ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Channing Ward waited to make his college decision until he was on stage with some of the nation's top players. The wait didn't provide a shocker of an ending, though, as the Aberdeen High School standout announced he will play football at the University of Mississippi in the fall.
Brad Butler has been around football long enough to understand the importance of wins and losses. He just didn't think the hunger for wins that drives coaching carousels in college and in the NFL had become so pervasive that it had woven its way into high school athletics. But Butler learned Dec. 20 that his inability to lead the Heritage Academy football team to more victories cost him and offensive coordinator/junior high football coach Steve Morgan their jobs.
Disappointing would be an understatement in describing the last time the Columbus High School girls basketball team took the floor. After a 41-point loss at Hattiesburg, Columbus got the feel-good feeling back, rolling past Noxubee County 73-27 Tuesday night at home. In the nightcap, the Columbus boys held for a 60-59 victory against Noxubee County.
Yandell Harris sees the potential. Now the Heritage Academy boys basketball coach wants to see the effort. If both of those things are present at the same time, the veteran coach believes the Patriots can come together and have a chance to make a postseason run. After receiving a pick-me-up halftime speech from Harris, Heritage Academy took its coach's encouragement to the court and pulled away for a 52-22 victory against Pickens Academy. In the girls game, Elisabeth Hankins had 17 points and Corey Dawkins added 16 to lead Pickens Academy to a 45-37 win.
STARKVILLE -- A recent labor dispute between NBA players and owners forced the league to settle for a compressed schedule that requires some teams to play five games in one week. That kind of workload doesn't faze the East Oktibbeha County High School boys basketball team.
STARKVILLE -- When Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter started drawing up the first Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump tournament, Friday's game was what he wanted. Rarely challenged in the first two months of the season, the top-ranked Yellow Jackets brought in three highly touted out-of-state opponents. Carter wanted to see how his players responded in pressure-packed situations against top-notched competition.
STARKVILLE -- The New Hope High School boys basketball team had few answers offensively Friday afternoon in a 50-41 loss to Jackson Olin (Ala.) in a final-round game at the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump tournament. New Hope (7-5) started slowly and never got its transition game going. The Trojans had only four field goals in the first quarter and trailed throughout the contest.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School has outscored its opponents 133-72 thus far in the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump high school basketball tournament. Thursday night, the Yellow Jackets continued their tear, defeating Carroll High School (La.) 59-45. The night before Starkville routed Strong (Ark.), 74-27.
STARKVILLE -- In the inaugural Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump holiday basketball tournament there are no plans for a slam dunk contest. Don't tell that to the Starkville Yellow Jackets. They broke out their own dunk competition during Wednesday night's 74-27 romp over Strong, Ark., in an opening-round tournament game played at Humphrey Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi State University.
STARKVILLE -- Aberdeen enjoyed a brilliant first half of basketball Wednesday in the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump high school basketball tournament. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Mathew Butler then found the range from downtown. Butler hit four 3-point baskets in the second quarter as East High (Memphis, Tenn.) erased a 12-point first-half deficit to take an 80-73 win over Aberdeen at Humphrey Coliseum.
STEENS -- Immanuel Christian defeated Hatley High School Wednesday afternoon 46-33 in the Immanuel Christmas Classic. The Lady Rams also came away with a victory beating Winona Christian 23-16.
STEENS -- Immanuel Christian posted all victories on the boys side of the opening round of the ICCE Christmas Tournament Tuesday. The Rams raced past Tupelo Christian Academy and Kosciusko, while the junior high Rams beat the Scott Flames.
STARKVILLE -- One of Starkville's native sons will spread holiday cheer - basketball style - this week. The Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at The Hump, hosted by Starkville High, tips off with four games set for today in the Humphrey Coliseum on the Mississippi State University campus.
At football camps and combines, Columbus High School running back Damian Baker and Noxubee County wide receiver Terrence Barron have never worried about looking good on a scale or for a tape measure. For The Dispatch co-Offensive Players of the Year, it is about producing on the field and making opponents regret dismissing them at first glance.
STARKVILLE -- Jamie Mitchell and Jeff Terrill are responsible for putting high school football in the city of Starkville at the front of the line in the state of Mississippi.
Eric Rogers will remember a lot about his final football season at Starkville High School. His favorite moment was Monday mornings at school after a victory. It was a unique feeling he had been waiting three years to experience.
Billy Thomas and Immanuel Christian did such a good job organizing the school's first Christmas basketball tournament that this year's event came together quickly.
The smile lights up the gym. Marcus Sims dribbles the basketball to the corner of the court and launches a 3-pointer. He moves to greet a visitor before returning to the court to join Anthony Sharp in an impromptu game of one-on-one.
JACKSON -- The Mississippi State men's basketball team proved Thursday night in the state capital that size matters. Against a scrappy opponent in its annual trip to the Mississippi Coliseum, No. 18 MSU used its significant height and physical advantage to cruise to a 82-67 victory against Northwestern State.
ABERDEEN -- Chris Duncan has fully served his year -- and then some. What began as a one-year commitment to coach the Aberdeen High School football team has turned into a five-year gig. In that time, Duncan has helped re-build a program that won one game in the two previous seasons and has elevated it into a perennial state title contender.
1. Lessons learned helped Coggin earn promotion COLLEGE SPORTS