STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School baseball coach Danny Carlisle isn't sure how good his team will be this season, but he won't have to worry about players giving maximum effort. The Yellow Jackets have six starting positions open, and they must find a replacement for The Dispatch All-Area Large Schools Player of the Year R.J. Johnson, who led the team in ERA, batting average, and home runs.
Don't underestimate the bounce. After missing the first of two free throws with four seconds remaining, KeKe Patterson wasn't about to buy into the hype.
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School fast-pitch softball team won six games last season to take a major step forward. Third-year Starkville coach Mimi Milling's job now is to make sure the wheels keep turning. In the past, Milling hasn't had experienced seniors who are used to her style of coaching. She has witnessed players leave the program and has struggled to find a dedicated core to lay a solid foundation. With eight seniors this season, she thinks double-digit wins and a trip to the playoffs are within reach.
Rachel Hollivay is getting better every day. Even though the Heritage Academy junior admits she isn't 100 percent, her ability to affect a game still remains high.
MABEN -- A 35-point effort by forward Kendrin Yates and a well executed full-court press pushed the West Oktibbeha County High School boys basketball team to a 68-63 victory against Shaw in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A North State tournament.
CRAWFORD -- A team with twice as many losses as wins is bound to have shaky moments. For much of the season, the East Oktibbeha County High School boys basketball team had too many to win consistently.
ABERDEEN -- Absent its usually potent outside game, the Aberdeen High School boys basketball team looked inside for its scoring punch Tuesday night.
WEST POINT -- The West Point High School girls basketball team's season ended Monday with a 67-48 loss to Indianola Gentry in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State tournament.
GREENWOOD -- Christibeth Nelson had 13 points Monday night, but the Heritage Academy girls basketball team lost to Pillow Academy 50-35 in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA, Division II tournament.
STARKVILLE -- Without injured starters Gavin Ware and Jacolby Mobley, Starkville High School basketball fans might have been unsure of what to expect in Friday's district championship against rival Tupelo. The Golden Wave already owned two wins -- by a combined three points -- against the Yellow Jackets in regular season play.
WEST POINT -- A nine-point halftime deficit is an anthill to the Oxford High School girls basketball team. After losing twice to Oxford in the regular season, Kelsei Ewings knew the Chargers were going to ratchet up their full-court pressure defense a few notches, so she challenged teammate NeKeisha Walker.
WEST POINT -- If you're going to play fast, it's crucial to play smart. Each mistake -- forced or unforced -- gets magnified when you're up against an equally talented opponent that can match your athleticism.
Don't underestimate the power of a layup. There probably is some statistical analysis that will prove a team can score more points if it shoots more 3-pointers at a certain percentage than two-point field goals in a game.
ABERDEEN -- Everything Fred Ward does this school year is infectious. On the football field, the standout defensive linemen emerged as a valuable team leader who helped guide Aberdeen High School to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A title game for the second season in a row.
STARKVILLE -- After two weeks without a game, the Columbus High School girls basketball team expected some rust. Against rival Starkville High in the opening game of the Class 6A, Division 2, District 4 tournament, they expected a fight.
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School boys basketball team beat Columbus to set up its much-anticipated district tile clash against Tupelo. How Starkville arrived there wasn't how coach Greg Carter drew it up. The Yellow Jackets extended a six-point halftime lead into a 56-39 win in the opening-round of the Class 6A, Division 2, District 4 tournament.
WEST POINT -- There was no doubt in the mind of Laquintis Robertson. Yes, there was a foul. Yes, the official's whistle caught it with time left on the clock. And yes, Robertson was going to do his part. Unfazed by a timeout called to ice him, Robertson drained the first two of three free throws and then walked calmly to the sideline after another timeout.
WEST POINT -- Wilma Davis can shoot the basketball. Wilma Davis can shoot the ball so well that she sometimes camps out in either corner and settles for a shot on the first pass that comes her way. For all of you who thought Davis was only a shooter, think again.
Matt Sykes looks like a goalkeeper With a red bandana, fluorescent lime green jersey -- stained through from plenty of dives on the sopping turf, and a hyperactive ability to move from post to post, the sophomore maneuvers unlike someone who has started only seven varsity matches.
STARKVILLE -- Heritage Academy's boys soccer team needed to avenge a loss against Starkville Academy to qualify for the postseason. History wasn't on the Patriots' side, as they'd never made it to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs.
2. Walters column: Prep football season coming closer LOCAL COLUMNS