Sharon Fanning-Otis always thought she would retire in her mid-50s. As one season turned into another and she slowly approached her 60th birthday, Fanning-Otis realized there probably never was going to be a perfect time to step away from the game she loved. On Monday, Fanning-Otis made a decision that has been years in the making when she announced she will retire as Mississippi State University's women's basketball coach at the end of this season.
On a night where few defensive plays were routine, Starkville Academy made two great defensive stops when it needed them most. Center fielder Drew Pellum made a diving catch to end one threat, while pitcher Hunter Bolin made a game-ending snag to help the Starkville Academy baseball team beat Heritage Academy 4-3 in the season opener for both teams Monday night at Trip Carson Field.
WEST POINT -- Tori Ellis isn't the loudest person on the Oak Hill Academy girls basketball team. The multi-sport standout also isn't the most aggressive player on the squad. But the senior guard understands the urgency or her final prep basketball season and how her teammates look to her to set the tone.
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Auburn University men's basketball players gathered on the court and vowed not to let this game slip away. Frankie Sullivan scored 16 points and Kenny Gabriel added 15 points and nine rebounds to help Auburn hold off a Mississippi State Univerity comeback attempt in a 65-55 victory on Saturday night.
STARKVILLE -- Another loss, another positive comment for the Mississippi State women's basketball team. Unfortunately, the comments the Lady Bulldogs are earning won't improve their record or they chances to keep their season alive after the Southeastern Conference tournament. MSU (14-12, 4-9 SEC) will try to rectify that problem at 2 p.m. today when it plays the University of Arkansas (19-6, 8-5) at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
JACKSON -- The Class 5A North State boys basketball championship trophy will stay in Jackson in 2012. Even without its leading scorer Malik Newman, the Callaway High School boys basketball team used an emphatic second-half run to beat Starkville 59-48 just 10 days before both teams head to the state finals at the Mississippi Coliseum.
When the Heritage Academy boys basketball team needed a lift Saturday night, junior David Hardy was ready to answer the call. After big man Bobby McGrath landed in early foul trouble, Hardy saw extended playing time and delivered in a 67-59 loss to Washington School in the third-place game of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II tournament in Columbus.
Don't lose focus if Tiffany Huddleston is guarding you. If you look away or leave the ball unprotected for an instant, the Starkville Academy junior is liable to poke it away and race to the other end and score. Few athletes can do that on the soccer field and on the basketball court. But Huddleston's ability to round back into All-State form is just another reason why the Starkville Academy girls basketball team can say today it is a champion.
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- As motivation to keep the Rupp Arena crowd rowdy, University of Kentucky men's basketball coach coach John Calipari has said when the Wildcats lose home games, he won't stick around to sign autographs. Three years into his tenure, he's still signed after every home game. Terrence Jones had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 1 Kentucky to a 77-62 victory against the University of Mississippi on Saturday, the Wildcats' 50th consecutive win at home.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Trevor Lacey scored 18 points and had four steals to lead the University of Alabama men's basketball team to a 62-50 win against the University of Tennessee on Saturday. Trevor Releford had 13 points off the bench for the Crimson Tide (17-9, 6-6 Southeastern Conference), who ended Tennessee's four-game win streak. Andrew Steele had 10 points and seven assist.
The Starkville boys basketball team have guaranteed themselves an opportunity to play for the Class 5A state championship. After a dominating 82-67 victory over Provine High School Friday night in the Class 5A North Half semifinals at Forrest Hill High School, the Yellow Jackets avenged a regular season loss and showcased the talents of one of the state's premier players.
STARKVILLE -- The concern heading into the 2012 baseball campaign in Starkville was the new-look Mississippi State University hitters. Those fears were quickly put a more of an ease during an opening night 6-2 victory over Washington State University in front of 3,449 at Dudy Noble Field Friday evening.
Despite five first half three pointers, Heritage Academy fell to Hillcrest Academy 67-47 in the semifinal round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II Tournament Friday night.
Perfection would be an assist on every basket. Glenn Schmidt has been coaching long enough to know that's probably not going to happen, but that hasn't stopped the Starkville Academy girls basketball team from insisting her players look to make one more pass.
STARKVILLE -- The word of the day for this weekend's starting pitchers is efficiency. If you need two words: throw strikes. That's how every person that toes the rubber at Dudy Noble Field will be evaluated as they begin the 2012 campaign this weekend and will attempt to get their arms ready for a vigorous conference season.
STARKVILLE -- The last thing Rick Stansbury needed was more injury questions. The 14-year coach of Mississippi State University men's basketball has already lost back-to-back games to average teams and is struggling to maintain much consistency entering the critical portion of the 2011-12 campaign.
STARKVILLE -- Down to their last out, the Bulldogs finally ran out of late-inning magic, falling 5-4 to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Friday night at the MSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs fell to 5-1 on the year, while the Cougars improved to 3-2.
This wasn't the way it was supposed to end.
STARKVILLE -- To his right and just above the desk in John Cohen's office sits a picture of one of coaching idols -- Hall of Fame and former University of Alabama football coach Paul W. Bryant. It isn't common to see a picture of a football coach in the office of most baseball coaches in America, but it helps explain the mind-set of Mississippi State University's fourth-year baseball coach.
STARKVILLE -- The color orange doesn't faze Kendra Grant. That's the good news, especially considering Grant is a freshman at Mississippi State University and has plenty of matchups remaining against the University of Tennessee women's basketball team. The bad news is Grant's hard work Thursday night couldn't end a streak that dates back to before she was born.
1. Noxubee County beats Columbus; Starkville defeats Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Friday's, Thursday's Mississippi Prep Football Scores HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Starkville Academy's ground game batters West Lowndes HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Defense delivers for Raiders HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Ball's interception sparks Noxubee County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS