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Starkville Academy girls begin title defense


Matthew Stevens



JACKSON -- Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt said it's a "pleasure" to coach a veteran team focused on defending three championships. 


Starkville Academy took the first step in that journey Tuesday night with a 74-18 victory against Lee Academy in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II, Class tournament at Hillcrest Christian School. 


Maggie Proffitt led Starkville Academy (35-0) with 17 points, seven rebounds, five steals, and five blocked shots. Sallie Kate Richardson had 12 points and six rebounds, Anna Lea Little had 12 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, ad two steals, Tiffany Huddleston had 10 points, five assists, and five rebounds, Hannah Huddleston had six points, six rebounds, and three steals, and Janiece Pigg had six points and three points for the Lady Volunteers, who won the AAA-II title, the AAA title, and the overall championship last season. 


"It was a very professional attitude by my team tonight in a game where they know everybody is 0-0 starting off," Schmidt said. "(The undefeated record) doesn't come up with them and we don't bring it up as a pressure thing at all. They understand everybody is undefeated in what counts now." 


Proffitt, who has experienced the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North Half playoffs at Columbus High, had 14 points in the first quarter. Following the first eight minutes, Starkville Academy led 27-3 and built a 40-16 halftime advantage. Proffitt's defense translates to instant offense. 


Starkville Academy will take on Hillcrest Christian at 2:15 p.m. Friday. It defeated Hillcrest Christian by an average of 35.5 points in two games this season.  


n Hillcrest Christian (girls) 43, Heritage Academy 27: It wasn't the home crowd or the inability to make open shots that helped end the Heritage Academy girls basketball team's season.  


Heritage Academy (10-17) had too many problems with a 2-2-1 full-court press in its loss Tuesday.  


Hillcrest Christian forced Heritage Academy into 27 turnovers. The Lady Cougars used those turnovers to turn a 22-20 deficit into a blowout.  


"We had a chance to win the game, but they pressured us and we panicked a lot tonight," Heritage Academy coach Chris Ball said. "We got our bodies and minds sped up too much when we needed to slow everything down at that moment." 


With Heritage Academy leading 22-20 in the third quarter, Hillcrest Christian went to a full-court trap and got back-to-back baskets from Arielle Grover. The sophomore guard got her only two baskets on steals off inbound passes that led to uncontested layups.  


Kelli Randle (team-high 11 points) helped the Lady Cougars extend the lead by getting into the lane for easy shots or to draw fouls. 


After losing 10 of its first 11 games, Ball generated momentum in his first full season as the team's coach by guiding it to victories in nine of its next 10 games.  


Adalys Edwards led the Lady Patriots with six points. Heritage Academy had only two seniors on its roster. It hopes to return eight sophomores and three juniors next season.  


"With everybody learning on the job just like I was here in my first season, the future is bright here at Heritage," Ball said.  




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