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.
MABEN -- Von Smith thought he could handle playing quarterback. It was just a matter of proving to others he could to the job. So after starting his youth football career as a wide receiver, Smith graduated to quarterback when he moved up to middle school ball. It didn't take him long to find his niche.
ABERDEEN -- Channing Ward is used to the attention. Ever since Ward arrived at Aberdeen High School, he attracted the interest of numerous colleges that fell in love with his potential at a variety of positions. This season, Ward played expanded roles on offense and defense in an attempt to help the Bulldogs make a run at a third-straight trip to Jackson, the site of the state title games.
REFORM, Ala. -- Pickens County High School football coach Patrick Plott hopes he is home for good. In his first season in his second stint as coach of the PCHS football team, Plott led the Tornadoes to an 11-2 record and a second-place finish in Class 1A, Region 4. The season ended with a 38-36 loss at defending state champion Sweet Water in the third round of the playoffs.
REFORM, Ala. -- Time away from the sport taught Pickens County High School senior running back De'Marko Hall how much the game of football means to him. After missing his ninth and 10th grade years due to discipline issues, Hall returned to the field with a vengeance. This season, Hall ran for more than 1,400 yards, topped 1,200 yards receiving, and scored 43 all-purpose touchdowns. The touchdown total was 15 better than the previous school record.
ALICEVILLE, Ala. -- Aliceville High School senior middle linebacker Terry Mayhew admits he once was "an angry person." Mayhew credits new Aliceville coach Charles Moody with being the influence that helped him channel his emotion and energy and mature into a fine young man.
STARKVILLE -- A year ago, Wheeler Richardson found her voice as a leader of the Starkville High School volleyball team. Richardson also continued her do-everything role for the Lady Yellow Jackets, moving from setting to digging to hitting without missing a beat. But what Richardson did last season was easy compared to the responsibilities she had to juggle this season.
The New Hope High School girls basketball team will carry a lot of momentum into its Christmas holiday break. However, the Lady Trojans won't carry a winning streak with them. Behind a 30-point night from senior guard Tynesha Mickens, Noxubee County erased a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to earn a 48-44 victory Tuesday night and hand New Hope its first defeat of the season. In the nightcap, New Hope salvaged the split as the boys posted a 64-60 victory.
It's one thing to be poised when you have an experienced group of teammates behind you. A pitcher can relax a little be more and trust her teammates are going to make the plays behind her and get the team out of sticky situations. It's another thing to maintain a even keel when your team has lost three All-Area players.
Kiandria Patterson and Maggie Proffitt don't care how the Columbus High School girls basketball team beats you. The Lady Falcons can go outside-inside, or they can attack you inside and then kick the basketball back outside. The strategies may change game to game, but the Columbus High juniors likely will be the ones leading the charge. Patterson and Proffitt showed last weekend at the 15th annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic they and the Lady Falcons may have all of the pieces they will need to make a run at a state title.
After going without a field goal in the opening minutes Saturday night, the Columbus High School girls basketball team found its rhythm at the free-throw line. Eleven of the Lady Falcons' first 19 points came at the charity stripe before guard Kiandria Patterson took over to lead Columbus to a 64-38 victory against Lawrence County on Saturday on the second day of the 15th annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic.
MABEN -- One of the most difficult plays to complete in basketball is a three-point play when a team makes a free throw, misses a free throw, secures the rebounds, and scores on the putback. When the Aberdeen High School boys basketball team completed the rare feat three times in the first half Saturday night, New Hope had to feel it may not be its night.
The Starkville High School girls basketball team didn't have an answer for one of the best front-court players in the state of Mississippi on Saturday afternoon. Junior Jazmine Spears scored 24 points to lead New Albany to a 45-42 victory against Starkville on the second day of the Joe Horne Christmas Classic at Columbus High.
Softball has been a part of Lauren Holifield's life ever since she can remember. She watched her mother, Connie Sharpe, coach at Caledonia High School and play the sport. She also grew up seeing her sister, Tori Harris, play for New Hope High and imagined the day she would wear the black and gold and help the program build on its tradition.
Tabitha Beard has found the perfect phrase: As long as you're doing something you love, it never will get old. She smiles when asked if being coach of the New Hope High School softball program gets old, especially on the heels of the slow-pitch team's fifth consecutive state title in October. The title pushed the program's number of championships to 14.
Maggie Proffitt let the rock fly from beyond the 3-point line all night long. The junior Columbus High School girls basketball guard drained eight 3-pointers Friday night as the Lady Falcons routed Wingfield High School 63-26 in their first game of the 15th Annual Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Invitational.
The Columbus High School boys basketball team used a quick-paced offense and high-pressure defense to prevail Friday night. The Falcons held off Lawrence County High School 68-46 in the 15th Annual Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Invitational.
Starkville High girls basketball coach Kristie Williams continues to preach to her team the need to play for four quarters. When the Lady Jackets learn that lesson, the victories may indeed pile up.
1. No. 1 Alabama loses Harris in shutout of Kent State COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Kemper County takes it to Noxubee County in second half HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Non-conference schedule has right mix for MSU women LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Winona Christian's ground game edges Oak Hill Academy's passing game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Madden wins Cotton Pickin' 100 LOCAL SPORTS