Tabitha Beard isn't going to make excuses. For years, defense has been the foundation for the New Hope High School softball program. Whether it has been slow- or fast-pitch, the Lady Trojans have relied on their defensive execution to give them an advantage against opponents.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School coach Jamie Mitchell will be the head coach of Team Mississippi in the 2014 Mississippi-Alabama All Star Game.
STARKVILLE -- When Jamie Mitchell took the head coaching job at Starkville High School, he mentioned first the program's potential for the state's best facilities.
HAMILTON -- Dominating.
A little more than two weeks ago, Mercedes Mattix still had basketball on her brain.
STARKVILLE -- When Starkville High School cross country and track and field performer Walker Mattox needs extra motivation, she doesn't have to call or text a teammate. Instead, she calls throughout the house for her sister, Kate, who has emerged as one of the Yellow Jackets' top performers in each of the past three seasons.
STARKVILLE -- Patrick Reagan always looks for the perfect fit. As coach of the cross country team at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Reagan knows the recruits he might attract to the NAIA school in Savannah, Ga., are a specialized group of talented athletes and artists.
A career in marketing or business appears to be perfectly suited for Brandon Spann.
Caledonia High School fast-pitch softball coach Robin Elmore has a checklist of items she wants her team to accomplish every game.
STARKVILLE -- Wendy Jolly has seen her team come so far in the past three years that Tuesday night against an area rival was the culmination of all the emotion.
It's best for no one to say anything if their team's pitcher is throwing a no-hitter or a perfect game.
STARKVILLE -- Travis Garner loves the consistency of his pitching staff at Starkville High School.
JC Redden used his right arm in both games of a doubleheader sweep to help New Hope maintain its perfect record in 2014 season.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School coach Travis Garner feels so fortunate that he gets to coach A.J. Brown for two more seasons. For the simple reason that Brown doesn't know how talented he can become over that time.
Wells Davis and Josh Stillman want to be themselves. If that means being two more pieces to the puzzle for the New Hope High School baseball team, that's fine with them.
JACKSON -- The little things. Anyone who has watched the New Hope High School girls basketball team this season knows coach Laura Lee Holman has preached about the importance of the details that define victories. On most nights, the Lady Trojans paid attention to the finer points and boxed out, rotated on defense, hit free throws, executed on offense, and hummed like a finely tuned machine. On nights when things didn't go so smoothly, New Hope relied on its pressure defense to create offense that helped it snap it out of its funk.
JACKSON -- South Jones High School girls basketball coach Sherri Cooley made some mental notes when her team played New Hope nine months ago in a summer league game.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Josh Caudle couldn't have asked for a better battery than Kacy Noland and Lizzie Shirley. The Pickens Academy fast-pitch softball pitcher and catcher even came with their own nicknames -- the "silent killer" and the "singing sophomore" -- to help Caudle make a smooth transition in his first year as the school's coach.
Taylor Baudoin couldn't help but smile. Asked if New Hope High School girls basketball coach Laura Lee Holman was prone to harp on the "little things" in practice, Baudoin smiled and looked to teammate D.J. Sanders. She and Sanders could afford to laugh about Holman's tendency to go over and over things in practice until the Lady Trojans get them right. On this night, a 46-38 victory against Oxford in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 2 title game, New Hope listened to Holman in the second half and put those details into action.
Coaches can tell when their teams need a jolt.
1. More younger pitchers having Tommy John surgery COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Bradley becomes New Hope's first Scholar-Athlete HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Columbus, New Hope, Heritage Academy gearing up for playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Mitchell's complete game propels MSU past Missouri COLLEGE SPORTS
5. White beats Crimson in A-Day Game COLLEGE SPORTS