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.
CALEDONIA — Donquarius Mallard scored a team-high 25 points Thursday night to lead the Noxubee County boys basketball team to an 80-77 victory against Louisville in the MHSAA Class 4A, Region 4, District 4 tournament at Caledonia High School. The Tigers built a 44-28 halftime lead, survived a 29-16 third quarter by Louisville, and then held on in the fourth quarter to advance to the district title game at 8:30 tonight against Houston. The winner between Noxubee County and Houston will host a first-round Class 4A North State playoff game next week.
The Columbus High School baseball team First-Pitch Banquet has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the school’s cafeteria. Former Columbus High, Itawamba Community College, and Mississippi State football standout Tyson Lee will be the guest speaker. Inclement weather that is expected this weekend has forced the cancellation of the alumni game, which was to be played at 11 a.m. Saturday.
STARKVILLE — Jackson Prep’s boys soccer team showed no signs of being an underdog Wednesday in its first-round Mississippi Association of Independent School’s playoff tie against No. 1 seed Starkville Academy, allowing just one shot on goal and dismantling the previously unbeaten Volunteers 5-0.
Sam Adams never intended to leave Caledonia High School in a rush. But when an opportunity came open last week to join his wife and children in Louisiana, he couldn’t say no.
Jessee Mims realized a goal Wednesday morning that had been more than five years in the making. Her dream blossomed in eighth grade when she started to play soccer. Not only did she fall in love with the sport, but her parents also took the sport.
Two girls basketball programs rich in tradition will meet at 7 tonight when the Sulligent Lady Blue Devils play host to Red Bay in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A Northwest Sub-Regional Tournament.
Russ Wallace respects any team that beats R.C. Hatch. R.C. Hatch has won 10 state championships, including consecutive championships from 2006-08.
CALEDONIA — Turn it up. Faced with elimination and the end of their seasons Tuesday night, the Noxubee County High School basketball teams answered the call. The challenge Thursday will be to ratchet up their pressure defense and their execution another notch to prolong their seasons. Daquarius Mallard had a game-high 25 points to lead third-seeded Noxubee County to an 86-58 victory against sixth-seeded Caledonia in the MHSAA Class 4, Region 4, District 4 Tournament at Caledonia High School.
STARKVILLE — There isn’t much left for Starkville Academy’s soccer team to do this season besides hoisting the state championship trophy. At 10-0 and with a plus-47 goal differential this season, the Volunteers enter today’s Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA playoff tie against Jackson Prep (11-7) as favorites. The No. 1-seeded Vols have mowed through opponents and closed tight games this season, putting down more expectations to bring the program its first piece of hardware since the 2005 squad topped the then-MPSA ranks. The anticipation leading up to today’s 3 p.m. kickoff at the Starkville Sportsplex hasn’t rattled the team down the stretch. Artie Cosby’s squad is built around nine seniors, which is why he feels his team needs no talking to about avoiding a letdown.
TUPELO — The game plan didn’t change. The pregame speech didn’t change. The only thing that changed Tuesday night was the degree of discipline and the level of execution the Columbus High School boys basketball team delivered. As a result, the Falcons will live to play again. Bobby Wrench and Akeem Toppin scored 16 points each to lead Columbus to a 62-59 victory against Tupelo in the Class 6A, Division 2, District 4 tournament at Tupelo High School.
BENTON –– Taylor Baudoin scored a game-high 24 points and had 16 rebounds, five assists, and six steals Tuesday to lead the Immanuel Christian Lady Rams past Tri-County Academy 58-33 in the MAIS Class A North Central State Tournament. Immanuel (18-12) outscored Tri-County each quarter and led 14-10, 24-12, and 39-24 at the quarter breaks. Also for the Lady Rams, Bailey Edwards had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three steals, and Abby Good had eight points and seven rebounds.
The second season begins tonight. It’s time for the area basketball teams to put the ups and downs of the regular season behind them and to take care of business.
STEENS — New role, no problem. A year ago, Justin James was the young gun in an Immanuel Christian boys basketball starting lineup with four seniors. It was natural for James to defer to his more experienced teammates and let them take the leadership role.
The West Lowndes High School boys basketball team earned even more legitimacy — at least in Lowndes County — on Friday night. Now the Panthers’ challenge is to back up what they earned from a season sweep of Columbus in their district tournament later this week. Demetrius Malone scored a game-high 25 points and Clemmie Hairston’s layup in overtime provided the go-ahead points that allowed West Lowndes to defeat Columbus 61-57.
MACON — The Starkville High School girls basketball team avoided an upset Friday, staving off a fourth quarter rally by Noxubee County for a 53-37 win. Starkville’s Shay Bonner led all scorers with 17 points, while teammate Kala Williams finished with 10. The Lady Jackets entered the game a day after dropping a one-point district home loss to South Panola.