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.
WEST POINT -- Most high school basketball coaches have a general idea who will be their leading scorer on most nights. West Point High boys basketball coach Brad Cox is not in that group.
Angela Reynolds knew about Kiandria Patterson and Maggie Proffitt. The Northwest Rankin High School girls basketball coach didn't know the rest of the players on the Columbus High team had improved so much.
JACKSON -- The West Point High School girls basketball team's run came to an end too soon. If not for having to play against Oxford High and Jackson Lanier, the top two teams in the state in Class 5A, coach Murray Woody feels his team still would be alive.
The fact that the Columbus High School boys basketball team has a chance means everything to coach Sammy Smith. While so many other teams have collected uniforms and put the basketballs away for the season, Columbus has a chance at 7 tonight against Jackson Jim Hill in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North State tournament simply because it has a chance.
The Columbus High School girls basketball team is ready to take the next step. Whether the Lady Falcons take that step quickly -- thanks to a push of the ball from Kiandria Patterson or Daisha Williams -- or they slow down and do it a little more deliberately -- capped by a 3-pointer by Maggie Proffitt -- remains to be seen.
PHILADELPHIA -- Normally coaches would be satisfied with surviving an elimination game in double overtime and accept the fact her team would be physically and emotionally drained one night later. Not Kristie Williams.
PHILADELPHIA -- On the way to their 2012 Region 3 championship, the Starkville High sent a message to the rest of the Mississippi schools still eligible in the Class 5A boys basketball tournament. When the Yellow Jackets seemingly want to showcase that highly critical killer instinct that all title contending teams need to have, they are fully capable of doing so in a big way.
The Columbus High School girls basketball team showed Friday night it has the ability to deliver a knockout punch and the conditioning to last 15 rounds. The CHS boys showed they are developing that knack but that they lack the experience and are still learning how to go the distance.
Next man up. That's the mind-set the Columbus High School basketball team has used all season. It worked again in an elimination game Tuesday night, as Deontae Jones and Robert Irby each had 11 points to lead Columbus to a 57-44 victory against Grenada in the Class 6A, Region 2 tournament at Columbus High.
Chase Taylor has played golf long enough to know doing things too quickly doesn't help his game. Taylor decided Monday to apply that same thinking to his college decision when he signed a scholarship to play golf at Meridian Community College.
Sammy Smith and Yvonne Hairston have used the memories of the 2010-11 season as building blocks throughout this season. The Columbus High School boys and girls basketball coaches hope those lessons will be put to use tonight when their teams kick off the second seasons. The top-seeded Columbus girls will play host to fourth-seeded Grenada at 7 p.m., while the second-seeded CHS boys will play host to third-seeded Grenada at 8:30 p.m. in the final two of four games on the opening day of action in the Class 6A, Region 2 tournament at Columbus High.
STARKVILLE -- Don't let the speed fool you, Justin Gordon is a complete soccer player. The Starkville High School sophomore forward/midfielder understands, though, that when you have blazing speed it often leaves an impression with opponents that you are a one-dimensional player.
CLINTON -- Justin Gordon had been just out of reach all evening. Whether it was Taylor Wise or Dylan Howard or Kase Kingery, no one could put just the right touch on a service to get the speedy Gordon behind the defense. All the Starkville High School boys soccer team needed was a kiss from Price Day to send it on its way to history.
Starkville High looks for a piece of history today when the Yellow Jackets face off with Pascagoula for the Class 5A high school soccer state championship. Match time is 3:30 p.m. at Clinton High School.
CALEDONIA -- Consistency was an elusive ingredient Thursday night. For large stretches of his team's game against New Hope High School, Caledonia High boys basketball coach Josh Scott saw a team that shared the basketball, took good shots, and did a lot of things it takes to win games. Take away the final four minutes of the second quarter and the Confederates might have accomplished that goal.
STARKVILLE -- Growing up, Kase Kingery never saw playing with a soccer ball as "work." Like a lot of kids who had discovered a sport that fit them, Kingery spent as many hours as he could with a soccer ball honing his skills. The drills he did in and around Starkville often included dribbling exercises and shooting tests with his right and left foot. He would try to hit the crossbar again and again, or he would use a T-shirt as a target and place it on the crossbar.
Tony Stanford and his coaches have reason to be proud. In 2008, Stanford came to Columbus High School with coach Bubba Davis with a goal to transform the school's football program. Stanford continued that mission after taking over for Davis as head coach prior to the 2010 season. Like Davis, his formula included a core principle: Hard work in the weight room pays dividends. The eight Columbus High School football players who signed scholarships to play football in college are proof the Falcons are moving in the right direction.
New Hope High School football coach Michael Bradley experienced another first in his coaching career Wednesday morning. "Darius, you are the first player I have ever had sign wearing a bow tie," Bradley said. "This is a big moment for me." Wednesday also was a big moment for the Trojans, as Darius Petty, Joseph Reeves, and Daniel Gregory signed scholarships to play football at East Central Community College in Decatur.
STARKVILLE -- Erik Rogers and Cory Cannon spent the past two seasons playing beside one another on the offensive and defensive lines for the Starkville High School football team. On Wednesday, they secured opportunities in college to see how much they can maximize their talents on one side of the ball.