Shemar Johnson downplayed his emotions Tuesday night.
Playing in front of a packed New Hope High School student section for the final time, Johnson jammed home two monster dunks for old times sake.
STARKVILLE -- Samantha Ricketts started earning her keep very early as the new hitting coach for the Mississippi State softball team.
Ricketts has instilled a positive attitude and a new belief system at the plate.
Both have paid dividends early as MSU is off to a 12-1 start after a 9-3, 10-5 doubleheader sweep of Big Ten Conference foe Penn State on Saturday at the MSU Softball Field.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School girls basketball coach Kristie Williams commonly refers to the season as a marathon instead of a sprint.
Friday night had to feel like two marathons.
For the third time this season, Starkville was taken to the brink by archrival Columbus. Again, the Lady Jackets survived.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School senior Josh Skinner breaks down the formula for the boys basketball team's success at home this season as a three-step process.
"It starts with being excited and ready at the tip," Skinner said. "Then all five guys on the floor play some great defense. Everybody is active and we get some easy steals and get the other team rattled a little bit."
STARKVILLE -- In the sixth inning, Cassady Knudsen found herself in a tight spot.
Columbus High School boys basketball coach Sammy Smith knows his team can deliver a better effort than it gave Tuesday night in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 tournament.
A challenging non-conference schedule has helped pave the way for the Mississippi State softball team to make three straight NCAA regional tournament appearances.
STARKVILLE -- Early in the second quarter, Starkville High School senior Raphael Leonard leaped through the air, snagged a loose basketball, and threw it over his back to a waiting teammate. Seconds later, the improbable save led to an easy basket.
Leonard made several similar catches in a standout career at wide receiver for the school's football team. On Tuesday night, he was clearing a baseline instead of a goal line, but his effort epitomized the grit and determination of all of his teammates.
A lightning-fast start carried Starkville past Columbus 62-49 in an opening-round game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 tournament being at Starkville High.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School sophomore center Kelsey Jones knew her team needed a lift Tuesday night.
Jones stepped up and provided it.
Scoring nine points in a five-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, Jones helped Starkville work its way past Madison Central 47-28 in an opening-round game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 tournament Tuesday night at Starkville High.
STARKVILLE -- Columbus High School girls basketball coach Yvonne Hairston knew her team was capable of winning its opening game in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 tournament.
Still, there is no way she could have envisioned victory happening the way it did.
Down three points in the final minute of the second half, Columbus went on a 27-0 run to defeat Northwest Rankin 69-39 in the tournament's opening game Tuesday at the Starkville High.
Last Wednesday, Starkville High School football coach Jamie Mitchell looked like a tired man.
STARKVILLE --Mississippi State third baseman Caroline Seitz joked that she might wear Katie Anne Bailey's batting helmet and swing her bat for the rest of the weekend.
STARKVILLE -- When Jody Britt took over the Starkville Academy baseball program two years ago, he knew a talented junior class would help the Volunteers turn the corner.
After a season together, a talented senior class is ready to carry Starkville Academy to an elite level in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. At the same time, these Volunteers are preparing for the next level.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State softball coach Vann Stuedeman has made her name nationally known as a pitching expert.
When Stuedeman was hired four seasons ago to revitalize the program, it was easy to assume going to the next level would involve getting a game-changing pitcher.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy baseball player Harper Arnold knows a good opportunity when he sees it.
Minutes after East Mississippi Community College won the Mississippi Bowl and captured its third National Junior College Athletic Association national championship in football, coach Buddy Stephens was looking ahead to the 2015 season.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State softball players feel like they will be a part of a much better offensive team this season.
So far, so good.
MACON -- Some coaches stop coaching their players after the final game of their senior seasons.
Noxubee County High School coach Tyrone Shorter isn't like some coaches.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School senior wide receiver Raphael Leonard said there were a number of reasons for choosing to play senior college ball at Florida Atlantic.
Early in the fourth quarter, New Hope High School senior Jaylon Bardley and his teammates had seen enough.
"We knew we had to pick it up or we were going to lose the game," Bardley said. "On defense, we were bad for a long time. We didn't play with the defensive intensity we needed to until the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, we were really good."
Blowing open a tight game in the final six minutes, the New Hope boys basketball team defeated West Point 72-57 in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 2 matchup Tuesday night in Columbus.
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