STARKVILLE -- If the fans at Starkville High School were looking for a scoring clinic Tuesday night, the Starkville High boys basketball team delivered. Starkville used a dominant performance in the paint, which included four dunks, in a 79-64 non-division victory against Grenada. "Our shots were just falling tonight," Starkville junior Tyson Carter said. "We just seemed to make everything in the first half, and we rebounded well. I think we played well in every aspect of the game."
Early in the fourth quarter, New Hope High School senior Jaylon Bardley and his teammates had seen enough. "We knew we had to pick it up or we were going to lose the game," Bardley said. "On defense, we were bad for a long time. We didn't play with the defensive intensity we needed to until the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, we were really good." Blowing open a tight game in the final six minutes, the New Hope boys basketball team defeated West Point 72-57 in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 2 matchup Tuesday night in Columbus.
Amidst all of the injuries, sickness, ice baths, lineup changes, roster shuffles, and ordinary ups and downs, the New Hope High School girls soccer team has found it can rely on an old standby. New Hope coach Mary Nagy and the Lady Trojans actually have three experienced hands -- Kayla Smith, Abby Wilson, and Bethany Vaughan -- they can turn to when they need to protect a lead or to lock down the defense in front of goalkeeper Mackenzie Harvey. Smith, Wilson, and Vaughan played key roles last week in helping New Hope beat Saltillo in a shootout and Center Hill 4-2 in the first two rounds of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State playoffs.
SALTILLO -- New Hope High School boys basketball coach Drew McBrayer surveyed his scorebook before reviewing his team's latest performance Friday night.
With a missed penalty kick and potential go-ahead goal on her record, New Hope midfielder Effie Morrison started to crash the Center Hill 18-yard box as fellow senior Samantha Vogel won a 50-50 ball and dribbled up the left edge of the box.
Next man up.
New Hope High School girls soccer coach Mary Nagy knew her team had some high expectations this season.
SALTILLO -- New Hope High School senior defender Kayla Smith spent a large majority of Tuesday night's playoff match against Saltillo encouraging her teammates to calm down. However, when Saltillo's Ashley Harman hit the crossbar on the final shot attempt of a shootout, calmness was no longer necessary.
CALEDONIA -- Caledonia High School sophomore defender Sam Young found himself in a big spot Monday night. On a senior-laden team, Young and his backline mates were charged with slowing a fast Senatobia attack in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A North State playoffs. Much like the teammates who have gone before him, Young was up to the challenge as Caledonia defeated Senatobia 4-1 to advance to the second round for a second-straight season.
There's something different about a good old-fashioned rivalry. That's why the Heritage Academy boys basketball team's 78-49 victory against division rival Starkville Academy on Monday was special for the seniors.
Robert Woodard II didn't have visions of grandeur for his first season with the Columbus High School boys basketball team. Instead, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound guard/forward wanted to fit in and do whatever he could to help the Falcons soar.
PHEBA -- Alec Vasquez took care of the first half. R.J. DeLoach handled the second. And just like that, the Columbus Christian Academy boys basketball team displayed Friday why it will enter the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A, District 3 tournament as the No. 1 seed with a 54-46 victory at Hebron Christian School.
The Columbus High School boys basketball team wasn't expected to struggle Friday night against Northwest Rankin. After all, Northwest Rankin entered the game winless in the region and with just three wins. Still, leading by 12 points in the fourth after leading by more than 20, Columbus coach Sammy Smith shook his head and gave his players the stink eye. Arguably his most talented and athletic -- and biggest -- team in recent memory, Smith is keen to see his team make a run to the state tournament.
WEST POINT -- The New Hope High School boys basketball team started with the simplest of game plans Friday night. "My game is attacking and getting the ball to the rim," New Hope sophomore guard Terryonte Thomas said. "Our game plan was to get the ball to the goal and draw some fouls. We were really aggressive early, and that helped us get the win."
You undoubtedly have heard before that location often is the most important aspect in the survival of a business. The same adage holds true in sports. After all, that's why the saying, "right place at the right time" has become cliche. That saying probably is most appropriate for soccer, where a well-timed run can give a player a chance to pounce on a rebound, or a service hit with the right touch can set up a team to cash in. When those elements happen on the same play, beautiful things are the result.
Size has a lot to do with the determining positions for players in youth sports. In basketball, the taller boys and girls usually play center or forward to maximize their ability to get rebounds and to play closer to the basket so they can use their height to shoot over players.
Vic Schaefer believes his players understand what it takes to win in the Southeastern Conference. His Mississippi State women's basketball team showed it had the fortitude to battle through adversity and tough defenses to win its first three SEC games for the first time in program history. Those victories helped propel MSU to an 18-0 start and a spot at No. 14 in The Associated Press Top 25.
Tanita Thompson didn't need to be reminded about the significance of the Starkville High School girls basketball team's Class 6A, Region 3 game Friday night at Columbus.
The talk always fascinated Mary Grace Caldwell. She just wasn't sure she believed it. "You will be one of the few that plays college golf," Caldwell recalls friends and coaches telling her. Caldwell didn't take those words to heart because she believes there always is room for improvement in your sport. It wasn't until last season, when Caldwell was part of the New Hope High School girls golf team' Class II state championship squad that she embraced the notion that she could take her game to the next level.
Three hats, one mantra: Hard work. Even though Sam Taylor (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College), Josh Stillman (Northeast Mississippi C.C.), and Payton Lane (Mississippi Delta C.C.) donned different caps Thursday that signified the next steps in their baseball careers, the New Hope High School standouts acknowledged they shared a bond that helped them realize their opportunities. That hard work has been on display the past two years as part of New Hope High's back-to-back Class 5A state championships. All three don't plan on changing anything this season and later this year when they realize their opportunities to play college baseball.
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