STARKVILLE -- People skills can help you earn a college scholarship. Michael Sullivan's parents didn't use that language in raising their son to be a "people person," but they hoped their son wouldn't hesitate when he saw an opportunity to meet someone, especially a coach who could help him take the next step in his soccer career. It just so happens Sullivan had an interesting ice-breaker to start a memorable conversation nearly two years ago with a "stranger."
After dropping a key boys division game last week to Canton Academy, Oak Hill Academy basketball coach Brian Middleton knew that his team needed another boost. A non-division rivalry game Tuesday at Heritage Academy provided that lift, as Oak Hill Academy earned a 46-41 victory.
STARKVILLE -- Cailee Helen McClain was already resting, sipping of a post-match Gatorade and receiving congratulatory messages from her teammates. It's not every day a high school soccer player scores three goals in a match to lead a team to victory. On this day, though, it happened twice.
Madison Central High School senior Leroy Buchanan admits one of his worst offensive performances this season came last month in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 home win over Columbus.
STARKVILLE - There's nothing about the area's current weather that suggests baseball season is coming.
The Dispatch's Small Schools / West Alabama All-Area Football teams
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt stressed the importance of the first five minutes of the second half to her team Tuesday night.
A change in philosophy is paying off for the Starkville High School boys' soccer team.
MACON -- Columbus High School boys' basketball coach Sammy Smith was eager to see if his team could build on Saturday night's dramatic win over county rival New Hope.
WEST POINT -- When asked about his unusual first name, West Point High School boys basketball standout Ecurb Forest smiles. "My dad's name is Bruce Forest, and when they were picking out my name, he just turned Bruce backwards and came up with Ecurb," Forest said. "It's definitely unique, makes me stand out."
In theory, last month's boys basketball game between Lowndes County rivals New Hope and Columbus high schools had little bearing when they met again in the Trojan Holiday Classic. Columbus junior point guard Tavarest Gray took the opposite approach.
KC Cunningham has a plethora of plays to choose from when it comes to assembling a highlight tape. Whether it's rushing, receiving, or playing defense, Cunningham had his pick of accomplishments to catch the attention of college coaches. There's one play Cunningham didn't have access to that he would like to put on that tape. It didn't have him scoring a touchdown or making a sack. Instead, the play involved Cunningham delivering a block for Kimarri Whitfield so he could gain a first down against DeSoto (Ark.) School in the Columbus Christian Academy football team's first home playoff game in 11-man football.
Anthony Sharp likes the championship taste. It has been nearly two months since the Victory Christian Academy football team defeated Tuscaloosa Christian 44-8 to win the Christian Football Association championship. For a senior like Sharp, who hadn't won a title in football, the experience was sweet. That it came against an archrival and that he had a chance to savor it with classmates Cody Bolton, Shane Bradford, Burkley Jernigan, and Bo McCrary made it doubly special.
Displeased with his team's offensive performance in the first half against Olive Branch on Saturday, Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter turned in a curious direction to ignite his offense. "I knew we had to start playing our style of defense," Carter said. "Once we did that, the points would follow." Once Starkville clamped down on Olive Branch to start the third quarter, the points followed.
As Ecurb Forest gets better, so does West Point High's boys basketball team. Forest, West Point's senior shooting guard, set a career-high in points for the third time in the past six games with a 31-point effort in a 72-62 victory against West Lowndes at New Hope High's Trojan Classic.
With seven players on his roster, West Point High School girls basketball coach Dashmond Daniel was worried about his team's conditioning Saturday against South Panola in the New Hope High Trojan Classic. Daniel had reason to be concerned.
For most football teams, leadership is expected immediately from the quarterback. For Aberdeen High School, the dynamics made that even more important. With as many as six sophomores starting some games on offense, the Bulldogs had to rely on the savvy veteran leadership of Josh Williams almost every snap.
For New Hope High School girls basketball coach Laura Lee Holman, the switch came on at practice about two weeks ago. "The girls are buying in," Holman said. "They know what we can do. A couple of weeks ago, a couple of older players were showing the younger players what to do. There was a buy-in. You could see they were beginning to believe. Once you get the belief, that is a huge step forward." For the Lady Trojans, the next step is learning how to win.
Glenn Schmidt knows a little about what motivated Stan Hughey. Over the years, Schmidt's Starkville Academy girls basketball teams tangled many times with Hughey's Oak Hill Academy squads. Every time, Schmidt found Hughey's Lady Raiders well prepared, tenacious, and hungry for a win -- just like their coach. After the games, Schmidt and Hughey didn't need to talk for hours to catch up or to exchange stories because they took comfort in the fact that they shared a special bond only coaches can appreciate. That's why Schmidt was just one of the people saddened Sunday to learn of Hughey's death.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School sophomore center Kelsey Jones has always enjoyed scoring points. Now Jones is drawing the same sense of satisfaction from rebounds, blocking out, and getting assists. As Jones adds more dimensions to her game, the Lady Jackets are quickly becoming a complete team.
1. Ole Miss relishes opportunity against MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Starkville boys top Murrah to reach Class 6A quarterfinal round HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Veteran coaches reflect on Ole Miss-MSU rivalry COLLEGE SPORTS
5. MSU prepares for final home game against Ole Miss COLLEGE SPORTS