STARKVILLE -- This is the point John Cohen wanted to get with his baseball program. The Mississippi State University baseball coach always has thought the best plan for freshmen in the Southeastern Conference is to have them sit and watch veterans while working them into the lineup.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter has a short list of keys to victory for his team at the state tournament. "In the Big House, everybody is really good," Carter said. "It comes down to taking care of the little stuff, that and making shots. I know that sounds simple, but this is not rocket science. The championship teams are the ones who take care of the little stuff and make shots."
PHEBA -- Push, pull, prod, bump, elbow. You name it, Hebron Christian senior center Tori Nichols has felt it from opponents. You can't blame them, really, because Nichols has been so dominant that two and three players often have trouble slowing her down so they have to resort to any means necessary to gain a stalemate or an advantage.
STEENS -- Baseball players and coaches at Hebron Christian have big goals for this season. The Eagles want to win a district championship. "Our expectations are really high this year," Hebron Christian coach Cass Tapley said. "We have raised the bar this year. We are in it to win every game we play. Anything less than a district championship will be a disappointment."
STARKVILLE -- Sunday was the right time and Humphrey Coliseum was the right place for the University of Kentucky women's basketball team. Right now, the Wildcats are the Southeastern Conference regular-season champions.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State completed a perfect Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, picking up wins against Mississippi Valley State and Kansas. Monster fourth and fifth innings gave the Diamond Dawgs the 13-5 advantage over the Delta Devils of Mississippi Valley State during the early game of Saturday's doubleheader.
The University of Kentucky has an edge in brand recognition on nearly every basketball program in the nation. Even with that advantage, it took Matthew Mitchell three seasons before he could get the school's women's basketball team back to the 20-win mark and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.
CALEDONIA -- After a dismal performance at the plate during the final preseason jamboree last week, Caledonia High School baseball coach John Wilson thought his team had taken a step back. Caledonia struck out 18 times in 24 at-bats in a pair of four-inning games at Columbus. Sure, the Feds' top two hitters from the previous season were gone, but the rest of the roster was intact. Wilson was keen to see his team close the gap after losing 13 games in which they led after the fifth inning in 2011.
PELAHATCHIE --- Go ahead and call Starkville Academy the comeback champions. For the second time in as many days, the Lady Volunteers basketball team rallied from a double-digit deficit to take home the school's first-ever Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA state championship with a 47-35 win over Madison-Ridgeland Academy Saturday afternoon at East Rankin Academy.
SCOOBA -- The 10th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will tip off the 2012 MACJC State Basketball Tournament by taking on Jones County Junior College at 1 p.m. in Monday's first-round men's action at the Davis Event Center on the campus of Itawamba Community College. The EMCC-JCJC men's contest will be televised live by Jones County Junior College on www.jcjc.tv. Airtime will be 12:55 p.m. Monday.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Levi Randolph and Alabama's shooters heated up, the defense clamped down and the resurgent Crimson Tide rolled along with a little help from a familiar face. Randolph scored a career-high 18 points and Alabama welcomed JaMychal Green back from suspension with a superb second half in Saturday's 67-50 win over reeling Mississippi State. "In the second half, we had a dominating performance all the way around," Tide coach Anthony Grant said.
JACKSON -- That one fleeting moment to tie the game. That's all Aberdeen High School boys basketball coach Roy Hazzle thought his team needed to be playing for a Class 3A state championship gold ball trophy next week.
Four sophomores and two seniors earned their first start and first taste of varsity action for the New Hope High School baseball team Friday. It was the perfect time for coach Lee Boyd to get his first look at how his young squad handles a deficit. New Hope overcame a three-run hole with a five-run third inning against Amory High en route to a 6-4 win in the season opener for both teams.
Forget 5-hour Energy. If you ever need a pick-me-up, try watching tapes of basketball teams scrambling all over the court in pressure defenses because they're bound to get your blood pumping. After playing more than 24 minutes of face-contorting, rim-busting basketball, the Starkville Academy girls basketball team turned to pressure defense Friday afternoon in a last-ditch effort to keep its hope for a Class AAA state title alive.
STARKVILLE -- This is not the situation Rick Stansbury wanted to be in entering one of the most critical games of the season. The Mississippi State University men's basketball team has lost four games in a row and likely will be without freshman starter Rodney Hood when it takes on the University of Alabama at 5 p.m. today (ESPN) in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
STARKVILLE -- Successful basketball teams excel when players perform their roles. Sometimes the same can be said about families. In the case of the Starkville High School boys basketball team's Mike and Steve Brand, each knows one the other quite well, and the brothers complement each other quite well on and off the court.
PELAHATCHIE -- The Starkville Academy girls basketball team defeated Jackson Academy 34-30 on Friday in the semifinals of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA state tournament at East Rankin Academy.
STARKVILLE -- The new leader of the Mississippi State University baseball program is a junior college transfer that just arrived on campus in August. Mitch Slauter has earned the controls of the Bulldogs (2-1) defense and pitching staff after both starting catchers from last season graduated leaving a perceived hole in a critical element to MSU's success under coach John Cohen.
ABERDEEN -- Aberdeen High School has not lost back-to-back basketball games during the 2011-12 season. That statistic will be put to the test Saturday when the Bulldogs (26-6) face Kemper County (26-8) in a semifinal game Saturday at the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A state tournament.
ABERDEEN -- Aberdeen boys basketball coach Roy Hazzle stands on the baseline of Roy Hazzle Gymnasium barking out pointers to four different players on one offensive set. The 59-year-old Aberdeen native is working just as hard as he did on his first day of employment, Halloween of 1977. The hard work continues to pay off as the Bulldogs are headed back to the Mississippi Coliseum to make a sixth-ever appearance in the Mississippi High School Activities Association's state championship tournament.