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MHSAA gets it right by moving softball finals to college campuses

Posted 5/14/2018 in Local Columns

Neshoba Central High School fast-pitch softball coach Trae Embry has coached in some of the state's biggest games this decade. On Friday, Neshoba Central won a sixth-straight Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A State championship with a 6-2 victory against Pearl River Central.

MSU commit Wesley powers Neshoba Central

Posted 5/11/2018 in Local Columns

STARKVILLE -- If Aspen Wesley dominated a sport like football or basketball, almost all sports fans would know her name. Instead, the Neshoba Central High School junior dominates in the rather quiet world of fast-pitch softball. However, playing for a sixth-straight state championship and pitching for the nation's No. 1 team is a pretty good situation and not one to be taken for granted.

New Hope will try to capitalize on home-field advantage

Posted 5/10/2018 in Local Columns

When the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) baseball playoffs shift into the semifinal round tonight, few teams have a more daunting task than Kosciusko.

Nickens excited about opportunity at Caledonia

Posted 4/13/2018 in Local Columns

After a winless 2017 season, new Caledonia High School football coach Tim Nickens knows he and his players might face some challenges along the way as he starts to rebuild the program. However, lack of personnel isn't one of them.

Prep baseball season coming down to final weeks

Posted 4/5/2018 in Local Columns

The month of April typically means Twitter is over-run by prom photos and that graduation invitations pile up at the post office. It also means the end of the prep baseball regular season. In this state, baseball has one of the nation's shortest regular seasons before the start of a postseason that almost is as long as the regular season.

MSU's challenge is to build on legacy

Posted 4/3/2018 in Local Columns

COLUMBUS, Ohio Vic Schaefer worried for weeks he wouldn't have the words when he finally had to say goodbye to seniors Roshunda Johnson, Blair Schaefer, Victoria Vivians, and Morgan William.

MSU women have plenty of fuel left for Final Four

Posted 3/27/2018 in Local Columns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Starkville's Fantastic Four is set to take Columbus, Ohio. It will be the last push for seniors Roshunda Johnson, Blair Schaefer, Victoria Vivians, and Morgan William to lead the Mississippi State women's basketball team to a national title. Their next step will come at 6 p.m. Friday (ESPN2) when MSU (36-1) will take on Louisville (36-2) in the first national semifinal. Connecticut (36-0) will take on Notre Dame (33-3) at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the second semifinal. The winners will meet at 6 p.m. Sunday (ESPN) to determine the national champion.

Toughness leads MSU women back to Sweet 16

Posted 3/22/2018 in Local Columns

STARKVILLE The Bulldog in the 2017-18 Mississippi State women's basketball team reared its head Monday night. MSU coach Vic Schaefer said it best following his squad's 71-56 victory against Oklahoma State that he felt like the Bulldogs "bowed their neck" and showed the toughness and grit he loves to see in his players.

Origin of MSU's success doesn't get old

Posted 3/15/2018 in Local Columns

People in Starkville know the story well. But with women's basketball fans from Louisiana, New York, and Oklahoma set to arrive in Mississippi, it's a perfect time to tell the tale again. It's kind of like when Santa Claus visits Starkville every year to read "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to the children on the court at Humphrey Coliseum.

Listen up: Cast your votes for Schaefer, MSU

Posted 3/9/2018 in Local Columns

The first salvo missed its mark. Maybe an accompanying riff from sonic pioneer Tom Morello would help the cause. A better idea might be to package a recording device inside a cardboard box and send it out to all of the voters who have a say in The Associated Press' Coach and Player of the Year and the annual All-America squad.

Minichino column: Schaefer makes championship prediction come true

Posted 3/1/2018 in Local Columns

Vic Schaefer talked about winning championship when he arrived in Starkville in 2012.

Plenty of local flavor at basketball tournaments in Jackson

Posted 3/1/2018 in Local Columns

Hundreds of players and coaches began the season with a dream of playing in the Big House. Longtime home of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) State tournament, the old arena holds a special place in the hearts of many.

Vivians, Schaefer are right choices for top SEC honors

Posted 2/26/2018 in Local Columns

The gauntlet is nearly over. Let the selling begin. As teams wind down their regular seasons and prepare for their conference tournaments, you can count on coaches around the country to start pitching their players for all-league honors.

Minichino column: MSU women look to continue historic march at Vanderbilt

Posted 2/14/2018 in Local Columns

It says something about Vic Schaefer when the Mississippi State women's basketball coach claims to have shown more emotion at times than his players.

Minichino column: Things falling into place for No. 2 Bulldogs

Posted 2/7/2018 in Local Columns

Echoes reverberate after games like this.

Minichino column: No. 2 MSU controls destiny as it hits home stretch of schedule

Posted 1/29/2018 in Local Columns

There are going to be a lot of numbers thrown around in the next two months as the regular season winds down and teams prepare for conference tournaments and the Big Dance.

Stuedeman targets return to NCAA tournament regionals for MSU

Posted 1/25/2018 in Local Columns

Preseason rankings don't faze Mississippi State softball coach Vann Stuedeman. When the preseason Southeastern Conference coaches poll was released last week, MSU was picked to finish last in the 13-team league.

Challenge for MSU fans is to pack the Hump

Posted 1/24/2018 in Local Columns

It's down to five. Through 20 games, the Mississippi State women's basketball team has displayed all of the qualities to make another run at a national title. The Bulldogs have done it in front of hostile crowds on the road, small crowds in Mexico and in Las Vegas, and before packed houses at Humphrey Coliseum.

Minichino column: MSU women stay true to formula in road win

Posted 1/3/2018 in Local Columns

Each day brings another source of pride for Vic Schaefer.

Vivians has raised her level to help push No. 5 MSU to 13-0

Posted 12/23/2017 in Local Columns

Victoria Vivians has accepted the mission. On April 4, two days after the Mississippi State women's basketball team lost to South Carolina in the national title game, The Dispatch ran a story with the headline "MSU's next challenge is to raise bar higher." In the column, a number of areas were highlighted as keys for coach Vic Schaefer's team to build on the momentum from its program-record 34-win season, its first trip to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, and its victory against four-time reigning national champion Connecticut in the national semifinals.


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