STARKVILLE -- Statistics don't lie.
Curtaves Latham is the epitome of a tweener. At a solid 6-foot-1, the New Hope High School junior can go inside and bang with bigger bodies. But, like many post players, Latham likes to stray out to the 3-point line and launch a shot or two.
JACKSON -- Starkville Academy Athletic Director Glenn Schmidt said it best when she met her school's boys basketball coach in the hallway at Hillcrest Christian School. After a 56-41 victory in the first round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II tournament Tuesday night, Schmidt wanted Mark Alexander to appreciate the moment.
JACKSON -- Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt said it's a "pleasure" to coach a veteran team focused on defending three championships. Starkville Academy took the first step in that journey Tuesday night with a 74-18 victory against Lee Academy in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II, Class tournament at Hillcrest Christian School.
BATESVILLE -- The Columbus High School boys basketball team got exactly the type of game it wanted. In an opening-round matchup at the Class 6A, Region 2 tournament, the Falcons were engrossed in a physical, defensive struggle. So many times this season, Sammy Smith's squad excelled when defense was key and every stop proved critical. On Tuesday, though, Columbus saw its season end with a 46-40 loss to Grenada at the South Panola High.
BATESVILLE -- Columbus High School girls basketball coach Yvonne Hairston knew the pressure of the moment was getting to her squad. Hairston never panicked, though, because she believed her troops would persevere and come through in the end. After first-half struggles, Columbus pulled away to a 60-41 victory against Grenada in an opening-round game of the Class 6A, Region 2 tournament at South Panola High.
"Painful." That's the easiest and fastest way for D.J. Sanders and Moesha Calmes to describe their collision Jan. 18 in a game at West Point High School. But as much as the New Hope High juniors can look back on the incident and smile because they are feeling like themselves, they admit it was an experience they never saw coming or want to experience again.
Brandon Brown has seen a lot of progress in seven seasons at Columbus High School. Now that he is moving on, Brown can look to the Columbus High powerlifting team's most recent meet and know he has played a part in the program's move into the upper echelon of Class 6A. That success also has played a key role in the ability of the school's football team to compete in one of the state's toughest regions and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
There are a lot of ways to honor seniors in their final regular-season home games.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School quarterback Gabe Myles was part of a recruiting battle like many other talented seniors. However, Myles' recruitment didn't end with any drama Wednesday morning, as he signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division I football at Mississippi State University.
MACON -- Even though he was a wide-eyed seventh-grader, Dylan Bradley thought his Noxubee County junior high football coach Tyrone Shorter was a little nuts.
Kasey Stanfield doesn't mind working overtime. She also won't hesitate to haunt New Hope High School's Lady Trojan Field long after practice has ended to work on her game. Being part of the "Fantastic Four" with classmates Lauren Holifield, her sister, Erin Stanfield, and Ashley Reed helped make the extra hours playing softball on Friday and Saturday nights so special.
Columbus High School football coach Tony Stanford sees the growth in his program. This past season, the Falcons advanced to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North State playoffs out of one of the state toughest districts.
WEST POINT -- Chris Chambless understand the value of tradition. As much as he knows hard work has been a cornerstone of the West Point High School football program's seven state championships, he also knows players like to see tangible examples of how they will be rewarded for their investment.
James Clark and M.J. Hamrick are proof that word of mouth can travel any distance. It's safe to assume both players would have attracted plenty of interest from other schools in the state of Mississippi, but Northwest Mississippi Community College Mark Carson took the recommendations of several Mississippi Association of Independent Schools coaches who have played against Clark, Hamrick, and the Heritage Academy baseball team the past two seasons to add two prospects to his program.
Trae Collins didn't know where football was going to take him. As a standout on the New Hope High School football team for the past two seasons, Collins was confident he was going to get an opportunity, but he couldn't help feeling a little doubt when he didn't receive a bounty of offers.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy senior Tiffany Huddleston has always enjoyed soccer. The opportunity to play college soccer in her hometown is an added bonus.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy boys basketball coach Mark Alexander likes his team's chance in a close game. Starkville Academy once again proved calm under pressure Tuesday night as it defeated Heritage Academy 46-40 in another down-to-the-wire game.
The New Hope High School girls basketball team nearly has all its parts back together. The trick now will be to get everyone on the same page in time for a postseason run.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy junior Sallie Kate Richardson rang in the New Year in what her coach called a "slight shooting slump."
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