During a successful basketball career at Ridgeland High School and West Point High School, senior point guard A.J. McFarland has always believed in playing one game at a time.
Playing form behind is nothing new for West Point boys' basketball coach Brad Cox and his team.
STARKVILLE -- Malik Newman needed a breakout game.
STARKVILLE -- Andy Kennedy needed role players to step up in big ways.
STARKVILLE -- Nathaniel Lowe is enjoying the transition.
STARKVILLE -- Milton Smith, Jr. is trying to make a name for himself.
Dawn Staley knows her team.
Vic Schaefer is concerned.
ATHENS, Ga. -- In a matchup of two very good defensive teams, Georgia's was just a little bit better than Mississippi State's to pull off the upset victory.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State has been close.
In her first news conference of the season, Mississippi State softball fifth-year head coach Vann Stuedeman threw out an interesting statistic. Stuedeman pointed out that last season Southeastern Conference rival Kentucky won 17 percent of its conference games and still played in a super regional. Stuedeman said Kentucky finished 4-20 in league play but a top 30 Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was enough to help the Wildcats earn an invitation to the NCAA tournament. From there, Kentucky won a regional at South Bend, Indiana, before falling to Florida in a Super Regional in Gainesville, Florida.
STARKVILLE -- Luke Templeton always has dreamed about playing baseball in college. On Wednesday, the Starkville Academy pitcher made that dream a reality when he signed a National Letter of Intent with East Mississippi Community College. Templeton and Starkville Academy will open their season Feb. 16 against Lamar School at Meridian C.C.
CALEDONIA -- Cassie Obman has attended enough college signings to know how she wanted hers to look. But if you have watched Obman play softball, you know her signing ceremony wasn't going to be thrown together at the last minute. That's because Obman is a perfectionist. She doesn't hesitate to use the word "perfect" when she talks about the development of her skills as a catcher. All it takes is one Caledonia High School game for you to understand Obman has invested countless hours learning how to be the best defensive catcher she can be.
STARKVILLE -- It doesn't matter where you look, the Mississippi State women's basketball team has climbed into the upper level of Division I. MSU is ranked No. 10 in The Associated Press and the USA Today national polls. It is all alone in second place in the Southeastern Conference, which is regarded as one of the nation's best leagues every season. The Bulldogs also are fifth in the country in turnovers forced (24.2 points per game) and third in Division I with a +9.6 turnover margin. Those statistical categories typically are ones MSU fourth-year head coach Vic Schaefer highlights after every game. To date, MSU has earned a lot of circles on the final stat sheets for all of the good things it has accomplished in building a 17-2 record and a 4-1 mark in the SEC.
Columbus High School first-year boys basketball coach Luther Riley expected some early season adversity. He also hoped his team would be clicking on a high level when the calendar turned to February. If Tuesday night was any indication, the Falcons might be on their way. Columbus scored the game's first 15 points and cruised to a 70-45 victory against West Point at the Falcon Lair.
OXFORD -- Michael Carrera is one of the South Carolina men's basketball team's best players, adept at scoring from 3-point range or in the paint. The senior might make a pretty good coach someday, too. No. 24 South Carolina rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half to force overtime and beat Ole Miss 77-74 on Tuesday night. It was the 6-foot-5 Carrera who made several crucial plays down the stretch, including the game-tying layup in regulation and the basket that put the Gamecocks ahead for good in overtime.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida men's basketball coach Mike White has his first winning streak in Southeastern Conference play. He and the Gators received a little help from Mississippi State down the stretch. Dorian Finney-Smith had 20 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double, KeVaughn Allen added 19 points and Florida beat Mississippi State 81-78 Tuesday night.
WEST POINT -- Ken Dill has matured as a basketball player. After missing the first eight games of the season due to an ankle injury he suffered playing football, the Oak Hill Academy point guard's maturity has helped him be everything and more for coach Brian Middleton this season. Dill showed his understanding of the game and his role Tuesday night to help Oak Hill Academy beat No. 4 Columbus Christian Academy 57-51 Tuesday night in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AA, District 2 game.
Two coaches took different approaches in an attempt to find the same ingredient Tuesday night. In the first game, Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt opted not to raise her voice when she talked to her team after Heritage Academy built an 11-point halftime lead. Instead, Schmidt decided to do something atypical -- she sat down. She then laid out her plan of attack. In the nightcap, Starkville Academy boys basketball coach Bruce Allsup invoked a higher power in a spirited halftime speech after he watched Heritage Academy outhustle his team and take a 10-point advantage into intermission. The different approaches delivered the same result.
AUBURN, Ala. -- Cinmeon Bowers muscled his way to rebounds and baskets, with a splash of outside shooting to get him going. Kareem Canty fired up shots from long range on a gimpy right ankle. The combination was enough to propel the Auburn men's basketball team to its second-straight big win, 83-77 against Alabama on Tuesday night.
1. Player of Week: Rogers helps fuel success for Columbus Lady Falcons HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. New Hope rolls past West Point to complete region play HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. MSU begins homestand by facing Arkansas COLLEGE SPORTS