CALEDONIA -- Zia Saraiva doesn't think she is a loud mouth. It's just that when she gets on the soccer field she usually doesn't stop talking. In some sports, Saraiva's gift for gab could take away from her play and distract her team. But the Caledonia High School girls soccer team has gotten used to Saraiva's penchant for constant communication as a defender. In fact, her talkativeness helped anchor the Lady Confederates' defense the past three seasons.
Inexperience never was an excuse for Katie Proctor. When she first joined the Columbus High School girls soccer team as a freshman, Proctor didn't know any way else to play but to go all out. The score or the time remaining in the match didn't matter because Proctor realized even as a ninth-grader it was up to her to set a pace she hoped others were going to follow.
CLINTON -- One down, two to go. Reality can make the high of even a first Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA state championship wear off pretty quickly. Such was the predicament the Starkville Academy girls basketball team faced Wednesday in its first game at the MAIS overall state tournament at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College.
If it wasn't for fishing, Bobby Zaiontz might not have realized he is a racer at heart. Twenty-two years ago, Zaiontz was living in Columbus and working as a flag man for late model races at Columbus Speedway and all over the Southeast. In between racing weekends, he would go out on his bass boat with his latest purchases and try to make the most of his hobby. That's when his life changed.
STARKVILLE -- Sharon Fanning-Otis wasn't one for euphemisms or pithy comments. Instead, the veteran coach was more likely to use her postgame comments to the media to break down the finer points of the game and highlight where her team excelled or fell short. True to her nature, Fanning-Otis was a teacher. She remained that way even in her next-to-last game as Mississippi State University women's basketball coach, a humbling 76-40 loss to the University of Kentucky.
STARKVILLE -- Fans of the Mississippi State University men's basketball program should do two things these next two weeks: grab your television guide and set your DVR.
CLINTON -- The Starkville Academy girls basketball team outscored Bowling Green (La.) Academy 18-2 in the fourth quarter Wednesday to rally for a 45-35 victory in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools overall state tournament at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College. With the win, Starkville Academy (36-5), the Class AAA champion, will play the winner of the Mt/ Salus Christian Academy-Jackson Prep game at 1 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
STARKVILLE -- Talk about a must-win game. Everyone associated with the Mississippi State University men's basketball team seems to understand they don't deserve a berth in the NCAA tournament if they can't get a victory tonight in a game versus a last-place team in Southeastern Conference.
Starkville High executed three different hit-and-run opportunities to perfection Tuesday night. With offensive production like that, the Yellow Jackets did not need the 12 walks and two hit batsman issued by Columbus pitching or the six errors made by the Columbus defense. All of those extras led to a bevy of insurance runs as the Jackets belted the Falcons 18-4 in a five-inning prep baseball contest.
STARKVILLE -- It's only natural for the Starkville Academy girls basketball team to look to Anna Prestridge to be a leader. Many of the Lady Volunteers might not know it, but Prestridge grew up with a basketball in her hands and has played point guard all her life, so it isn't surprising she transitioned into that role at Starkville Academy.
WEST POINT -- With a drenched diamond and gloomy atmosphere, the West Point Green Wave overcame the elements to knock off Caledonia 6-3 in prep baseball action Tuesday night. The Green Wave (1-2) rocked the baseball for the first three innings and scored five runs. Four of those five runs came off the bats of starting pitcher Freddie Reed and eventual closer Leroy Calvert - both with two RBIs apiece.
JACKSON -- The Wayne County High School boys basketball team was simply better than Starkville in every way possible.
STARKVILLE -- Frustrations are building in the Mississippi State University men's basketball locker room. Comments made Monday by junior power forward Arnett Moultrie showcased the emotions MSU feels after it lost its fifth-straight game Saturday, 67-50 at the University of Alabama.
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.
1. Netflix series will shine on EMCC COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Heritage Academy set to put lessons learned to use HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Cohen optimistic following offseason filled with turnover COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Tapley optimistic about Hebron Christian's potential HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS