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Hudson, Anding, McWain earn All-State honors

Thursday, April 4, 2024
Hudson, Anding, McWain earn All-State honors

After standout seasons for Ruston, Aidan Anding (left), Jaliyah McWain (middle) and Ahmad Hudson made the LSWA Class 5A All-State basketball team. Photos by Josh McDaniel

Three of the best basketball players Ruston High has to offer capped off their impressive seasons with Class 5A All-State honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Senior point guard Jaliyah McWain made second team for the girls, while junior guard Aidan Anding and freshman forward Ahmad Hudson each made first team on the boys squad.

McWain, named District 2-5A MVP in each of the last two seasons, led the Lady Bearcats in scoring ( 15 points per game), rebounds (6), steals (3), and assists (4) as the team finished 24-8 overall with a berth to the Division I Non-select quarterfinals.

In her four-year career (126 games) at RHS, McWain put up 1,577 points, 640 rebounds, 340 assists, and 362 steals — good for a career average of 12.5 points, 5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.9 steals.

“Jaliyah has grown so much from her freshman year to now and for me, I’ve enjoyed seeing the leadership and maturity part more than anything,” RHS girls basketball coach Meredith Graf said. “You obviously earn the basketball accolades by your play but for me I see it more holistically and knowing she’s worthy of that and how much she cares and how hard she’s worked, that’s what makes me most proud and happy for her.”

Zaccheya Jackson made honorable mention for the Lady Bearcats as well after averaging 11.9 points and 5 rebounds.

The boys’ team selections are no shock, with Anding and Hudson first and second on the Bearcats in scoring this season as the team made a second-straight trip to the state tournament.

Anding, who already made first- team All-State for football, made his way onto the first team for his hardwood prowess at 14.8 points per game, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.5 steals per game – all while shooting 37% from three.

Hudson showed little sign of his freshman classification in his production, averaging 14 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game in his first varsity season.

Hudson is the only freshman boys basketball player in the state to earn first team All-State honors this season.

“ When you think about Aidan and Ahmad, they do so many things for our program,” RHS head coach Ryan Bond said. “And we see it every day at Ruston High as coaches and faculty, but it’s good everybody across the state sees how impactful they both are. Aidan’s such a tremendous athlete, tremendous worker, tremendous leader.

“Ahmad — I’ve never coached a kid with that level of potential. He’s got an innate ability for the basketball. He’s 6-7 and he’s only going to get bigger. He has the potential to be more than just a back to the basket guy. He might be somebody next year who can grab a defensive rebound and push up the floor or do pick and pop situations.”

Allen Graves, a senior for Ponchatoula, was named Class 5A Boys Outstanding Player after averaging 20.8 points and 2.4 blocks for the Green Wave.

Brandon White of Liberty was named Class 5A Boys Coach of the Year after leading his team to the Division I Select state title after missing the playoffs entirely in 2023.

Chloe Larry, a senior from Parkway, was named Class 5A Girls Outstanding Player after her viral halfcourt shot gave the Panthers a win in the state semifinals on their way to an eventual state championship victory.

Gloria Williams of Parkway was named Class 5A Girls Coach of the Year.