Posted On: 05/15/18 1:02 PM

Class of 2019 guard Jake Branham of Springfield Catholic was one of the hottest players in the state of Missouri coming down the stretch of the regular season.

During the final month of the season, the 6’2″ Branham was on fire as he led the Fighting’ Irish to the Class 3, District 11 championship. He scored 44 points on 18-24 shooting from the field in a victory over Buffalo. He followed that up with 34 points in a victory over Bolivar.

In the district tournament, Branham scored 30 points in a victory over Clever in the semifinals and followed up with 35 points in a victory over Strafford in the district championship game. The only thing to slow down Branham in the postseason was an ankle injury which forced him to miss Catholic’s loss to Mountain Grove in the state quarterfinals. Branham’s ability to make 3-pointers and score on the drive made him virtually unguardable as Catholic made its late-season run.

“It was pretty special,” Branham said. “To put up big numbers in the games that counted the most; it’s something that doesn’t come without work.”

Branham’s hard work has paid off so far as he has started to attract interest from Division II schools such as Drury and UMSL. He also earned Missouri Prep Hoops Class 3 All-State honors after averaging 20 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals as a junior. With a strong group returning next season, Branham is hoping to take his team that final step, which is a berth in the Final Four, which is right there in Springfield.

“I want to make a big run going into my last year,” Branham said. “I would love to go out the right way with the guys who I have spent the most time with.”

During the spring and summer, Branham has been running with Missouri Team Carroll 17U, a talented outfit that includes Missouri State commits Tyem Freeman and Jamonta Black along with Republic standout Broc Smith. On a team full of offensive threats, Branham has settled into the role of a point guard who can facilitate as well as knock down 3-pointers.

“Team Carroll has been pretty good to all of us so far,” he said. “It has been good this spring. I’m still trying to get into the groove of things coming off my late season injury.”