The New Hope High School boys basketball team hasn't had the biggest or the fastest or the most talented array of players the past two seasons. But the Trojans have made up for what they have lacked in those areas with a gritty, never-say-die mentality that has fueled their success. On Tuesday, New Hope coach Drew McBrayer saw signs that his latest team might have found that same mentality.
WEST POINT -- It was just a matter of time Tuesday before the Rachel Hollivay effect wore down Oak Hill Academy's girls basketball team. The Heritage Academy center made just 3 of 13 shots in the first half and saw her team trail 17-14 at halftime. What the Lady Patriots had failed to do in their four previous games, including a 19-point loss to the Lady Raiders, was effectively close games. At the center of Heritage Academy's attack, Hollivay had triple double and scored the go-ahead basket Tuesday night in a 40-38 overtime win against Oak Hill.
When shooters are "on" their "stroke" makes them feel like they can hit any shot from any spot on the floor. To get to that point where a shot becomes second nature, players often have to shoot hundreds -- if not thousands -- of shots before and/or after practice to become a sniper. Natalie Tate is working toward that goal, but she admits she has to develop the consistency she and her coach desire.
C.J. Johnson is comfortably a Rebel. The Philadelphia High School linebacker, blue-chip recruit, and All-American is the state's top-rated defensive player. He was Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen's second commitment in the fall of 2009. But Tuesday he confirmed he'll sign with the University of Mississippi on National Signing Day Feb. 2.
The state's top-ranked defensive player is headed to Ole Miss. Philadelphia linebacker C.J. Johnson, a five-star recruit according to Rivals.com, announced today he was spurning Mississippi State in favor of the Rebels. Rod Walker of the Clarion-Ledger broke the story earlier this afternoon. Once a Mississippi State commit since his junior year, Johnson de-committed the day after former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left to take the same position at Texas.
Rain Monday night and today wiped out the slate of local Mississippi High School Activities Association playoff soccer games.
STARKVILLE -- Everything that could have went wrong did Saturday for the Mississippi State men's basketball team in its loss at the University of Georgia.
STARKVILLE -- Prior to Monday, Anna Albritton had one soccer player sign a college scholarship in her time as Starkville High School's girls soccer coach. She considers her second to be her first. Not many coaches get to see one of their standout players develop from grade school, but Albritton realized that feat Monday morning when goalkeeper Raevonne Shoemaker signed a scholarship to play soccer at Itawamba Community College.
STARKVILLE -- Anna Prestridge doesn't light up a stat box. The point guard for the Starkville Academy girls basketball team doesn't possess blazing speed or have a deadly outside shot.
Right or left? Steve Brand didn't have a lot of time to analyze which direction would work best, so he went with the flow. Veering right, Brand rubbed a defender off a screen at the top of the 3-point arc with the game in his hand.
The voice is distinctive. Even if they have tracked back into the defensive third and are lost in a sea of bodies, Megan and Cayla Chambers can pick out a call from their sister.
STARKVILLE -- There's something brewing at the top of the state soccer hierarchy. While Tupelo and Clinton high schools have kept an annual grip on the state title, Starkville High hopes to join them.
The Columbus Speedway will play host to the "Racin' for Life 200" United Speed Contest Sanction (USCS) Enduro Race for strictly stock cars at 2 p.m. March 5. The 200-lap race will benefit the American Cancer Society Relay For Life charity.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Valencia McFarland scored 21 points and hit two late free throws Sunday afternoon to lift the University of Mississippi women's basketball team to a 69-65 upset of No. 23 Arkansas. Ole Miss (9-9, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) rallied from an early 14-2 deficit to snap a four-game losing streak.
ATHENS, Ga. -- The No. 24 University of Georgia women's basketball team used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to get early separation en route to a 78-58 victory against Mississippi State on Sunday in a Southeastern Conference game at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia (16-3, 6-0 SEC), which won its seventh game in a row, remains one of two unbeaten teams in league play. MSU fell to 8-10 and 0-6 with a seventh-straight defeat.
STARKVILLE -- Tarah Henderson and Jasmine Simmons are excited about the opportunity to celebrate the game of soccer and to introduce it to children who might no know a lot about it. The Mississippi State soccer players will serve as guest instructors in a Soccer Across America program that will hold four soccer clinics at Stokes-Beard Technology and Communication Magnet School. All four of the sessions will run from 1-2 p.m. at the school. They will be Tuesday, Thursday, Feb. 1 and Feb. 3.
STARKVILLE -- A day after upsetting Madison-Ridgeland Academy, the Starkville Academy girls basketball team earned a 55-45 rivalry win against Oak Hill Academy. Anna Lea Little and Sallie Kate Richardson each scored 19 points. Richardson netted her total in 16 minutes.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen calls January the "crazy season" of college football. He isn't coaching or working on game plans for the next opponent; he's trying to lock up the next Mississippi State football stars.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Fox believes it is becoming more difficult to devise a defensive plan against his balanced University of Georgia men's basketball team. Georgia, a strong inside team in December, showed off its 3-point shooting against Mississippi State while also remaining tough on the boards.
STARKVILLE -- Nell Fortner knows what it's like to reload. Two seasons ago, the Auburn University women's basketball team was at the top of the Southeastern Conference. Buoyed by the efforts of four seniors, including eventual SEC Player of the Year DeWanna Bonner, the Tigers went 12-2 in the league, advanced to the title game of the SEC tournament, and won 30 games before falling in the second round of NCAA tournament.
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