Starkville coach Greg Carter gives a few final instructions to Atavius Jones (34) at the end of a timeout. Photo by: Chris Todd/Special to The Dispatch
March 4, 2018 12:59:54 AM
By Brandon Shields
Special to the Dispatch
JACKSON -- For Starkville it was a tale of a two halves.
But in the end to Starkville coach Greg Carter an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.
Behind a strong second half surge the Yellow Jackets were able to get past Harrison Central 57-47 in the quarterfinal round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A playoffs at the Mississippi Coliseum on Saturday night.
Starkville (25-3) will face rival Columbus in the semifinals of the Class 6A playoffs on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets and Falcons split during the regular season with each team winning at home.
"We started out real shaky, but come in the end of the second quarter and into the second half we picked up the pace and played better," Carter said. "People say can't shoot three's real well in the coliseum but that's how we got here and it did well for us tonight."
Starkville shot just 24 percent from the field in the first half (7-of-29), while in the second half they shot 59 percent (13-of-22).
After being down 20-17 at the half the Yellowjackets would open the third quarter on a 17-7 run and would be up 34-27 with three remaining in the period.
Harrison Central would cut the Starkville lead to three at 38-35 at the end of the quarter.
Each team would have 12 turnovers, but Starkville would make more opportunities off turnovers.
"We got some big baskets off turnovers not only to take the lead but to also stretch the lead," Carter said. "We are going to do what we do that got us to this point."
Blake Rogers would have a team-high 12 points to lead Starkville, while Atavius Jones added 11 points and Jordan Temple chipped in 10 points for the Yellow Jackets.
"Blake and Jordan were huge for us down the stretch and showed the senior leadership that you need in these type of games," Carter said. "Harrison Central is a good team and the guard they got and the big caused us problems especially on the boards."
Now it's onto the familiar foe that is Columbus. The teams met in the 2016 championship.
"Two years ago we were playing down here for a state championship, so it'll be fun," Carter said.
"It's going to be a big game for both communities."
Dajon Whitworth would have a game-high 21 points to lead Harrison Central, while Dayquan Perkins added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Red Rebels (19-10).
"I thought the first half we played very well basketball, but in the second half we didn't play near as well," said Harrison Central coach Francisco Hardy. "Starkville didn't win 24 games for nothing and they are a good team. We just didn't finish the deal."
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