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.
Kris Pickle always believed he was going to be a head coach. The way Pickle sees it, every good football coach has a desire to be a head coach. After getting a chance to experience his first taste as life as a head coach, Pickle will get a second chance to do it a little closer to home.
JACKSON -- The Shaw High School boys basketball had too much of everything for West Lowndes on Saturday morning. Whether it was on the offensive boards, on the 3-point arc, in the passing lanes, or out in transition, Shaw asserted control early and never let off the gas en route to a 64-31 victory in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A state semifinal game at Mississippi Coliseum.
It's only unexpected if you don't believe.
Don't let the record fool you. Roosevelt Bridges knows an 11-11 record won't strike fear into the hearts of any opponents. But the West Lowndes High School boys basketball coach realizes eight of those losses came to larger classification schools.
Isaiah Farmer waited patiently and observed last season as a reserve on the Columbus High School baseball team. Now that he is getting his chance in the starting lineup, the junior outfielder hasn't disappointed. Farmer collected two hits, drove in two runs and had a highlight-reel catch as Columbus defeated West Point 12-1 in five innings Tuesday night at Sammy Fletcher Field.
Nobody said change is easy. Even seniors sometimes get caught up in looking at things other than the bigger picture and losing sight of what is best for the team.
CRAWFORD -- Jimmie Williams felt the need to accelerate his son's recruitment.
PEARL --New Hope High School celebrated a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State basketball championship Saturday night.
Michael Bradley is back doing what he loves to do.
STARKVILLE -- Hit open shots, finish at the rim, and defend.
WEST POINT -- The West Point High School boys basketball team was living up to its billing.
Lee Boyd isn't a big sabermatrician. But the New Hope High School baseball coach knows enough about history to realize his team faces an unusually difficult challenge this season. Part of the toughness involves being one of the state's most respected programs that typically gets the best game from every opponent. The challenges New Hope will face this season figure to be even harder due to the bull's eye on the team's back after winning the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School basketball player Dontavius Self has an infectious smile and an outgoing personality. It's easy to see why he could be type of senior leader others would follow.
WEST POINT -- The chant -- "We want Callaway" -- started with 59 seconds remaining. The fans couldn't help it. After all, the West Point High School boys basketball team raced out to a 27-8 lead after one quarter en route to a 77-51 victory against Lake Cormorant in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State playoffs.
Grit is something the West Lowndes Panthers has played with all season. West Lowndes needed every bit of that ingredient Tuesday night to get past McAdams 74-70 in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A South State tournament in Columbus.
1. Epiphany helps Holman return to New Hope HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Lady Trojans fall a little short HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Ray looks to newcomers to improve depth COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Thomas' development gives MSU positive for future COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Defense does job for South Jones HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS