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Starkville girls basketball team stings opponents in tournament


Danny P Smith



STARKVILLE -- The best thing about playing in the Hattiesburg Holiday Classic for Starkville High School girls basketball coach Kristie Williams was seeing good competition. 


The Lady Yellow Jackets played against two fellow Class 6A school in Oak Grove and Natchez and also Class 5A Brookhaven. 


Starkville (12-1) swept those teams with ease by beating Brookhaven 79-55, Oak Grove 51-38 and Natchez 67-58. 


It was the sixth year for the Lady Yellow Jackets to participate in the Hattiesburg Classic and Williams said it always provides a good experience for her teams. 


"It''s always good when you get three games in three days with great teams to play against to close out the first half of your season," Williams said. "It gives you a good measuring stick for where you want to be down the line.  


"In order to be the best, you''ve got to go through a 6A team. We were able to beat two great teams in Oak Grove and Natchez. It gives us momentum to carry on the rest of the season." 


Even though Starkville won in Hattiesburg, Williams brought some concerns back home. 


She didn''t like the turnovers the Lady Jackets had late in the game against Natchez and said that will be an area of focus as they look ahead to Friday''s Class 6A, Region 2 game at South Panola. 


"There are some kinks we''ve got to work out," Williams said. "There''s still room for improvement, but overall I think we''re in a good place. We''ve just got to be more consistent on both ends of the court for us in order to progress the rest of our season." 


Individually, senior forward Kala Williams had a good three-day stay in Hattiesburg by averaging 20.7 points in the classic. She had 24 points against Brookhaven and 25 points against Oak Grove. 


Junior forward Courtney Moore scored in double digits for all three games (12 points against Brookhaven, 11 points against Oak Grove and 13 points against Natchez), while senior forward Shay Bonner had her best game of the classic with 19 points against Natchez. 


Williams said those players are at the level the team needs them to be. 


"Shay and Kala are two of our senior leaders and we expect them to play well every time they step on the floor so they do what we expect them to do," Williams said. "Courtney is a great athlete inside and has provided post play. We''re looking for her to continue to grow and become the great player that we know she is going to be." 


Moore leads the team in rebounding by averaging 7.2 boards per game. Williams is the top scorer (19.2 ppg.). 




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