At the beginning of the basketball season, Pickens County coach Russ Wallace believed his team was a year away from contending for a state championship. Wallace experienced a tumultuous offseason when he had to kick two starters and three other players off the team, and he didn’t know how his players would respond.
Prior to the opening tip of the basketball season, the Pickens Academy Lady Pirates set a goal to win a state championship. Pickens Academy coach Wade Goodman and senior forward Callie Minor were confident the Lady Patriots could accomplish the feat after making it to the Elite Eight of the state playoffs the previous two years.
All of the details still need to be sorted out, but mark May 14 as a night of champions. On that evening, Class 5A champion West Point High School will take on Class 6A state champion South Panola at a site to be determined. Louisville High School also could be involved in what would become a jamboree, but the recent decision of LHS football coach and athletic director Brad Peterson to take the head football coaching position at Brandon has left Louisville’s involvement in the event in question.
A dream came true for Stefan Hairston on Friday. Ever since he was a freshman at Columbus High School, Hairston hoped he would mature and progress to realize a chance to play baseball in college. A solid start to his senior season helped Hairston earn an opportunity to play at Coahoma Community College, and he capitalized on it by signing a national letter of intent to attend the two-year school in Clarksdale.
CALEDONIA — Senior Night brought a much needed win for Robin Elmore’s Caledonia Lady Confederates as a big first inning against Starkville provided an early cushion in a 14-4 win Friday. Nine runs allowed by the shorthanded Lady Jackets (5-14), who were without starting pitcher Jadee Sexton and starting catcher Sasha Shurden, labored through the first frame with 10 errors while Caledonia (5-13) took advantage of every mistake to build a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
A little more than a week ago, West Point High School baseball coach Buddy Wyers laid it on the line for his players. Following an 11-4 district loss to New Hope, Wyers said he knew the Green Wave was a good baseball team and that his players needed to believe in themselves. If they did, Wyers said, the results would come.
The playoffs will start a little early for the Columbus and Starkville high school baseball teams. Thanks to Tupelo High School’s 11-3 victory against Columbus and Starkville High School’s 14-4 victory against South Panola on Friday, the Class 6A, Division 2, District 4 race will begin to get sorted out this week. First up, Columbus will play host to Starkville at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a game that could be an elimination game for the loser.
Dreams came true Thursday for three Mississippi State women’s basketball players and the University of Mississippi’s Bianca Thomas. Now Armelie Lumanu, Chanel Mokango and Alexis Rack, of Mississippi State, and Thomas are faced with the hard part: Making the most of their opportunities. Things likely will be a little easier for Mokango and Thomas, who were selected with the No. 9 and the No. 12 picks in the WNBA draft by the Atlanta Dream and Los Angeles Sparks, respectively.
STARKVILLE — Fueled by a mid-week offensive uprising, the Mississippi State baseball team will yet again have another first when it plays host to Arkansas this weekend. New faces, new positions, new lessons learned and another new attempt by MSU coach John Cohen hope to provide a spark for the Bulldogs. But make no mistake, Caleb Reed’s first career start scheduled for today’s 6:30 p.m. opener against the Razorbacks isn’t just a shot in the dark to get longer innings out of starters.
STARKVILLE — The day Starkville High School football fans waited for came Thursday when Jamie Mitchell was formally introduced as the head coach. With an estimated crowd of 50 people in attendance, Mitchell was given his first Starkville coaches polo and cap by Starkville School District superintendent Judy Couey and began his tenure as the Jackets’ coach by delivering a motivational foreword. After going 40-10 in four seasons at Itawamba Agricultural High School, Mitchell opted for a job he tried to get more than 10 years ago.
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School’s anchor on the softball field is headed to the next level. Starkville first baseman Tamara Bell signed with East Mississippi Community College on Thursday, becoming the Lady Lions’ second signee. Through the rebuilding Starkville coach Mimi Milling has faced the last two seasons, Bell has been a constant for the Lady Yellow Jackets. Milling has leaned on Bell for leadership, example and quality defensive play in the infield.
STARKVILLE — Chanel Mokango is ready for anything today. The only problem is the Mississippi State senior doesn’t know when it will happen.
Bianca Thomas believes in herself. You can hear it in her voice. More importantly, the University of Mississippi senior makes you believe on the court.
None of the four WNBA coaches and/or general managers could pinpoint where Mississippi State seniors Armelie Lumanu, Chanel Mokango, and Alexis Rack and University of Mississippi senior Bianca Thomas will be picked today in the annual WNBA draft. But all four individuals agreed all four will be drafted, likely in the first two rounds of the three-round event.
In his first season on the East Mississippi Community College baseball team, Hilton Gibson ranks among the team leaders in hitting and power production. The freshman first baseman is third with a .376 batting average to go with two home runs and 20 RBIs. But the production at the plate isn’t Gibson’s greatest contribution to the Lions, according to EMCC coach Tony Montgomery.
STARKVILLE — It’s official Jamie Mitchell is the man who’s charged with leading Starkville High School football back to prominence. News broke a month ago that Mitchell, who compiled a 40-10 record in four seasons at Itawamba Agricultural High School, had been tabbed as Starkville’s coach. Tuesday night, the Starkville school board made it official as Mitchell was voted to take over a program coming off back-to-back losing seasons.
Uncle Mo’ is someone all teams love to have on their side. When you’re going good, like holding the opponent scoreless through the first five innings, the push you get from momentum can help you make things look easy. But as soon as you lose that wave, performing even the easiest tasks can become the most difficult things imaginable. The New Hope High School baseball team experienced both ends of the spectrum Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they lost the momentum, regained it, and then lost it again in a 10-8 loss to Saltillo in a Class 5A Division 2, District 1 game at Trojan Field.
After beating Columbus by the 10-run rule earlier in the season, Starkville High School softball coach Mimi Milling wasn’t expecting the close contest the Lady Jackets got in a rematch Tuesday. Starkville evened its Class 6A, District 2 record by holding off Columbus 12-6, denying the Lady Falcons’ bid for their first win of the season. The Lady Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning and pitcher Jadee Sexton retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning to seal the win.
The New Hope High School fast-pitch softball team is ready. After an unusually long road trip due in part to weather-related problems to start the season, the Lady Trojans finally returned home Tuesday, and did so in style. Lauren Holifield had three hits, including two triples, to lead a 10-hit attack in New Hope’s 15-0 victory against West Point in a Class 5A, Division 3, District 1 victory. The game was called in the bottom of the third inning due to the mercy rule.
DEKALB –– Rowdy Rigdon and Cole Newman combined on a three-hit shutout Tuesday to pitch the Central Academy baseball team past Kemper Academy 12-0 for a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A, North Central District win. Rigdon (2-1) allowed one hit and struck out two in three innings and Newman have up two hits and fanned four in two innings as the Vikings won by the 10-run rule in five innings. Central Academy (5-3, 5-1 district) pounded out 13 hits, led by Ferris MaGuire with a double and two singles, Hunter Campbell with a double and single, and Redman Butler and Trevor Eaves with two singles each. Contributing a single each were Rigdown, Newman, Will Disbrow and Drew Pearson.
2. Former Bulldogs showcase skills to NFL scouts COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville boys pack state championship dreams for Jackson HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU baseball welcomes San Diego for three-game series COLLEGE SPORTS