STARKVILLE — The time to find solutions is running out. Two-game losing streaks in January don’t ruin a season’s worth of work. But when your ultimate goal is to get back to the NCAA tournament, losing skids at this time of the season can be devastating. The Mississippi State women’s basketball team is in danger of allowing back-to-back losses to become something greater. The Lady Bulldogs (12-7, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) will try to prevent that from happening at 2 p.m. today when they play at Vanderbilt (14-5, 3-3).
STARKVILLE — All the Starkville High School basketball teams need is energy and a little patience. The boys and girls teams showed Friday just how important intensity and effort will be to the rest of their seasons in two drastically different results. In the boys game, the Yellow Jackets had revenge as their motivation, and they didn’t disappoint. Rashad Perkins scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Gavin Ware added 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Starkville past Tupelo 69-54.
GORDO, Ala. –– Nick Stewart made six 3-point field goals and scored 24 points Saturday to lead the Pickens County Tornadoes past Gordo 69-59 in the championship game of the Pickens County Tournament. The win was the 12th in a row for Pickens County (18-1). Also scoring in double figures for Pickens County was Deion Curry with 17 points.
STARKVILLE — Maybe this one will start a trend. The quality of play on display Saturday in the Starkville High-Starkville Academy boys soccer match at the Starkville Sportsplex certainly deserves a second chance. The fans and players are entitled to another meeting next season based solely on the result: a 2-2 tie that should help both teams prepare for the postseason.
OXFORD — Digging and clawing are two reasons the Ole Miss and Mississippi State women’s basketball teams are going in opposite directions. On one end, Shantell Black and Kayla Melson attacked the rim with purpose and Nikki Byrd wouldn’t be denied on the backboards. On the other, MSU continued to start and stop, sputtering between turnovers and missed opportunities with a cautiousness not welcome in the Southeastern Conference.
Kaleb Eulls became a hero in his hometown last year. Mississippi State could be ready to give Eulls a hero’s welcome in three weeks.
STARKVILLE — Alexis Rack tells it like it is. The Mississippi State senior guard doesn’t mind direct questions because she will be very honest with her feelings about her play and the team’s performance.
Bianca Thomas wants the basketball in her hands, even if it is against a professional. Thomas’ confidence that she can deliver for the University of Mississippi women’s basketball team stems in part from the work she does daily in practice against former Rebel and current WNBA standout Armintie Price.
Sometimes the coaching carousel in college football can spin out of control. In just one week, the University of Tennessee lost head coach Lane Kiffin, was turned down twice, and hired Derek Dooley. The Volunteers found an abrupt change can make for a very uncomfortable situation.
The Sulligent High School girls basketball team expects to be well rested when it plays host to the Lamar County Tournament. Sulligent hasn’t played since Friday and doesn’t take the court again until it plays in the championship game of the tournament Saturday.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State athletic officials are investigating an alleged incident involving football recruits during the first official weekend of visits. It has been reported that a small number of recruits may have visited an adult establishment in Clay County. MSU football team spokesman Joe Galbraith released a statement Tuesday afternoon concerning the incident.
West Point High School’s Curtis Virges can fill a lane on the basketball court. At 6-foot-3, 275 pounds, Virges can be a pretty imposing figure to drive to the basket against. Although he enjoys giving what he can to the West Point basketball team, Virges has more than just hoops on his mind. Virges can’t wait for Feb. 3, when he can officially sign a football scholarship with Mississippi State.
Give Mark White a chance and he could talk about John Harris all day. The East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball coach has nothing but good things to say about the sophomore guard from Starkville. White said Harris has been instrumental in helping the Lions to a 14-3 record this season.
STARKVILLE — Starkville Academy interim baseball coach Shane Bazzell was being held in the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center Tuesday on charges of felony grand larceny. Bazzell was arrested Jan. 15 by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly stealing an all-terrain vehicle. No further details were available. Grand larceny entails the unlawful taking of over $500 in property. Bazzell was suspended indefinitely by Starkville Academy Jan. 17. The school released a statement from Headmaster Doc Stephens stating: “As would be the case with any employee, he will be suspended indefinitely until definitive information is acquired.” Starkville Academy assistant baseball coach Neal Henry has taken over as interim head coach for Bazzell.
CALEDONIA — Things were set up perfectly for the Caledonia High School boys soccer team. A victory in a penalty kick shootout at Amory High last week gave Caledonia the inside track on clinching the Class 4A, Division 3, District 1 title. But Morgan Mansfield has coached long enough to know that nothing in sports is guaranteed. In fact, Mansfield was concerned Monday after a lackluster practice that the Confederates wouldn’t be mentally prepared to deliver the same kind of focused effort they turned in at Amory High.
Ever since playing in his first match at the age of 4, Houston Walker has enjoyed playing soccer. He enjoyed playing in Columbus and Tupelo recreation soccer leagues and for six years as a member of the Columbus High School soccer team. With his high school career nearly completed, Walker will get to continue to play the sport he enjoys next season in college. Walker’s future came into focus Tuesday when he signed a scholarship to play soccer at Itawamba Community College in Fulton.
STARKVILLE -- Shay Bonner made four-of-four free throws in the final 15 seconds as the Starkville High School’s girls basketball team defeated rival West Point 60-53 on Tuesday night. After the Lady Yellow Jackets (13-4) took leads of 12-10 after the first quarter and 24-21 at halftime, the Lady Green Wave wrestled the advantage away to their favor at 40-39 after the third quarter. Bonner (12 points) made a basket with 1 minute and 20 seconds remaining in the game to break a 51-51 tie and then she made the free throws at the end to ice it.
Having the last name of Favre carries a great deal of weight in the football world. It’s a unique name that became very well known when Brett Favre, a quarterback from Kiln in south Mississippi, emerged as a Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner for the Green Bay Packers. Brett’s career continued Sunday as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, who beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-3 to earn a spot in the National Football Conference championship game. Another quarterback in south Mississippi with the last name of Favre is looking to make name for himself.
The Mississippi State men’s basketball team received two pieces of good news Monday. After bolting to a 3-0 start in Southeastern Conference play to lead the Western Division and winning 12 of its last 13 games, MSU is back in the Associated Press Top 25 at No. 23. Senior center Jarvis Varnado also was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week
STARKVILLE — Assists are just as good as goals to Frankie Jones. If pushed to give a preference, Jones isn’t going to deny he enjoys scoring goals a little bit more. But you wouldn’t know it by Jones’ performance so far this season. The Starkville Academy senior forward/midfielder notched four goals and four assists to help the Volunteers close the week with victories against Heritage Academy and Magnolia Heights. Jones’ efforts helped Starkville Academy improve to 7-0 on the season. For his accomplishments, Jones is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.