REFORM, Ala. –– Friday afternoon was one time Russ Wallace didn’t mind seeing a police officer turn on his blue squad lights. The Pickens County High School boys basketball coach and his team received a police escort home after winning the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state championship Thursday night. Pickens County won its first state championship in school history when it beat Houston County 88-86 in triple overtime at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham, Ala.
Down 0-2 in the count, Christian Dale didn’t have any wiggle room. With the suicide squeeze bunt on and a pitch coming high and tight, Avery Ford had little margin for error. On both occasions, the Falcons executed. As a result, the Columbus High School baseball team found the sparks it needed to earn its first victory of the season. Dale’s two-run single and Ford’s successful bunt were part of a five-run fifth inning Saturday that helped Columbus rally for a 12-6 victory against Caledonia in the final game of the Columbus Classic at Columbus High’s Sammy Fletcher Field. Both plays were crucial parts of a four-hit inning that helped the Falcons (1-1) erase a 6-5 deficit and rebound from a 6-2 loss to Shannon on Friday night.
The West Point High School baseball team has only played two games, but coach Buddy Wyers already knows one thing that could be a key element to any success the team has this season. The ability of West Point to develop a short-term memory and play consistently crystallized for Wyers on Saturday as he watched his team commit six errors and strike out 13 times in a 10-5 loss to Alcorn Central in the Columbus Classic at Columbus High. “We struggled offensively,” Wyers said. “We had a couple of hits that were key hits, but we have way too many guys who can run to be standing up there striking out. You put the ball in play and you make them get you out.” The loss came on the heels of a 5-0 victory against Shannon on Friday in which Damichael Brown delivered a strong starting effort on the mound in the season opener.
Chad Williams was wearing his hat out. A tug here. another tug there. Soon the hat was off the Amory High School baseball coach’s head. It didn’t take long for Williams to start jawing with his players and pacing the dugout like he was West Lauderdale coach Jerry Boatner. Williams couldn’t help but think back to last season when New Hope capped a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with a bases-loaded walk to beat Amory 12-11.
STARKVILLE — Four years ago, Starkville High School’s girls powerlifiting team had just a few members. But just like any upstart program, time and results can build a program toward winning championships. The Lady Jackets are a perfect example of what patience and persistence can do in a short span of time. Starkville coach Leonardo Thompson has led the program since its inception and has seen the year-to-year growth as more girls become interested in staying fit and having an outlet for competition.
Cameron Newman isn’t all about soccer. The Columbus High School senior loves the game, but he also knows the importance of getting a quality education. Newman has his sights set on majoring in psychology, and he knows Meridian Community College’s reputation as one of the state’s top junior colleges would help him take his first step toward realizing that goal. It doesn’t hurt that Newman also will get a chance to play soccer at MCC.
MERIDIAN — The New Hope High School fast-pitch softball team started its season in style Saturday. Empress Shirley went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in her first varsity start in game one, and Lauren Holifield and Anna Holley had three RBIs in game two to lead New Hope past South Jones 18-8 and Yazoo County 16-0 at the Northeast Lauderdale Pre-Season Tournament. Shirley had a single and a triple at designated player for New Hope (2-0). Holifield, who earned the victory in the five-inning game, was 1-for-2 with three walks. Holley (2-for-3), Haley Tutor (1-for-5), D.J. Ferguson (1-for-4), Kasey Stanfield (sacrifice fly), Rachel Rhoades (2-for-4, two RBIs), Anna McCrary (1-for-3, RBI), and Jessica Moore (2-for-4, double, four RBIs) also contributed to the hitting attack.
STARKVILLE — History couldn’t be made on the road. It just wouldn’t have been right for Humphrey Coliseum to miss out on an NCAA record being broken. Mississippi State forward Jarvis Varnado needed eight blocked shots Wednesday to set a NCAA record, and he registered that total to pass former Louisiana-Monroe center Wojciech Myrda with an all-time mark of 536.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Pickens County High School boys basketball team can make school history tonight when it takes the court at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. Pickens County, of Reform, Ala., will attempt to win its first state championship when it plays Houston County at 8 p.m. in the Class 2A championship game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Final 48 State Tournament.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State women’s basketball team can be thankful it is a member of the Southeastern Conference. But the parity in the league that its coaches have praised so much this season just might prove to the undoing of the Lady Bulldogs.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Russ Wallace believes in miracles. The Pickens County High School boys basketball coach is a believer after watching his team earn an improbable victory on the state’s biggest stage.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — One big hop is all Mary Kathryn Govero needs. When Govero is in rhythm and “feeling it,” she typically steps into her outside shot with a jump that gives her balance and allows her to get maximum lift. Thursday was one of those nights.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State University women’s track team will try this weekend to cap a stellar indoor season with a pair of league titles at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships.
SCOOBA — In a classic championship contest between regular-season division champions, the No. 12 East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball team dropped a 61-58 decision to No. 25 Pearl River C.C. on Thursday in the men’s title game of the EMCC-hosted MACJC State Basketball Tournament at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State Athletic Strength and Conditioning Department will hold its first clinic March 12 to educate coaches and trainers on technological advancements and new methods of building better athletes.
Today marks the start of a hopeful rise or fearful plunge in National Football League draft stock for more than 300 former amateur athletes. A pair of former Mississippi State Bulldogs have some work to do if they want to become the program’s first draft picks since 2007.
STARKVILLE — Down, but not out. That seems to be a theme for the Mississippi State University baseball team this season. For the third time in four games, MSU overcame a deficit, this time thanks to Luke Adkins and Connor Powers, who hit back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 6-5 victory against the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Tuesday night.
STARKVILLE — Apparently everyone in the Mississippi State University men’s basketball camp is fine with the lineup the Bulldogs use and when they use it. So long as the team is winning. In the past two games, the Bulldogs (19-8, 7-5 Southeastern Conference) have started a “big” lineup with Jarvis Varnado, Kodi Augustus and Romero Osby across the front line.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Deion Curry wasn’t going to let anything keep him from helping the Pickens County High School boys basketball team make it to its first state championship game in 39 years. The junior guard overcame being involved in a collision Tuesday to help Pickens County beat Sand Rock 59-54 in the Class 2A semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Final 48 State Tournament at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
Sports never follow a plan. If they did, Chris Hamm’s speech Saturday following the title game of the Alabama Christian Education Athletic Association Division I State Tournament would have praised the players for their effort and convinced them that the 2010-11 season was theirs to win a championship.
1. Howland completes first coaching staff at MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Prescott embraces return to football practice COLLEGE SPORTS
3. MSU looks to build on historic women's basketball season COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU baseball begins weekend with shutout losses to Auburn COLLEGE SPORTS