STARKVILLE -- Myah Taylor doesn't need any encouragement to "push and look." Olive Branch High School girls basketball coach Jason Thompson uses those words to stress the importance of pushing the basketball to keep pressure on the opponents. Those words rang out Monday afternoon in Humphrey Coliseum as Thompson implored Taylor and the rest of the Lady Conquistadors to get the ball as quickly as possible to try to beat Raleigh Egypt (Tenn.) down the court.
STARKVILLE -- Distractions don't faze Jariyah Covington. Whether it is running the point or sniping from the wing, the Starkville High School junior guard has become adept at blocking out the talk and focusing on her job. Greg Carter put Covington's focus to the test Tuesday afternoon.
When Luther Riley took over the Columbus High School boys basketball program, he said the Falcons would be title contenders right away. It turned out to be an accurate prediction. In his first and only season on the bench, Riley earned The Dispatch's All-Area Coach of the Year honors after leading the Falcons to their first Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A State championship in boys basketball.
Coaching football isn't complicated for Chris Chambless. While many coaches lay awake at night coming up with an extra formation or a set of plays that will give their team a competitive advantage, Chambless has kept it simple for the West Point High School football team.
STARKVILLE -- Randy Carlisle saw a driven Willie Gay when he came to him in the seventh grade. A young football player for the Starkville Junior High School team, Carlisle noticed Gay had a driving force behind him and aspirations to play at a higher level than high school.
The original goal for Kylin Hill was to carry the Columbus High School football team to new levels of success. As an added bonus, Hill will leave school as one of the state's best running backs.
WEST POINT -- Marcus Murphy is considered a "self-starter." When it comes to the weight room, practice field, or on game nights, the West Point High School junior always finds a way to make himself better. One day after West Point won the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A State championship, Murphy tweeted he was headed back to the weight room to start work on an even bigger senior season.
STARKVILLE -- Greg Carter had trouble when he started to recruit teams for the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump in 2011. Carter found it hard to convince teams to come to Starkville to play in a new tournament. But as the tournament has progressed, more and more teams want to come, which has made it easier for the Starkville High School boys basketball coach to fill a schedule for the two-day tournament at Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum.
It hasn't been easy for Robert Woodard II.
Columbus defeated New Hope 71-62 in overtime in the final game of the Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Classic.
Kaylyn Wilson didn't care what the halftime deficit was, she was confident that her team was going to come back.
STARKVILLE -- When Rylan Moore was younger, he tried his hand at several sports.
It's hard for outsiders to notice the little things in a winning basketball team, especially the negatives.
Gary Griffin laughs when asked what he remembers about Joe Horne. It's a fitting reaction because Griffin recalls Horne, who was his industrial arts teacher at Lee High School in Columbus, having a great sense of humor and an ability to keep students interested in his classroom.
Marc Jaunico didn't need an adjustment period to American soccer.
For New Hope senior JaQuante Bell, it was a matter of slowing things down.
Brady Scarbrough always gravitated toward baseball. Growing up, baseball is the first sport Scarbrough loved, so it was natural for him to want to play it as long as possible. But something clicked in the seventh grade and Scarbrough found a new love: basketball. "I played Upward Basketball one year and then I came (to Victory Christian Academy in Columbus) and they asked me to play," Scarbrough said. "It was just fun. I enjoyed it. I wasn't really good at it back then, but was fun."
Defend and rebound. That's what Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter preaches to his team. It's so important that it's on the back of many Yellow Jacket basketball T-shirts -- many of those worn by Yellow Jacket players before Saturday night's game against Columbus.
Russ Whiteside has known a lot of peers who have had a chance to coach in professional arenas. The Heritage Academy boys basketball coach will get his first opportunity to work in a NBA arena next week when his team takes on Tishomingo County at approximately 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. The game is part of a doubleheader with the Heritage Academy girls basketball team and Tishomingo County High School. That game will start at 1 p.m.
Gary Griffin has been at Columbus High School long enough to know what it takes to put on an event like the annual Joe Horne Christmas Classic.
3. Player of Week: Vogel-led Trojans ready for postseason HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Heritage Academy basketball squads sweep Columbus Christian HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. No. 4 MSU drops heart-breaker to No. 5 South Carolina COLLEGE SPORTS