WEST POINT - When Dashmond Daniel began his coaching career four seasons ago at West Point High School, he quickly identified the best player on the girls' basketball team.
WEST POINT - Oak Hill Academy senior basketball player Sarah Dill received some encouraging words from her coach Brian Middleton during her junior season.
STEENS -- Finding your voice sometimes can be difficult.
If nothing else, Danny Crawford has learned patience during his coaching career.
Today, The Dispatch presents its annual All-Area Prep Basketball Players and Coaches of the Year.
Patience has been a theme of Craig Barham's racing career since he first climbed into a Street Stock car in 2001. From joking with friend Scott Stripling before races to biding his time to set up numerous passes over the years, Barham always has taken a slow and steady approach to racing. These days, each week is an exercise in patience.
STARKVILLE -- Dakota Hudson and Jake Mangum are competing against each other even though they play for the same team. The Mississippi State standouts are finalists for the Ferriss Trophy, which is given to the top college baseball player in the state of Mississippi. On Thursday, they had performances worthy of winning the award. Hudson threw a complete-game shutout, while Mangum went 5-for-5 -- his first five-hit game -- in No. 3 MSU's 7-0 victory against Arkansas in Game 1 of the three-game Southeastern Conference series at Dudy Noble Field.
PHEBA -- A good game plan can help an underdog overcome overwhelming odds. After a 17-3 loss to Hebron Christian on Tuesday in Game 1 of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A championship series, the Humphreys Academy baseball team knew it was going to have to try anything and everything Thursday to have a shot at taking Game 2 and forcing a winner-take-all finale.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Brigham Hill scattered four hits in seven innings Thursday night to lead the No. 2 Texas A&M baseball team to a 6-1 victory against No. 6 Ole Miss in Game 1 of a three-game Southeastern Conference series. Hill (7-1) allowed one run to help Texas A&M (40-12, 19-9 SEC) stay in a first-place tie in the Western Division with Mississippi State, which defeated Arkansas 7-0 on Thursday night in Starkville.
Artavious McDyess knew he wanted to play basketball in college. At 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds, McDyess has the potential to grow into his frame and to be as dominant a post player as his nickname -- "Swat" -- suggests. McDyess also has the good fortune of having great blood lines from his father, former NBA All-Star Antonio McDyess. But the college recruiting process can give any student-athlete pause.
Kylin Hill won't have to travel far to play college football. The Columbus High School football rising senior verbally committed to Mississippi State via Twitter on Wednesday. "MSU is family," Hill said. "They treat you like you're their favorite cousin."
STARKVILLE -- Jack Kruger doesn't call the last month a resurgence. After getting off to a hot start, the Mississippi State junior fell into a lull offensively that forced him out of the lineup. In the last four weeks, though, Kruger has worked his way back into the rotation and is riding a wave he feels is just a part playing the game.
STARKVILLE -- Matt Roberts is all about staying in the moment. That's why Roberts took a moment in the spring of 2014 to consider his good fortune when he was named to lead the Mississippi State men's tennis team after working one season as an assistant coach for Per Nilsson, who left for Pepperdine. Roberts never imagined what he could accomplish at MSU. Instead, he focused on the hard work the program needed to maintain its success. Roberts' work has paid off, as a young MSU squad has blossomed en route to a fourth-place finish in the Southeastern Conference.
STARKVILLE -- Three Mississippi State baseball players were named finalists for the Boo Ferriss Trophy, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced Monday. MSU junior right-hander Dakota Hudson, junior outfielder/pitcher Reid Humphreys, and freshman outfielder Jake Mangum joined Ole Miss junior outfielder J.B. Woodman and Delta State senior outfielder Will Robertson as finalists.
SCOOBA -- Kiki Patterson felt doubly blessed Tuesday afternoon.
Terrell Jennings Jr. didn't have a say in the matter.
BELZONI -- Hebron Christian's Payton Griffin might have a sore pitching shoulder, but the senior did not show any ill effect from the ding. He gritted his teeth and hurled the ball over the plate -- time and time again -- as he kept bats consistently quiet. He became just too much for the Humphreys Rebels as the game progressed on Tuesday evening.
STARKVILLE -- Milton Smith is excited about the job he has in front of him.
PHEBA -- Focus is a key for Payton Griffin. The Hebron Christian senior probably has heard his father, Todd, stress the importance of being mentally ready more than a few times in his high school career. Whether it has been in football, basketball, or baseball, that focus has helped Payton and his teammates achieve their share of success in all three sports.
STARKVILLE -- Ole Miss freshman shortstop Hailey Lunderman wasn't sure what to expect when she started playing Southeastern Conference softball. Turns out, Lunderman got the hang of things quickly. In her first season at Oxford, Lunderman leads the Rebels with a .372 average and 73 hits. She has started all 59 games and has fielded at a .961 clip.