett Summers, and Wesley Street will take the helm next season along with sophomores Givens, King, Nicholson, Hays Prather, Jackson Ransom, and Makhi Shaw. Joakim Dodson also played a large role on the team as a freshman.
Willson appreciated the team chemistry throughout the season. “We had a large roster with 16 players. I was impressed by how each person on the team committed to embracing his role and how the boys supported one another well through the highs and lows. I am grateful to junior Bauer Patton and senior Ricky Ransom for the many ways they served our team as student managers and to assistant coaches Robert O’Kelley and Scott Rose ’82 for their outstanding leadership and support.”