STARKVILLE —Bethany Washington is used to the ritual. The heating pads start from the end of the Mississippi State bench and work their way from trainer to manager to teammate to her knees. The size of the pads vary from gym to gym, but Washington has pads she brings with her when she travels, just in case, so she can be ready. Once the pads find their home, Washington can stretch out and receive the warmth she needs to keep her joints loose.
It’s time for the University of Mississippi women’s basketball to take care of business. The message from coach Renee Ladner can’t be any clearer as her team prepares to tip off Southeastern Conference play at 2 p.m. today at No. 18 Vanderbilt. The players have compiled a scouting report for today’s game, the coaches have discussed what the Rebels (9-4) will have to accomplish in the 16-game SEC schedule, and now they have to invest the time and effort it will take to help realize the goal of returning to the NCAA tournament.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The numbers will mean a little more to Southeastern Conference women’s basketball coaches this season. Today, all 12 teams will play the first games in their 16-game SEC schedules. This is the first season the SEC, which started women’s basketball play in the 1982-83 season, will feature a 16-game schedule. The decision evoked mixed feelings from SEC coaches last year when they were asked about it at the league’s annual media days gathering in Birmingham, Ala.
Now that junior college quarterback Cam Newton has decided to play at Auburn, Mississippi State’s football team looks to move forward with the signal callers it already has on the roster. Newton, who led Blinn (Texas) College to the junior college national championship, signed with Auburn on Thursday. MSU was in the running for Newton’s services all the way up to New Year’s Eve, but Auburn came through the back door in the final days of the year to snatch him. Newton visited Auburn right before Christmas.
Stacy Hester began the year as the head coach of one of the state’s most noted high school baseball programs. By the middle of 2009, Hester was out at New Hope High School.
Still feeling the pain of losing his mother, Kent Willis has decided to postpone his Straight Path Baseball Camp for a year. The minor league pitching coordinator for the Atlanta Braves organization canceled the camp after his mother, Willie Mae Willis, of Columbus, passed away Nov. 12. She was 76.
HATTIESBURG — The Starkville High School boys basketball team have ended the 2009 portion of its schedule undefeated. The Yellow Jackets put the finishing touches with a sweep of three games at the Hattiesburg Holiday Classic with a 77-49 victory against Oak Grove High Wednesday afternoon at Watkins Gymnasium.
One statistic really bothers Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury. When a Stansbury-coached team gets outrebounded like it did Monday night against Mississippi Valley State (45-44), it concerns him.
STARKVILLE — The contact would have knocked a lesser guard to the ground. But not much stops Armelie Lumanu when she is in her element.
South Lamar High School girls basketball coach Josh Harper must feel like he has been sent a gift from above. South Lamar’s future looks promising thanks to freshman guard Angel Cunningham.
As of Thursday morning, five local teams are scheduled to play Saturday in the East Oktibbeha High School basketball tournament in Crawford.
Four days and counting. That’s how long before the Mississippi State women’s basketball team has before it begins the next part of its testing. At 7 tonight, MSU (8-4) will take on Alcorn State (0-8) at Humphrey Coliseum in its final tune-up before it kicks off its 16-game Southeastern Conference schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday at Auburn.
BRANDON –– The New Hope High School boys basketball team had five players score in double figures Tuesday in a 68-58 victory against Northwest Rankin in the Northwest Rankin Classic.
Darian Donald has taken the next step in his college basketball career. Now, the former Caledonia High School and East Mississippi Community College player is ready to make an impact at Mississippi Valley State University.
HATTIESBURG -- The Starkville High School boys basketball team showed Monday at the Hattiesburgh Holiday Classic why it’s considered the top-ranked team in Mississippi. The Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 1 by The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, jumped out to a 21-3 lead against Brookhaven after the first quarter and went on to a 70-41 victory at Watkins Gymnasium. Starkville (11-0) held a 34-15 advantage at halftime and even though Brookhaven competed better in the second half, it couldn’t make up the huge deficit.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury has no problem with what Phil Turner provides off the bench. Although there were some anxious moments in the post Monday night when senior center Jarvis Varnado got into foul trouble and had to come out of the first half against Mississippi Valley State. Freshmen Wendell Lewis and John Riek pieced together what they could and helped the Bulldogs beat Mississippi Valley 73-45 in front of 5,421 at Humphrey Coliseum.
WEST POINT — Dennis Allen had a dream to sell. Problem was, not many people, even friends, were willing to come to West Point High School to help transform a football program that had fallen on hard times. So Allen thought back to a golf outing in Ackerman when he met Chris Chambless. At the time, Chambless was in his first season at Caledonia High, and was known for his prowess as a defensive coach.
Playmakers share so many things. Whether its speed, strength, endurance, or a burning desire to be the best, their ability to change a game with one touch of the football makes them special. Michael Carr and Vincent Sanders share all of those traits and more. The West Point High School and Noxubee County High seniors also bring a confidence to the field that allows them to deliver game-changing plays on offense or defense.
It was a year to remember for the Lamar County and Pickens County high school football teams. Both teams made runs for a state title and came up a game shy of playing each other in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state championship game. Lamar County tied a school record for most wins in a season in Ken Adams’ third season as coach. Pickens County made the state semifinals in Scott Marchant’s first year as a head coach.
Michael Bradford’s goal was to be a leader on the offensive side of the ball for the Lamar County High School football team. The senior quarterback emerged as that leader and led Lamar County to a season to remember. With Bradford leading the way, Lamar County equalled a school record for the most wins in a season with 13 and made it to the semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
1. Caledonia needs offensive line for success HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Roberson relishes chance to build on tradition at Pickens County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Noxubee County's Jones becomes leader at Itawamba C.C. COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Henry, Caledonia rally past Heritage Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. South Lamar aims for winning season HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS