WEST POINT -- Tori Ellis isn't the loudest person on the Oak Hill Academy girls basketball team. The multi-sport standout also isn't the most aggressive player on the squad. But the senior guard understands the urgency or her final prep basketball season and how her teammates look to her to set the tone.
JACKSON -- The Class 5A North State boys basketball championship trophy will stay in Jackson in 2012. Even without its leading scorer Malik Newman, the Callaway High School boys basketball team used an emphatic second-half run to beat Starkville 59-48 just 10 days before both teams head to the state finals at the Mississippi Coliseum.
When the Heritage Academy boys basketball team needed a lift Saturday night, junior David Hardy was ready to answer the call. After big man Bobby McGrath landed in early foul trouble, Hardy saw extended playing time and delivered in a 67-59 loss to Washington School in the third-place game of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II tournament in Columbus.
Don't lose focus if Tiffany Huddleston is guarding you. If you look away or leave the ball unprotected for an instant, the Starkville Academy junior is liable to poke it away and race to the other end and score. Few athletes can do that on the soccer field and on the basketball court. But Huddleston's ability to round back into All-State form is just another reason why the Starkville Academy girls basketball team can say today it is a champion.
The Starkville boys basketball team have guaranteed themselves an opportunity to play for the Class 5A state championship. After a dominating 82-67 victory over Provine High School Friday night in the Class 5A North Half semifinals at Forrest Hill High School, the Yellow Jackets avenged a regular season loss and showcased the talents of one of the state's premier players.
Despite five first half three pointers, Heritage Academy fell to Hillcrest Academy 67-47 in the semifinal round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II Tournament Friday night.
Perfection would be an assist on every basket. Glenn Schmidt has been coaching long enough to know that's probably not going to happen, but that hasn't stopped the Starkville Academy girls basketball team from insisting her players look to make one more pass.
This wasn't the way it was supposed to end.
The next step is finally here. Kierra Erby vividly remembers the emotions she and her Columbus High School girls basketball teammates felt last season when their season ended with a loss to Northwest Rankin in the Class 6A North State tournament. Erby and the Lady Falcons don't want their to be any crying tonight.
Brad Dickey was going to do everything he could to help extend the season for the Heritage Academy boys basketball team. Dickey would have preferred to have played an inside-outside game with center Bobby McGrath against Copiah Academy on Wednesday night, but the senior guard showed he can adapt to changing situations. With McGrath saddled with foul trouble, Dickey scored 14 points in the first half to help the Patriots build what appeared to be a safe, double-digit lead.
There are scorers and shooters. There are defensive stoppers and rebounders. Then there is the glue. Good teams can win with some of those ingredients, but championship squads need some glue. April Burney enjoys playing multiple jobs for the Starkville Academy girls basketball team.
Oak Hill Academy girls basketball coach Stan Hughey believes Class AA academy basketball is the deepest it has ever been. Fortunately, Hughey also feels his club can compete with any of those teams. Oak Hill Academy will begin its second season at 4 p.m. today when it takes on Prairie View (La.) Academy in the quarterfinals of the North AA tournament at North Delta School in Batesville.
East Oktibbeha County High School girls basketball coach Pam Roberts feels like her team is peaking at the right time. Fresh off a Class 1A-Region 5 championship and an opening-round playoff win against Piney Woods, East Oktibbeha will resume its postseason quest at 4 p.m. today against Pelahatchie at Stringer High in the South State quarterfinals.
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School boys basketball team sent a message to the rest of the teams in Class 5A that the slow-down offense won't work against it. Starkville built a 12-0 lead in the first quarter and rolled to a 77-33 victory against Lake Cormorant on Tuesday in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State tournament.
WEST POINT -- On Valentine's Day, there was hardly any love in the West Point High School gymnasium. Between the lines, the visiting Provine High School boys basketball team defeated West Point 67-48 in a Mississippi High School Activities Association first-round Class 5A North State tournament game. While there was an intense, physical nature to the game, an equally compelling storyline was the passion in the stands, which forced play to be halted three times, including once after a fight in the visitors section.
Cody Crawford wanted the ball in his hands. One game after being the focus of attention in a box-and-one defense, the West Lowndes High School standout relished an opportunity with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation to win a game. Crawford just didn't know he would get that chance at the free-throw line a little more than a second later.
The future begins today. Yandell Harris believes the Heritage Academy girls basketball team can challenge for the top spot in the North Half. For the Lady Patriots to accomplish that goal, Harris said his players will have to learn from a 40-23 loss to Hillcrest Christian on Tuesday in the first round of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II tournament in Columbus.
The Starkville High School girls basketball season ended Tuesday with a 62-59 loss at Center Hill in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State tournament.
STARKVILLE - Gavin Ware knows what it is like to sit on the bench and watch his teammates try to win playoff games without him. The Starkville High senior center is using the helpless feeling he endured last year after he suffered a severe knee injury before the beginning of the Class 6A postseason.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Wade Goodman admits he demands a lot from his players. A year ago, the teamwork and selflessness Goodman asks of his Pickens Academy girls basketball team were tough to adjust to. The transition from Alabama Independent School Association Class AA champion in 2010 to rebuilding team in 2011 was difficult enough.
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