MABEN — West Oktibbeha High School boys basketball coach Joseph Landfair said a strong work ethic turned Deon Bedford into one of the better players in this area. East Mississippi men’s coach Mark White hopes to get more of that from Bedford in the future. Landfair talked about the past, while White looked ahead Thursday as Bedford signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at EMCC.
STARKVILLE — Spring is a time for growth, especially for quarterbacks. Jaquez Johnson showed signs of being a promising quarterback last season as a sophomore at Starkville High School. After securing the starting job early in the schedule, Johnson had his ups and downs. In his first year leading the Yellow Jackets, he threw 15 interceptions and nine touchdowns, but he has committed to improving in the offseason.
STARKVILLE — There was a gasp in the crowd at Pearl High School last Saturday afternoon when Starkville High School senior sprinter Tavaris Tate took the baton for the final leg in the 4x400 relay, rallied from third place and ran away from the pack in the final race of the Class 5A state track meet.
COLLINSVILLE — The New Hope High School baseball team always seemed to have the answer. Whether it was timely hitting, clutch pitching, or sparkling defense, the Trojans put everything together in the past month to sweep their first three playoff series. But one solution eluded them all season: How to solve Dustin McWilliams.
STARKVILLE — It seems improbable that one team would have two runners with a chance to combine to win seven state championship gold medals? But that’s what can happen Saturday for Starkville High School’s Tavaris Tate and Quartez Rogers at the Class 5A State Meet at Pearl High School.
COLLINSVILLE — Dustin McWilliams wiped out all of the New Hope High School baseball team’s momentum Thursday night. Wes Stokes will try to finish the job tonight. McWilliams pitched a complete-game five-hitter and West Lauderdale scored six unearned runs in an 11-4 victory in game one of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Class 4A North Half state title series at Jerry Boatner Field. Game two will be at 4 p.m. today in Columbus.
The South Lamar High School softball team established a new standard Tuesday by winning the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A, Area 10 Tournament.
WEST POINT — East Mississippi Community College baseball coach Tony Montgomery first saw Oak Hill Academy’s Lance Portera as someone who could help the Lions as a outfielder. Montgomery likes Portera’s arm so much he chose to recruit him as a pitcher.
The New Hope High School baseball team has found new life in the postseason. Whether it has been solid pitching, timely hitting, or sparkling defense, coach Stacy Hester’s Trojans (24-9) are playing their best baseball of the season entering game one of today’s (6 p.m.) best-of-three series against West Lauderdale for the North Half state title.
Zachary Patterson and Adam Powers thought everything was going just fine. Up a set and leading 3-0 in the second set, Patterson and Powers felt confident about their chances to repeat as Class 3A No. 1 doubles champions. But an old kick serve called momentum turned against them. Corinth’s Austin McElwain and Charlie Curtis rallied to win the second set and forced Patterson and Powers to regroup. The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science duo used the 10-minute break between sets to analyze their mistakes and to formulate a game plan that would help them rally.
CALEDONIA — The Caledonia High School boys golf team is ahead of schedule. That’s fine with coach Bradley Tate and his players because their success this season has extended their season to the State Tournament. Zac Taylor will lead district champion Caledonia next week when it plays at the Class 4A state tournament May 12-13 at River Birch Country Club in Amory. The team will use Monday as a practice round to familiarize itself with the course. Play in the 16-team event begins at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
STARKVILLE –– There is a special motivation for Shay Bonner, of Starkville High School, to get back on the track for the Class 5A state meet. After injuring her knee during hurdles competition at North State, Bonner missed practice early this week in preparation for the state that takes place Saturday in Pearl. Bonner, who qualified for state in the 100 and 300 hurdles, is also a leg in Starkville’s 4x200 relay team that has a chance to break a state record.
STARKVILLE — Jayson Keel has accomplished quite a bit as a four-year starter on the Starkville High School baseball team. After signing Monday to play baseball at Holmes Community College, Keel knows there is plenty more ahead for him.
MABEN — Caitlyn Williamson knows how to make an exit. Down to what could have been the next-to-last at-bat in her prep career, the East Webster High School standout didn’t go to the plate looking to hit a home run.
MABEN — East Webster High School baseball coach Wes Johnson preached all season to his pitchers about the importance of throwing strikes. The inability to do that Monday cost the Wolverines. East Webster took a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning only to lose to Stringer 7-5 in game two of the Mississippi High School Activities Association best-of-three Class 1A South playoff series.
By Steve Hancock’s count, the Heritage Academy baseball team was 2-52 in Mississippi Private School Association AAA games the past three seasons. Still, the veteran coach was optimistic heading into his first season in MPSA.
SALTILLO — The New Hope High School baseball team’s magical playoff run added enough highlights Monday night to fill an installment of SportsCenter. Brent Younger and Phillip Tice played the roles of defensive stalwarts, diving to make run-saving plays.
RIDGELAND — Champions make you pay for your mistakes. Whether it is a pitch in the wrong location, an errant throw, or a missed groundball, the East Webster fast-pitch softball team has capitalized all season on miscues by its opponents. The Mississippi High School Activities Association Class A state title series was no different. East Webster took advantage of two critical errors in a five-run third inning Saturday and then rode the pitching of Jessica Halterman to an 8-2 victory against Smithville to clinch the best-of-three series at Freedom Ridge State Park.
Jessica Halterman was in a zone. The East Webster High School senior pitcher was so focused Saturday afternoon she didn’t appear ready to celebrate after recording the final out in an 8-2 victory against Smithville in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A best-of-three championship series. While some of her teammates tossed their gloves into the air, Halterman left the circle and moved toward her team’s dugout. She appeared to mouth the word, “Wow.”
RIDGELAND — The miracle rally turned out to be incomplete. Three singles in the top of the seventh inning by the Hamilton High School fast-pitch softball team gave it hope. Brooke Delaughter and her Loyd Star High teammates ended the Lady Lions’ dream with a bang-bang play. Delaughter retired Caitlyn Atkins on a close play at first base to help preserve Loyd Star’s 3-2 victory in game two of the Mississippi High School Activities Association best-of-three Class 2A state championship series at Freedom Ridge State Park.
1. Defense delivers dominating effort for MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Starkville rolls past Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Hughes returns for Bulldogs in style COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Defense answers call for Noxubee County HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. New Hope takes advantage of uninspired Aberdeen HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS