STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School boys soccer coach Brian Bennett busted into a big smile after his team's second goal Tuesday night. That's when the Yellow Jackets knew they were on their way to a victory in the opening-round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A playoffs.
STARKVILLE -- Jalen Steele has had a lot of people tell him he can't do something. Between his hometown university not wanting him, the coach he initially signed with getting fired, and the tear of the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee, the 6-foot-3 guard has overcome some bumps along the way.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School senior soccer player Christine Mazzola remembers her eighth grade year when the Lady Jackets advanced to the second round of the North State playoffs. "I still have a t-shirt," Mazzola said. "Since this is my last season, I want to do a little better this time around." Starkville will again try to begin a postseason run today when the Lady Jackets play host to Center Hill in a first-round Class 5A playoff matchup. Match time is 5 p.m. at the Starkville High football stadium. The Starkville and Center Hill boys will also follow with a first-round playoff match, slated for a 7 p.m. start.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State freshman point guard DeVille Smith has checked into a Jackson area hospital for the second time this season after suffering from symptoms of headaches and dizziness. Mississippi State basketball team spokesperson Gregg Ellis confirmed Monday that the 5-foot-10 guard entered the hospital Friday and Bulldogs head coach Rick Stansbury said Smith will "absolutely" not participate in either of MSU's contests this week (vs. LSU Wednesday and at Florida Saturday).
STARKVILLE -- Actions, not talk, dictate success. So when the Mississippi State University women's basketball team's starting five crouched in a defensive stance and slapped the Humphrey Coliseum floor with the palms of their hands 21 seconds into their game Sunday against Auburn University, you had to believe the Lady Bulldogs were prepared to deliver a focused effort.
Leadership is crucial when you're building a program. A year ago, Mary Nagy helped the New Hope High School girls soccer team establish that foundation as it won its first playoff game and advanced to the second round before losing to state power Ridgeland.
Transformations typically don't happen overnight. But Columbus High School boys soccer coach Ben Moore has watched this season as a team that won one game in 2010-11 has won six this season and has acc
STARKVILLE -- North Pike High School defensive end A.J. Jefferson pledged his services to Mississippi State University late Saturday night. This news was first reported by the 247Sports.com site that covers the MSU program on Sunday.
STEENS -- Billy Thomas never doubted Ross Moore. Even after a shoulder injury forced the senior to miss his final season with the Immanuel Christian football team, Thomas knew Moore was going to find a way to work through his rehabilitation and return to the basketball court.
STARKVILLE -- The look in Diamber Johnson's eyes said it all. Trailing by 15 points in an otherwise lackluster first-half performance by her team, the Mississippi State University senior point guard had seen enough. MSU had just turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions and looked like it was going to fall deeper into a hole. That trajectory changed with one jump shot.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rick Stansbury drew up a play in the huddle, something his Mississippi State University men's basketball team hadn't used this season. He saw Vanderbilt overplaying Dee Bost, and his senior guard made it work. Bost scored on a layup with 51.8 seconds left in overtime and No. 18 Mississippi State edged Vanderbilt University 78-77 Saturday night, snapping the Commodores' eight-game winning streak.
The next two games will go a long way in determining the fate of the Mississippi State women's basketball team. While MSU (12-6, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) may have lost an opportunity to earn a key victory in a home loss to LSU on Jan. 5, it can take a big step toward redemption at 2 p.m. today against Auburn (10-9, 2-4).
ATHENS, Ga. -- Terrance Henry can't really say why the University of Mississippi men's basketball team struggles so badly at the free-throw line. As long as the Rebels win, however, Henry believes his team will be just fine. "We're used to it," Henry said. "That's our M.O. We grind it out on defense, take what we can get on offense. It wasn't new to us, so we were used to a game like that." Henry scored 24 points, Nick Williams and Murphy Holloway added 12 and Mississippi held off a late surge from Georgia for a 66-63 victory on Saturday.
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Trevor Releford slashed between three University of Kentucky defenders, hit a floater and slid into the front row. No matter how hard the University of Alabama guard tried, the Wildcats always had an answer for him and the rest of the Crimson Tide. Releford scored all 17 of his points in the second half, but No. 2 Kentucky hit its final eight free throws in the closing minute in the Wildcats' 77-71 victory over Alabama on Saturday.
STARKVILLE -- The up and down style of Canton was just what the Starkville High School boys basketball team wanted to see Friday night.
STARKVILLE -- "Thirty-two forever." Those words proved to be the rallying cry the Starkville High School girls soccer team needed Friday night to earn its biggest victory of the season.
STARKVILLE -- Anna Prestidge is the answer to the trivia question: why has the Starkville Academy girls basketball team been so successful? At least that's what Lady Volunteers coach Glenn Schmidt said after her team's 40-25 victory over a powerful Pillow Academy squad.
Load up the pistol because the Heritage Academy football team is about to learn a new system. Barrett Donahoe, the architect of that system at Copiah Academy and Marshall Academy, was in Columbus on Friday to take the first step in building the Heritage Academy football program into a state title contender.
Racing has always been a big part of Mike Mauldin's life. "I love it dearly," said Mauldin, who is from Fulton. "The Bullring is one of the places where I got my start. To be able to contribute to the success of the Columbus Speedway means a lot to me. We are looking forward to a great year of racing."
Two college basketball teams headed in opposite directions will meet in Nashville today. Unfortunately for Mississippi State, it isn't the squad on the positive end of that equation.
1. Logan enjoys fruitful career with MSU athletics COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Columbus Christian ready to start softball program HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Heritage Academy opens soccer season today HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS