The distance — three feet — is negligible. At one or two steps, most players travel that distance countless times in the blink of an eye during a game. But that three feet could turn out to play a big difference in Mississippi High School Activities Association fast-pitch softball this season. MHSAA teams will play on fields with pitching rubbers at 43 feet. Last year, the pitching rubbers were at 40 feet. It might take a blink of eye to cover the added three feet, but any added time players get to see pitches could help give them an advantage at the plate.
BALDWYN –– The West Lowndes Panthers pulled away in the second half Thursday to beat Williams-Sullivan 89-70 in the MHSAA Class 2A North State Tournament. West Lowndes (19-6) held a slim 42-38 halftime lead before outscoring Williams-Sullivan 20-12 in the third quarter and 27-20 in the fourth. “They played really well,” West Lowndes coach Herman Peters said. “They played well as a team. They played with great effort. It was spread out. It wasn’t like a one-person show.”
Pulling tires up and down a mile-long road might sound like a training tactic used for a Strongman competition. Zach Taylor isn’t there yet, but he used the specialized form of exercise to open his track and field season with a bang. Competing last week at the South Zone Indoor Championship in Baton Rouge, La., the Heritage Academy freshman finished first in the 60-meter dash (7.24 seconds) and fourth in the 200 (24.59) in the intermediate boys division.
STARKVILLE –– Stan Miller’s retirement has been put on hold for a second time, but this go around he has Starkville as the final destination. Miller has put off retirement to become the Athletic Director at Starkville High School. Once a Jersey City, N.J., high school baseball player, Miller made the trek to Florida to play junior college baseball before moving to Starkville to attend Mississippi State University.
Melissa Word wants the ball in the hands of LaPrecious Thompson at the end of the game. Not only does the Canton High School junior guard have a smooth handle, but she also has a sweet touch from the free-throw line.
The New Hope High School boys basketball team didn’t bowl anyone over Tuesday night with its offensive effort. But the Trojans threw all strikes on the defensive end.
STARKVILLE — Senior guard Edward Townsel scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second quarter to help the Starkville High School boys basketball team turn a 10-point deficit into a nine-point halftime lead en route to a 79-68 win against Grenada in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North Half State Tournament.
Demetrius Malone wanted to make the most of his final home game in a West Lowndes High School boys basketball uniform. The senior shooting guard scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead West Lowndes past Broad Street 70-52 in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North Half State Tournament.
JACKSON –– The Columbus High School boys basketball team couldn’t find a way to stop Dundrecous Nelson. Nelson, a University of Mississippi signee and member of The Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen team, poured in a game-high 37 points Tuesday to lead Murrah to a 70-58 victory in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North State Tournament.
ABERDEEN — A poor first quarter and an even worse fourth quarter, which was fueled by a sterling performance by Rashad Pargo, proved to be the undoing for M.S. Palmer here Tuesday, as the Aberdeen High School boys basketball team posted a 76-61 victory in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A North Half State Tournament.
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School will look to its past for a new athletic director. Former SHS principal and current Arkansas High School administrator Dr. Stan Miller has been selected by Starkville School District Superintendent Judy Couey to replace Bill Lee, whose retirement becomes effective at the end of the school year.
MACON — Daquarius Mallard smiles when he hears the description of his game: “Drop-dead shooter.” The words are those of Noxubee County High School boys basketball coach T.J. Billups, and Mallard doesn’t quibble with the moniker.
ABERDEEN — The top-seeded Aberdeen High School girls basketball team moved one step closer to its fourth straight trip to Jackson with a 62-40 win against a game, but inexperienced and outmanned Cleveland East Side squad in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A North Half State playoffs here Monday evening.
BENTON –– The Immanuel Christian girls basketball team clinched its first berth in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A State Tournament on Monday by beating Hebron Christian 51-49 in the consolation game of the Class A North Central Tournament.
Eight members of the Pickens County High School football team don’t have to wait for next season to get revenge for a loss in the state playoffs. The players will get a chance for revenge on the basketball court this afternoon when Pickens County plays Reeltown in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A Central Regional Tournament.
TUPELO — Don’t let the smile fool you. Edward Townsel is an assassin. The Starkville High School senior guard has quickness reminiscent of Monta Ellis to blow by even the nimblest of defenders. He has the hops of an Energizer bunny who has just sucked down a Red Bull energy drink. Most importantly, his accuracy compares to a carnival marksman, only his daggers are jump shots and pinpoint passes to teammates for layups or dunks.
SALTILLO — A 14-point deficit couldn’t keep the New Hope Trojans from claiming their sixth-straight division championship Friday. A a furious second-half rally propelled New Hope past Oxford 66-56 in the championship game of the MHSAA Class 5A, Division 2 Tournament. The Trojans hit a low point in the second quarter when the Chargers extended their lead 30-18, but New Hope coach Drew McBrayer’s squad wasn’t about to throw a wrench in tradition.
MOOREVILLE — The finals of the six-team Class 3A, Region 2, District 1 basketball tournament turned into a win-win situation for Aberdeen High School on Friday night, as the Bulldogs and the Lady Bulldogs knocked off Nettleton to capture district championships. In the girls title game, Aberdeen built a 24-9 first-quarter advantage en route to a 68-54 win. The boys then claimed a 58-45 triumph in the fourth and final game of the night to complete the sweep. Both Aberdeen teams, who also carted off regular-season championships, will advance to the next round of the playoffs. The girls will the loser of the East Side-Charleston game Monday at home, while the boys will face M.S. Palmer, the No. 4 team from Region 3.
BRUCE –– The West Lowndes High School boys basketball team won a championship trophy Friday night to add to the school’s display case by beating Calhoun City 66-55 in the championship game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A, Region 2 Tournament. “It was real exciting,” West Lowndes coach Herman Peters said. “The guys played real hard. They played together as a team Demetrius Malone had 16 points to lead West Lowndes (17-6). Andra Lewis had 15 and Tyquan Lucious added 11.
Home-court advantage for the MHSAA North State tournament will be on the line tonight when the area's Class 6A and 5A girls and boys basketball teams take the court for their district tournament finals. In Class 6A, the Starkville High girls will take on South Panola at 6 p.m. in the District 4 final at Tupelo High. The Columbus High boys will face Starkville at 7:30 p.m. in the nightcap. In Class 5A, the New Hope High girls will take on West Point at 6 p.m. at Saltillo High. The New Hope boys will face Oxford at 7:30 p.m. in the second game.
1. Insell family readies for father-son matchup in Oxford COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Ole Miss shut out at Arkansas COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville Academy falls in state championship game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU Notebook: Holmes making habit of finding end zone COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Starkville defense swarms all over Southaven HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS