DULUTH, Ga. — Pressure defense can make a game crazy. University of Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell doesn’t mind when things get crazy because that means his Wildcats are playing with energy and forcing mistakes. But sometimes a helter skelter pace can affect the wrong player. In the first 20 minutes Saturday, Mississippi State proved to be even better at forcing turnovers, as Kentucky committed 14 to MSU’s 13.
The lengthy saga and NCAA investigation surrounding the eligibility of Mississippi State University freshman Renardo Sidney has come to ruling after the NCAA reached a decision to bench him for nine basketball games next season and make him repay $11,800.
STARKVILLE — When Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart sat together Monday and spoke about Senior Night, they didn’t think their already slim chances of making the NCAA tournament would be even slimmer. Following Wednesday’s 89-80 loss at Auburn, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-9, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) enter Senior Night on Saturday looking to pull an upset on their home court against No. 16 Tennessee.
The time is now for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. The Lady Bulldogs have had four days to regroup and to reflect on a disappointing loss at LSU. Fortunately, the other results Sunday in the Southeastern Conference worked in MSU’s favor and allowed the Lady Bulldogs to earn a No. 3 seed, the highest in program history, and a first-round bye for the SEC Tournament. At 8 tonight, MSU (18-11) will get a chance to live up to that lofty seeding when it takes on sixth-seeded Georgia at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
CLINTON –- For the second straight year, East Mississippi Community College will be represented in the NJCAA Division I Basketball Championship. Last year the EMCC women made it to the national tournament and this year it’s the men’s turn. The 12th-ranked EMCC Lions punched their ticket to the national tournament Thursday by beating Itawamba Community College 78-64 in the championship game of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen didn’t know when his team would face its first bout of adversity, though he knew it was coming after a 4-0 start. This past weekend’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Southeastern Louisiana Lions left the Mississippi State Bulldogs at 4-3 heading into this weekend’s BankFirst Baseball Challenge at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs topped it off last Sunday with a 6-5 loss in which they had a two-run lead. That followed Saturday’s 8-5 loss when they commit five errors.
STARKVILLE — Three months have passed since the Starkville High School boys basketball team rallied to beat the Meridian Wildcats. Whether or not that game at Meridian really matters now is up for debate. Starkville will play Meridian in a rematch Saturday in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A state championship game and there are some interesting story lines. Among them, the teams have arguably two of the highest-rated players (Starkville’s Rashad Perkins and Meridian’s Rodney Hood) in Mississippi.
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School’s run to the state championship game is head coach Greg Carter’s first since 2003 and with as much that’s changed since then he hopes his evolution as a coach translates into a title. Back in 2003, Starkville lost the championship game to Vicksburgl. As exciting as making it to the championship game was for Carter, getting back to the final game seemed possible, if not probable, especially after qualifying for three more state tournaments the next six years.
The teaching will continue all season for Steve Hancock and Marion Bratton. Like all baseball coaches, Hancock and Bratton offer instruction, pointers, and guidance to their players. This season, though, with two of the youngest teams in the area, both coaches will dip deeper into their baseball knowledge. On Thursday night, Hancock’s Heritage Academy Patriots showed they are a little more advanced at this point in the season than Bratton’s Oak Hill Academy Raiders.
STARKVILLE — There’s something about a big stage that can rattle a young player at the moment when he or she needs to be focused most. The Starkville High School boys basketball team has five sophomores that head coach Greg Carter hopes don’t get wide-eyed when the Yellow Jackets play Biloxi on Wednesday in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A semifinals of the state tournament at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team’s prospects of making the NCAA tournament are looking brighter and brighter. But one misstep at 7 tonight against Auburn University (WCBI) could ruin those good feelings. Once two games off the top in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division, the Bulldogs were losing grip on their postseason hopes coming off four straight road losses.
The Mississippi State women’s basketball team made history Tuesday. Seniors Alexis Rack and Armelie Lumanu were named to the first and second All-SEC teams, respectively, while Lumanu was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Lumanu and classmate Chanel Mokango also were named to the All-SEC Defensive Team for the second consecutive season.
Van Chancellor was only half right. The LSU women’s basketball coach was asked in October at Southeastern Conference Media Day his thoughts about how the SEC race would shape up.
Having watched the Starkville High School boys basketball team provide the best prep basketball entertainment I’ve witnessed in my three years as a reporter and editor, I know the magnitude of today’s work and the storylines that have made this year’s team what it is. Two games away from erasing the state championship frustrations, the Yellow Jackets’ best approach to making history is to forget what happened in the past. Nevermind what you’ve heard. It’s the only way. Your opponent will do the same.
Brach White has high expectations entering his second season as the baseball coach at Pickens Academy in Carrollton, Ala. White and the Pirates have set a goal to win the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state championship.
STARKVILLE — While Mississippi State men’s basketball fans wonder what’s up with freshman forward Renardo Sidney, head coach Rick Stansbury isn’t worrying about his gem recruit helping the team this season. It makes sense, seeing as the Bulldogs (21-8, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) have clinched the SEC West and are on the bubble to make the NCAA tournament, according to NCAA bracket experts. Sidney wasn’t on the bench for the team’s game against Alabama, but the yet-to-be-reinstated player’s attorney, Don Jackson, said he was sick and did not attend.
STARKVILLE — Four empty state tournament trips to Jackson since 2000 have created high expectations and an ever-present shadow behind Starkville High School’s boys basketball team. Starkville players hear the nay-sayers in the classroom and in the community. “It’ll stop in Jackson” and “You guys will choke when you get to Jackson” get tossed around as if the Yellow Jackets have no support from the people who show up and watch them dunk, throw alley oops off the backboard, and, lest not forget, win at home.
Deion Curry and the Pickens County High School boys basketball team weren’t meant to be denied. Curry was instrumental this past Thursday in helping Pickens County win its first state championship in school history. The 5-foot-11 junior guard scored a game-high 31 points and had four rebounds, two assists and a steal to lead Pickens County past Houston County 88-86 in triple overtime in the Class 2A championship game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Final 48 Championships at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham, Ala.
After playing against the best players in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, Madison Ford gets a chance to be their teammate. The Heritage Academy senior gets that priviledge Saturday when she plays in the MAIS Class AA-AAA Girls All-Star Basketball Game. Ford will play for the North, which will play the South at 2:30 p.m. at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College in Clinton.
Boyd Hardy received a pleasant surprise when he learned he will get to take his place alongside the best soccer players in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. The Heritage Academy senior earned that distinction by being selected to play in the MAIS All-Star Soccer Game. Hardy was one of 18 players chosen to play for the North squad. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Friday at Raider Field at Jackson Academy. The admission is $8.
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