Sammy Smith loves a challenge. That’s part of the reason why he and the rest of the Columbus High School basketball coaches enjoy all of the details that go into playing host to one of the state’s best holiday tournaments.
CARROLLTON, Ala. — Catherine Johnson had double the motivation. First, the 5-foot-7 senior point guard wanted to erase the memory of a 4-of-11 shooting effort from the free-throw line against Central Academy on Friday night.
CRAWFORD -- East Oktibbeha High School girls basketball coach Randy Brooks has accepted it will be a learning process for his team this season. That’s why a win like the one the Lady Titans got Saturday night put a smile on his face. It was almost not a happy situation. After jumping out to a 20-point lead in the first half of its game against rival West Oktibbeha High School, East Oktibbeha held on for a 52-51 victory.
Immanuel Christian coach Billy Thomas got something more out of a pair of underclassmen during Thursday night’s game against Starkville Christian School. Sophomore Ross Moore had 17 points to lead the Rams and junior Justin James added 12 points to defeat the visiting Cougars 50-44. James had a pair of baskets and two free throws to get the fourth quarter started, then Moore had five-straight points to give Immanuel a 39-35 lead with 4 minutes and 16 minutes remaining in the game.
Nineteen local prep football players and one coach were honored earlier this week when the Mississippi Association of Coaches announced its All-State teams. Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state champion West Point and Class 3A runner-up Aberdeen led the way with five players recognized. West Point High’s Chris Chambless was chosen MAC Coach of the Year for guiding the Green Wave (14-1) past Wayne County 35-14 on Saturday for the school’s sixth state title.
MACON –– Ferris McGuire poured in a game-high 26 points Thursday night to lead the Central Academy boys basketball team past Russell Christian 53-48. Central Academy (2-4) trailed 33-26 at halftime before outscoring Russell Christian 13-4 in the third quarter and 14-11 in the fourth. McGuire was followed in scoring by Chris Newman with nine points, Cole Newman with six and Rowdy Rigdon with five.
STARKVILLE — East Mississippi Community College football coach Buddy Stephens couldn’t help sneaking a peak at the Starkville High School highlight video Wednesday night before sitting down for his meal.
The Pickens Academy boys basketball will have a chance to add a trophy to its school’s display case for the second-consecutive weekend when it plays host to its tournament. Pickens County, which won the Southern Academy Tournament in Greensboro, Ala., last weekend, will play host to the tournament Friday and Saturday.
Bill Lee and Pat Byrd weren’t going to run and hide from losing records. Their decisions to leave Starkville and Amory high schools, respectively, were difficult despite what was perceived as the poor status of their programs. The coaches will now move on to other challenges. Lee has decided to retire and spend more time in the ministry and his family, while Byrd will try to resurrect the program at Saltillo High.
HAMILTON –– Tyler White poued in 18 points Tuesday to lead the Heritage Academy boys basketball team past Hamilton High School 56-45. Will West scored 12 points and Hunter Brown scored 11 for Heritage Academy (5-3). n Heritage Academy 63, Hamilton 21 (G): At Hamilton, Christibeth Nelson scored 13 points to help the Lady Patriots beat the Lady Lions. Joanna West scored 10 points and Madison Ford scored nine for Heritage Academy (4-7).
MACON — T.J. Billups had moments of relative relaxation doing double duty Tuesday night. Unfortunately, periods of aggravated twitching, frustrated twisting, and agitated standing ruined what could have been an overly satisfying evening for the Noxubee County High girls and boys basketball coach. Jeraldine Campbell scored 17 of her game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter to help the Noxubee County girls pull away and defeat West Point 55-49.
ABERDEEN — The Aberdeen and Starkville high school basketball teams split a varsity doubleheader here Tuesday evening in the Roy E. Hazzle Gymnasium. In a marquee matchup that was supposed to feature two unbeaten girls teams led by a pair of high-profile scorers, Aberdeen’s Dayana McGee came up with a clutch rebound and Regina Barker popped in a buzzer-beating layup to steal the spotlight from their more celebrated teammate and give the Lady Bulldogs a 64-62 triumph — their sixth straight win of the season. The nightcap didn’t bode as well for the recently re-stocked Bulldogs, however, as Aberdeen stalled in the third quarter and dropped a 67-49 decision to the Yellow Jackets in coach Roy Hazzle’s first game in the newly named gymnasium.
WEST POINT — Faith is an integral part of Michael Carr’s life. Without it, there’s no telling where Carr would be today. One thing is for sure, though, Carr wouldn’t have been on the field in Jackson on Saturday helping the West Point High School football team win a state title if he didn’t believe in God.
ABERDEEN — Charles Davison picked the right time this weekend to make his first trip to Aberdeen. Davison, who lives in Atlanta, was one of more than 300 friends, family members, and citizens on hand Sunday at Aberdeen High School to attend the dedication of the Aberdeen High School gymnasium in the name of boys basketball coach Roy Hazzle. The gym, formerly known as the “Aberdome,” will now be known as the Roy E. Hazzle Gymnasium.
JACKSON - Thirteen proved to be a lucky number for the West Point High School football team. Denied a touchdown on a 12-play drive that ultimately fizzled out on the opposing 14, the Green Wave shook it off on their next drive and went 13 plays. Lakenderic Thomas' 9-yard run on first down was the spark West Point needed Saturday to take the lead and go on to a 35-14 victory in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
JACKSON - Michael Carr doesn't covet glory. The West Point High School senior believes too much in God to believe the Green Wave's success on the football field is because of only him. But the standout wide receiver showed Saturday night why he is one of the state's top difference-makers.
JACKSON – It took only 2 minutes, 47 seconds for the Aberdeen High School football team to leave Tylertown shell-shocked. The Chiefs needed only 11 seconds before halftime to deliver a counter punch that ultimately proved to be even more devastating. Jameon Lewis’ 75-yard touchdown pass to Ken Brown with 15 seconds to go before halftime shifted the momentum and was part of a run of 34 unanswered points that propelled Tylertown to a 34-20 victory in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A state title game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
JACKSON – A ball-control offense and a play-making quarterback proved to be a potent one-two punch Saturday for the Tylertown High School football team. But the ability of the Chiefs’ defense to regroup after falling behind 20-0 to Aberdeen in the first quarter of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A state title game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium proved to be the final piece to a championship puzzle. The Chiefs (15-0) held the Bulldogs (13-3) to 83 yards in the second half and ripped off 34 unanswered points to pull an improbable comeback.
Pat Byrd enjoyed his 19 years being a football coach at Amory High School. When Lee County School Superintendent Mike Scott first contacted Byrd about coaching the Saltillo High School football team a few days before Thanksgiving, Byrd wasn’t ready to leave Amory. Scott called him again a few days later during the Thanksgiving break and the persistence paid off. Byrd felt he owed it to himself to give it some thought. He came to the conclusion that a change wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Johnathan Brandon scored 20 points Saturday to help the New Hope High School boys basketball team beat Madison Central 65-45 at home and remain undefeated. Hank Washington scored 12 points and Jeremy Byrd, Davis Lee and Raymond Walters scored eight points each for New Hope (9-0). The next game for New Hope is against Kosciusko at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Ackerman Tournament.
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